the lifestyle surrounding the glass
The search for the perfect
The Stinking Bishop
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Contents Decanting 3
The Arrival of Spring (almost)
I Was in Alsace for the first time ex- spring. Their wines present fla-
Assistant Editors actly two years ago, right when vours like nectarine, lime flower,
Robin Granewall spring was first arriving in its smil- grapefruit, honeysuckle, lychee
Jasmine O'Brien ing fashion, with warm days and fruit, and roses—uplifting, crisp,
baskets full of sunshine. Alsace, clean, and refreshing. Sitting at
Strasbourg Contributing Writers and particularly Strasbourg, is a cafe table outside the Hotel
Our author spends a day searching Jessica Bryans beautiful in the early spring, and Suisse, sipping a glass of wine, I
out the best Gewürztraminer that Jasmine O'Brien this is why we decided that the recall having a moment to reflect
this exceptional city has to offer. Jason Sych second issue of Everything Wine on the simplicity of how a beauti-
magazine should be a short, but ful refreshing glass of wine and
worthy, glimpse of Alsace. With a small table outside in the sun
Adelio Trinidad our BC spring this year being an can make the world slow down,
www.adeliotrinidad.com unending parade of rain (some- can refresh the spirit and recon-
times a drizzle, sometimes just a nect us with a calm that, at least
chilled, ubiquitous wetness), the temporarily, banishes our hectic
thoughts of warm sunshine are lives to the shadows. And here,
Everything Wine quite welcome. two years and a few thousand ki-
The Stinking Bishop #131-2401 Millstream Road, The wines of Alsace truly encom- The view towards the cathedral, from the lometres later the memory of that
Langford, BC V9B 3R5 pass what spring is; bright, sunny, cafe tables outside the Hotel Suisse. wine, that table, that moment, still
Pungent doesn't even begin to describe
(250) 474-3959 and cheerful, turning away from lifts me to that calm feeling, and a
this soft, oozing cheese from Glouster-
shire. It tastes wonderful--but smell it at the heavier warming red wines of winter to the embrace certainty that spring will prove to be just around the corner.
your own risk. 998 Marine Drive of something lighter; crisp, flavourful whites that sing Hopefully by the time you get this, spring will be upon us.
North Vancouver, BC V7P3C4
promises of light linen shirts, backyard decks, and bright And you can bet that as soon as the sun shines through,
(604) 929-7277 blooming flowers. And this should not be a surprise, either. I will find myself a table somewhere, open up a bottle of
With their noble grapes encompassing such varietals as Gewürztraminer from Alsace, and enjoy the calming mo-
www.everythingwine.ca Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris, the ments of spring, within which the memory of the flavours
Alsatians seem to have a penchant for the hallmarks of of that wine are now inexorably entwined.
Entrepreneur and Riesling lover, this
wine consultant inspires through taste
Questions or comments
for Everything Wine
Click here to Search
and sensation; enjoying wine in the com-
fort of your own home never tasted so
good. Please forward any over 3000 wines online
p.24 correspondence to
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Argentina: 184 Words 5
wines. BBQ-ing the Blues in Style
BarBEcuE sEason is finally upon us, and the best way to take it up a notch Memphis Pulled Pork Sandwich Beef Brisket Barbeque Shrimp
this year is to try the recipes from George Siu and Park Heffelfinger’s
Memphis Blues BBQ Cookbook. Everything a BBQ lover could ask for This is a savoury, smoky barbeque I would recommend trying this recipe in I can sum up this recipe in three words:
can be found within these 192 pages: dry rubs, meat, seafood, sauces, sandwich to die for. This was my first lieu of your standard BBQ steak. The simple, fast and delicious!
sides and snacks--even desserts. My own inspiration to try a few of these attempt at pulled pork--even so, I found meat was tender, juicy and packed
recipes came immediately after a visit to one of the Memphis Blues res- the recipe to be very straight forward with BBQ flavour. My recommendation is to add the dry-
taurants in Vancouver: one taste of their signature beef brisket was all it and easy to make. I even went so far rub slowly until you have reached your
took. After the first bite, I had to know how to make it myself. And what as to make the classic potato salad to Wine Pairing: Chateau St. Martin de la desired level of spice.
