Air Date: May 23, 2013


CigarZinCigarZin 2009
Napa Valley, California
269340 $19.95
When Italian immigrants first arrived in Sonoma and Lodi, many of them planted Zinfandel and mixed Zinfandel vineyards for the purpose of making wine to drink every day with their food. The wines were easy to drink, had little tannin and were reminiscent of wines they had drunk in Italy. Over the years Zinfandel was made into a variety of different styles, including the ubiquitous ‘blush’ wines of the past two decades. There are still a number of classic food friendly Zinfandels produced in central California and this is one of them. 

CREMANT-DE-BOURGOGNELe Maison du Crèmant Brut
Crèmant de Bourgogne AC
Burgundy, France
127811 $16.95

The estate has been producing wines in Burgundy since the late 1800’s and was one of the biggest sparkling wine producers when the region was awarded the AOC Crèmant de Bourgogne in 1975. Le Maison du Crèmant was chosen as the name for the house, which has continued to produce some of the finest sparkling wines in Burgundy. 

Serve this excellent Crèmant any time of the day. It’s delicious served as an apéritif or with light hors d’oeuvre. Also give it whirl with cream-based dishes, quiche or medium-bodied cheese. It’s a delight with fish and seafood as well.

waimea-sauvignon-blanc-NEWWaimea Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Nelson, New Zealand
714295  $17.95 

Nelson Sauvignon Blanc is a bit less aggressive than its neighbouring wines from Marlborough. With a little more sunshine and a little less rain, Nelson’s wines are a little softer on the gooseberry front and tend to show more melon and citrus flavours which is great if you are looking for a wine with which to match food.

Try with any dish on which you would squirt a little lemon or lime juice. The Fish Tacos (recipe below) would be a winning combo. Grab a few bottles to have during asparagus season.  Grill or steam the spears and finish with some crumbled goat’s cheese.

Pierre Chainier Clos de Nouys
Vouvray Demi-Sec AOP 2011
Loire Valley, France
322669  $19.95 

This small property has been long recognised for its outstanding wine. Wine guides from the early 1900’s point it out as one of the best estates in Vouvray. This is Chenin Blanc country, where wines are sculpted into different styles depending on the quality of the vintage and the taste of the winemaker. Demi-Sec is one of the most popular styles of Chenin Blanc in Vouvray and demonstrates the wine’s ability to show intense sweet fruit and honey flavours combined with astonishing acidity and minerality. This is really great wine and absolutely worth your time.

Try it with spicy fish tacos, New Orleans crab-cakes or spicy grilled shrimp. It also plays well with a wide variety of cheeses, fruit and pâté.

This month's recipe is for delicious Harlem BBQ Turkey Meatloaf:

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning like Old Bay

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce  (reserve 1/2 cup for the top)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped red onion

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 pounds ground turkey

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix paprika, onion powder, crab boil seasoning, soy sauce, beaten egg, 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
Sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic in olive oil until soft, add salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Using your hands turn the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into a loaf.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and add the reserved 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

As a musical pairing for these wines, Brad, Chris and Mark have chosen Michael Kaeshammer's upcoming release With You In Mind

Air Date: April 26, 2013

A Spring tune-up

Staff-Loved-by-Lu-RieslingSue-Ann Staff
Loved by Lu Riesling
Jordan, ON
322636 $16.95
Very light in colour with a typical cool climate green hue. Highly aromatic with nuances of orange blossom, tangerine, green apple and citrus fruit such as lemon juice and lime leaf with subtle mineral and steely tones. The semi-dry, refreshing palate is clean and fruit driven. Not only does the citrus present itself on the palate, it is joined by Granny Smith apple, white peach, honey with underlying wet stone and metallic notes.

Ress-Hattenheimer-Schutzenhaus_Kabinett-NVBalthasar Ress
Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus
Riesling Kapinett 2011
Pradikatswein, Rheingau, Germany
735241 $17.95

Straw/green, this is a fabulous Riesling displaying subtle, complex aromas and flavours of mineral, citrus, stone fruit and herb. It’s produced on southwest-facing slopes protected from cold winds in deep soils that retain moisture in the dry seasons. Dry, a touch spritzy, the fruit and herb notes are framed by fine acidity and underling minerality.
Valpolicella Classico
Villa Novare 2011
DOC Veneto, Italy
678565 $17.95

This pure, well-focused red shows aromas of dark plum and cherry on the nose with wisps of spice and flowers. There is plenty of bright fruit and acidity in this wine which keeps it wonderfully balanced and on track. This medium-full bodied, warm and cheerful Valpolicella is perfectly suited to match a wide range of food.

Alpine-Valley-2010-smallAlpine Valley
Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand
241810 $14.95

Alpine Valley’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is created from grapes grown at the highest vineyard in the Wairau Valley. This is a unique subregion of the world famous Marlborough wine region. A deliciously crisp and refreshing taste, with tropical fruits, citrus and subtle hints of asparagus and gooseberry. Perfectly matched with fresh fish and feta salad.

Our Mouth-Watering Recipe This Month:

Fish Tacos  

1 litre vegetable oil
12 to 16 soft corn tortillas
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 355 mL beer
1 pound fish fillet (any type of flaky white fish like cod) cut into 3- by 1-inch strips

Have some of the following condiments to build your own taco: shredded lettuce, sour cream, avocado slices, chopped mango, chopped tomato, chopped or sliced radish, red or green salsa, lime wedges, cilantro and hot sauce.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat 2cm of oil in a 10-inch heavy pot (5cm deep) over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 180C/360°F.

Meanwhile, separate tortillas and make 2 stacks of 6 to 8. Wrap each stack in foil and heat in oven 12 to 15 minutes.

While tortillas warm, stir together flour and salt in a large bowl, then stir in beer (batter will be thick). Gently stir fish into batter to coat. Lift each piece of fish out of batter, wiping any excess off on side of bowl, and fry fish in batches, turning once or twice, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

fish_tacosAssemble tacos with warm tortillas, fish, and accompaniments.

If you are serving Riesling with your Fish Tacos, use sweeter flavoured condiments such as mango, avocado, green salsa and a bit of hot sauce. If you are serving Sauvignon Blanc, include some savoury/citrus condiments like lime and cilantro. If you are serving Valpolicella, stick with tomato, lettuce and cilantro. Have fun and experiment.