Trickledown effect – Second video tasting

GrapeSelections was recently invited to participate in a second online video wine and cheese tasting (first one can be watched here) organized by Natalie MacLean. This article summarizes what is involved in preparation to make the video happen (on my end) as well as to feature the wines and cheeses and how they pair together.

 

 

You may be asking what sort of preparation it entails to get ready for the video wine and cheese tasting. Well, the day the two packages arrived at my work, one containing 9 wines and the other 6 cheeses, I called up my friend Mike and invited him over on the premise of having a ‘work’ gathering. He came over, we ate dinner and then we immersed ourselves into analyzing the wines, the cheeses and how they pair together. That evening, I opened the five whites, we tasted them one by one and diligently wrote our reviews. Then I unpacked the cheeses and we tasted each of them before proceeding to taste them together with wines. For the pairings, we would take a small bite of cheese, emulsify it and while leaving it on the tongue, taking a small sip of wine and swallowing them together. We would repeat this as many times as necessary to be able to interpret and vocalize our feelings and sensations. Mike has a similar wine palate to mine and discussing our opinions assured me that we are on the right track. When you think of the numbers: one round of wine tasting (several sips each), one round of cheese tasting (several bites each) and then 5 wines x 6 cheeses (several pairings each) you can imagine that as the wine settled in, it took quite a bit of self-discipline not to regress into irrelevant conversations and to continue in an organized manner. Fortunately the whites are around 12% alcohol which emulsified with fat in the cheeses, so intoxication was not an issue. I left the three reds for another day and the sparkling Vidal to be opened live while doing the video.

 


 

Including Natalie MacLean, there were 11 of us that participated in the video. This many people meant that we had to follow some kind of a structure. First, we introduced ourselves from left to right then proceeded to follow a predetermined order where two people would comment on one cheese and how it pairs with two wines. Once these people said what they had on their minds, others commented as well. We finished off by again going from left to right and mentioning which pairings worked the best for us. The video is 45 minutes long and can be viewed here.

 

 

These are the other participants (left to right):
Allie Hughes; Courtney Flood; Corinna Horton; Myself; Jason Solanki; Gaby Israel; Mark Britton; Natalie MacLean – ‘the director’; Nina Syas; Sara Connelly
and Travis Oke

 

 

Now having 9 opened wines and 6 cheeses is too-much-of-a-good-thing for one person, so I invited 6 of my friends over for dinner and to deal with the spoils. As much as I tried structuring it so that everyone would taste each wine together with the cheeses in a particular order (at least for the wines), as you can imagine, that didn’t happen. Though there were 7 of us, we still didn’t manage to finish all the cheese nor the wine. Just out of interest, these are the communal consensuses listed from most liked to least, which was also confirmed by the
.
1. 2011 Inniskillin Wines Sparkling Vidal Icewine
2. 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Chardonnay
3. 2010 Open Cab2-Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
4. 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling
5. 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Merlot
6. 2009 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay – unfinished
7. 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc – unfinished
8. 2011 Open (un-oaked) Chardonnay – unfinished
9. 2011 Inniskillin Wines Pinot Noir – unfinished

 

Here are my highlights: (click to expand)
The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of green apple, citrus and subtle hawthorn. It has a nice acidity, is sweeter and has a medium finish. It is food friendly and will also work as a sipper as the body has more intensity than nose. My impression: very NICE, 89 pts – would highly recommend this wine, especially at $11.45. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 89 pts. $11.45. Availability
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The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Chardonnay is a medium bodied wine with appealing notes of pear, subtle mint and green pepper, oak and faint vanilla (on the finish). It is well balanced; it needs to be opened for 30 min+ after which it has a perfectly oaky finish of medium to long length. This wine would go great with any crustaceans of your choice as well as being sippedby itself. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 88-89 pts – would highly recommend this wine and for $10.95 is a steal. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 89 pts. $10.95. Availability
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The 2009 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay, is a light to medium bodied, integrated wine with nice aromas of citrus, subtle green notes, leather, oak and vanilla. It has a refreshing acidity, nicely integrated oak and a long vanilla finish (decant for 30+ min). This wine was meant to be aged as the >5 cm cork suggests; though not much fruit remains 3 years after bottling, the aging complexity will reward for several more years to come. This is a sipping wine though can be enjoyed with a meal – best when served around 10-15 °C. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – though on the expensive side of $30, I recommend this wine. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 90 pts. $30.00. Availability
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The 2010 Open Cab2-Merlot is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of raspberry, cedar, black pepper, coconut and vanilla. It is off dry, has refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and has a long finish. This is an easy drinking wine and can be served with food or by itself. It has the potential to cellar for the next couple of years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – for $10.95 (discounted by $1 till Oct 14th) is a great buy and hence recommended as a party wine. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 88 pts. $10.95. Availability
Alpindon Kootenay & Riesling – the cheese enhances the Riesling’s finish.
Alpindon Kootenay & Reserve Chardonnay – vanilla and substance.
Alpindon Kootenay & Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – very smooth combo.
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Onion Cheddar Cheese & Riesling – both are neutral towards eachother & nicely compliment eachother.
Onion Cheddar Cheese & Merlot – fruit and onion.
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1608 Laiterie Charlevoix & Reserve Chardonnay – if you like the cheese this combo is a winner, if not then it’s a looser as the cheese notes become quite pronounced.
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Blue Cheese & Riesling – creaminess of the cheese compliments the fruit and sweetness of the wine.
Blue Cheese & Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – the cheese’s creaminess cuts through the Chardonnay’s leather notes – works well.
Blue Cheese & Vidal Sparkling Icewine – the sweetness of the wine compliments the spiciness of the cheese, both are tasted on the finish – perfect marriage.
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Madagascar Green Peppercorn & Riesling – the finishes of both are enhanced.
Madagascar Green Peppercorn & Open Chardonnay – the wine’s sweetness enhances the cheese, yet the peppercorn is somewhat tamed and refined.
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Comfort Cream & Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – interestingly, the creaminess compliments the oak/leather notes in the wine.
Comfort Cream & Pinot Noir – cheese brings out the wine notes.
Comfort Cream & Cab2/Merlot – oak and vanilla