is even better is that the brisket isn’t the only recipe that will revolutionize accompany it. Garrigue Bronzinelle, France $20.99
your bbq dinner. Here are my favourite recipes from the book, along with Wine Pairing: Joie Rosé, BC $23.99
the best wines to pair with them. ~Jessica Bryans Wine Pairing: Selbach Oster ‘S’ Riesling, Why it works: It wasn’t easy to find a
Germany $17.99 wine that could hold its own when up Why it works: Forget what you used to
against such a flavourful dish, but this know about rosé. The prominent fruit
Why it works: The smoky, spiced notes blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre flavours and touch of residual sugar in
of the BBQ sauce are a match made in and old vine Carignan did just that. this wine create a delicious balance of
heaven with the honeyed, lemon-lime The structured tannins and black fruit salty & sweet when paired with the
character of this slightly off-dry Riesling. complexity definitely complemented shrimp. The moderate alcohol of the
This pairing creates the perfect bal- the smoky, savoury characters of the rosé and the faint hint of tannin truly in-
ance of savoury and sweet. brisket. tegrate all the flavours.
Spain: 165 wines.
Spain: 53 steps.
What's in a name?
184 + 165 ÷ 53 =
Is it "barbecue", or "barbeque"? Many people have
6½ bottles per step. differing opinions, however the American BBQ Society
says it is officially "barbecue", with a "c" that denotes the
Not bad. act of grilling over an open fire, charcoal, or gas burner.
"Barbeque" with a "q" refers to the piece of technology
Step by step, we are
you use to grill--thus you barbecue on your barbeque.
Jessica Bryans is the Assistant Manager of the North Vancouver Everything
Wine store. She has been a fan of wine and BBQ for as long as she's known
of their existence.
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Ford Motor Cars has 41 Vintages.
We have roughly 684.
The most popular corkscrew in use to-
And ours are drinkable. day is the Sommelier Knife, more com-
monly referred to as the waiter’s cork-
screw. Ease of design, simple to use,
and most importantly—it works. And it
should, since it has been around for a
lot longer than most people realize.
Invented by a German named Carl
Wienke, the first patent for this cork-
screw was given in Germany on May
26th, 1882. A slight improvement in
the design was made in 1888 by a
thirsty Brit named H.S. Heeley, who
added an extra step on the lever; this
has become the most common design
for the Waiter’s Corkscrew today.
Simple in its function, the screw gets
wound into the cork, the tier of the le-
ver is placed on the lip of the bottle,
and the handle is pulled upwards to
pull the cork out of its resting place.
Simple, effective, and inexpensive.
Most Waiter’s Corkscrews range be-
tween $9 and $15, although more
expensive models made with wood
inlay or brass handles can be found.
Possibly the most expensive corkscrew ever made, although not as simple as the Waiter’s Corkscrew, can be found here—
and if you ever find yourself at the residence of the Prince of Monaco, ask him to open the bottle of Double Dog Dare
Merlot you brought (what else do you bring the Prince who has everything?), and he may just open the bottle with it.
Come in and check out our Vintages room.
The Gateway to Alsace
Straddling the Ill river and sitting at the base of the
Vosges Mountains, this historic city guards the en-
trance to the vineyards of Alsace; stunningly rich
Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling are just
a few of the wonderful wines to be found within
the "City of the Roads".
By Jason Sych
Photographs by Jason Sych
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The Noble Ones
10 The Wines of Alsace
I don’t think I’ll be satisfied with could create as seamless a bridge the dirndl-clad women, squeaky cleav- sat along the river, finishing the last ves-
Cheerios ever again, not after Stras- between how it tasted, and what age and all, ready to break out in song tige of the Munster and tossing bits of
bourg. A hunk of Munster cheese, a those tastes evoked in my imagination. at the slightest provocation. Naturally, crusty bread to the ducks, I wondered
loaf of bread whose crust crackled I waited around a bit--under the guise how to solve this dilemma. Should I The climate of Alsace is perfectly suited to the growing of
when I bit into it, and the bitterness of a thE city of Strasbourg, capital of of admiring the cathedral’s facade--but find the famous (and famously expen-
dry, crisp, complex white wines. Protected by the Vosges
fantastic espresso; I'm not deluding my- Alsace and the seat of both the Eu- alas no shutters flung open to allow a sive) restaurant Au Crocodile and ask
self thinking everyone out there would ropean Parliament and the European serenade to fall upon my ears. Which the chef, Emile Jung, where to look? mountains, this region experiences long, dry summers, along
find the pungent, barnyard scent of Court of Human Rights, also has the was just as well—I was here to find an Should I find a wine store and ask for with the second-lowest rainfall average in all of France.