 

 

Full Reviews

The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc is a light bodied, fruity wine with very appealing, intense aromas of pear, limestone, honey-dew melon and leechie. It has a good acidity, nice minerality and a medium finish that lacks fruit when contrasting the intense aromas. It is a food friendly as well as sipping wine. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – reasonably good value at $13.95. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 88 pts. $13.95. Availability

The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of green apple, citrus and subtle hawthorn. It has a nice acidity, is sweeter and has a medium finish. It is food friendly and will also work as a sipper as the body has more intensity than nose. My impression: very NICE, 89 pts – would highly recommend this wine, especially at $11.45. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 89 pts. $11.45. Availability

 

The 2011 Open (un-oaked) Chardonnay is a light bodied, fruity wine with appealing pear notes. It is on the sweeter side, has a nice minerality and a medium finish. This is an easy drinker. My impression: NICE, 87 pts – for lovers of un-oaked Chardonnays; can’t go wrong for $11.95. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 87 pts. $11.95. Availability

 

The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Chardonnay is a medium bodied wine with appealing notes of pear, subtle mint and green pepper, oak and faint vanilla (on the finish). It is well-balanced; it needs to be opened for 30 min+ after which it has a perfectly oaky finish of medium to long length. This wine would go great with any crustaceans of your choice as well as being sipped by itself. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 88-89 pts – would highly recommend this wine and for $10.95 is a steal. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 89 pts. $10.95. Availability

 

The 2009 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay, is a light to medium bodied, integrated wine with nice aromas of citrus, subtle green notes, leather, oak and vanilla. It has a refreshing acidity, nicely integrated oak and a long vanilla finish (decant for 30+ min). This wine was meant to be aged as the >5 cm cork suggests; though not much fruit remains 3 years after bottling, the aging complexity will reward for several more years to come. This is a sipping wine though can be enjoyed with a meal – best when served around 10-15 °C. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – though on the expensive side of $30, I recommend this wine. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 90 pts. $30.00. Availability

 

The 2011 Inniskillin Wines Pinot Noir is a light to medium bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of rosehip, raspberry, dark chocolate and cedar. It has refined tannins (decant for 30 min), is quite acidic and has a medium to long, oaky and limestone finish. This wine is food friendly and should be consumed in the next 1-2 years (plastic cork – keep standing up). My impression: nose does not match the palate, strong acidity. Rated at 88 pts. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 88 pts. $13.95. Availability

 

The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Merlot, is a medium bodied, fruity wine with appealing strawberry and raspberry aromas. It has refined tannins and a medium finish. This food friendly wine should be kept for no more than 2-3 years. My impression: NICE, 87-88 pts. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 88 pts. $13.95. Availability

 

The 2010 Open Cab2-Merlot is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of raspberry, cedar, black pepper, coconut and vanilla. It is off dry, has refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and has a long finish. This is an easy drinking wine and can be served with food or by itself. It has the potential to cellar for the next couple of years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – for $10.95 (discounted by $1 till Oct 14th) is a great buy and hence recommended as a party wine. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 88 pts. $10.95. Availability

 

The 2011 Inniskillin Wines Sparkling Vidal Icewine is a medium bodied wine with intense aromas of honey, citrus and pear. It has clean, crisp acidity, fine bubbles (generated by the Charmat process), is sweet yet not syrupy and has a medium finish. It can be served with food, but ultimately why not just sip it by itself and enjoy this unique ice wine? My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – as this is the only VQA approved sparkling ice wine, it retails for $79.95. Tasted Oct/12.
Score 91 pts. $79.95. Availability

 

 

Cheeses and Pairing combinations

Alpindon Kootenay – hard, milk cheese – very enjoyable cheese!
Sauvignion Blanc – cuts down on the richness of the cheese – works!
Riesling – the cheese enhances the Riesling’s finish – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Open Chardonnay – good combo, salty/sweet.
Reserve Chardonnay – vanilla and substance – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – very smooth combo – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Pinot Noir – cheese dominates the finish – not recommended combo.
Merlot – berry notes come out, both compliment eachother – nice pairing.
Cab2/Merlot – aged cheese notes compliment oak notes in wine – nice pairing.
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – wine’s sweetness goes well with the aged notes, the cheese dominates the finish – wine looses out.

 

Onion Cheddar Cheese – cheddar with caramelized onions – quite good soft cheese.
Sauvignion Blanc – wine cuts down the onion flavour – works very nicely.
Riesling – both are neutral towards eachother – nicely compliment eachother.
Open Chardonnay – not bad.
Reserve Chardonnay – nice pairing.
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – works well.
Pinot Noir – nice pairing.
Merlot – fruit and onion – works!
Cab2/Merlot – both compliment eachother – nice pairing.
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – onion finish, wine brings out the creaminess of the cheese.

 

1608 Laiterie Charlevoix – hard, milk cheese – stinky, smooth and creamy cheese.
Sauvignion Blanc – wine enhances the cheese flavours – works very nicely.
Riesling – both are equivalently dominant – combo works.
Open Chardonnay – wine’s sweetness compliments the creaminess of the cheese.
Reserve Chardonnay – if you like the cheese this combo is a winner, if not then it’s a looser as the cheese notes become quite pronounced – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – nice pairing.
Pinot Noir – nice cheese finish – good pairing.
Merlot – wine brings out the yeasty cheese notes – works if you like the cheese.
Cab2/Merlot – good combination.
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – yeasty cheese taste dominates the finish – good combo.

 

La Fromagerie du Presbytère Bleu d’Élizabeth – blue, creamy cheese with nice veins.
Sauvignion Blanc – too subtle for the cheese – doesn’t work.
Riesling – creaminess of the cheese compliments the fruit and sweetness of the wine – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Open Chardonnay – cheese overpowers the wine – doesn’t work.
Reserve Chardonnay – not a bad combo.
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – the cheese’s creaminess cuts through the Chardonnay’s leather notes – works well.
Pinot Noir – acidity makes the cheese more creamy, the cheese dominates the finish – yet combination works quite well.
Merlot – wine brings out the creaminess and softens the spiciness – good combo.
Cab2/Merlot – OK pairing.
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – the sweetness of the wine compliments the spiciness of the cheese, both are tasted on the finish – EXCELLENT PAIRING/perfect marriage

 

Madagascar Green Peppercorn – softer cheese containing, as the name suggests, green Madagascar peppercorns.
Sauvignion Blanc – wine brings out the already strong green peppercorn – not recommended combo.
Riesling – the finishes of both are enhanced – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Open Chardonnay – the wine’s sweetness enhances the cheese, yet the peppercorn is somewhat tamed and refined – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Reserve Chardonnay – doesn’t work.
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – both have conflicting strengths – not a good combo.
Pinot Noir – too spicy together – combo doesn’t work.
Merlot – works, but not exciting.
Cab2/Merlot – oak and peppercorn – works well.
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – the peppercorns dominate the wine – not an ideal pairing.

 

Comfort Cream – camembert style soft creamy cheese.
Sauvignion Blanc – not the best pairing.
Riesling – works.
Open Chardonnay – neutral combination.
Reserve Chardonnay – the cheese brings out too much of the Chardonnay’s oak – don’t pair.
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay – interestingly, the creaminess compliments the oak/leather notes in the wine – excellent pairing.
Pinot Noir – cheese brings out the wine notes – excellent pairing.
Merlot – cheese brings out the oak in the wine – nice pairing.
Cab2/Merlot – oak and vanilla – EXCELLENT PAIRING!
Vidal Sparkling Icewine – creaminess of the cheese numbs the wine – not good pairing.

 

Finally, I would like to thank Natalie MacLean for getting this group together and including me in it – oh yeah and for having all the wine and cheese sent to me 🙂

 

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