Munster the perfect morning wake-me- distinction of being the gateway to the aria in a glass. their best bottle, a glass and a cork- And unlike most other French appelations, the wines of
up, but I’d found my true breakfast of vineyards of Alsace. I had made my screw? Take a poll with random citi- Alsace are labeled according to their grape variety. But
champions that morning. England can way to Strasbourg from Reims, the train so WhErE, and how, to find the best zens in the streets? Somehow, sitting only four varieties are considered to be the "noble" grapes,
keep its kippers, America its pancakes, cutting through a landscape of forests, Gewürztraminer in Strasbourg? As I there in the spring sun, all those ideas
and therefore the only ones allowed to achieve Grand
because sitting in the morning sunshine rivers and grapevines, to explore this seemed far too complicated. Wine is a
on the banks of la Grand Île, the only city that brought together three things simple pleasure—it should be simple to Cru status--which is unusual in itself, as Alsace is the only
thing that could have made my break- I have come to love through my years find, simple to enjoy, simple to taste. Yet region in the entire world to consider Gewürztraminer,
fast fully complete was exactly what I of cooking and travel—wine, cheese, it should never taste simple—the taste Muscat, and Pinot Gris worthy of a Grand Cru designation.
was in Strasbourg to find--a cold, re- and pork. Having to search them of a good wine should always take you
freshing glass of Gewürztraminer. out in such a visually stunning, cultur- to some other place, even if just for a
This is the wine Alsace does best: a ally complex, and eminently travelable moment. Wine does not always need
beautifully floral bouquet and palate of town, was no terrible burden. When I complexity of flavour—but it should al- Alsace produces classical, bone-dry Riesling wines, notable
spice, lychee and lime leaves, nectar- stood in the central square, surrounded ways be above simplicity. for their floral and stone fruit characteristics, along with solid
ines and roses. The Gewürztraminer by the Germanic, centuries-old, black So the easiest way to find it, I thought, minerality and faint, although sometimes strong, petrol notes.
of Alsace is, to me, that curious mix of and white timber framed buildings that was to wander along the streets, bak-
scents you find in the evening air of ear- encircled the majestic Cathedral of eries, cafes, restaurants, and alleyways
ly spring. It’s a freshness that promises Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, I felt as of the city itself, tasting what the locals Gewürztraminer
new growth, a coming warmth, bright though I was in an old musical--the kind thought was the best. Considered by many to be the ultimate grape of Alsace, these
mornings and longer days. Never where people fling open shuttered Which is how I found myself, a short Gewürztraminers are rich, exotic wines that carry flavours of
have I tasted a Gewürztraminer any- windows and begin singing about love time later, sitting at a small table outside lychee, soft spices, old roses, and tropical fruit. Not only a
where that could compete with what and sunshine to the milling crowds be- the Hotel Suisse, with a glass of Muscat, great pairing for the heavier fare of the region, they are a
is created in the vineyards here, which low. Standing there, I could almost hear looking onto the side of the Cathedral-
natural pairing for spicy cuisines like Thai or Indian.
du-Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. The
sun was still shining, a crowd milled about
Previous Page: Looking past the in front of the cathedral, some moving Muscat
timbered houses onto the Cathe- in packs towards the open doors, oth- Startlingly dry, the Muscats of Alsace are often a surprise to
dral-du-Notre-Dame. ers taking pictures, still others search- those familiar with the sweet Muscat wines of southern France
Above: a church just outside ing for the perfect postcard that cap-
tured the essence of that main square.
and Italy. Beautifully aromatic with shadows of stone fruits on
Strasbourg. the palate, these wines are best suited for lighter fare.
I had to smile; I could see the timber
Left: Fresh artichokes at market, houses, the sandstone of the cathedral,
just waiting to be made into din- trees bursting into leaf, feel the sun
ner. Pinot Gris
on my face, and every now and then
Complex, opulent, and regal, these wines are full of honey
Following Page: The River Ile as hear the high-pitched note of a song
it winds its way around the histor- bird from somewhere behind me. From notes, nectarine, and smoky minerality; they have the ability
ic centre of Strasbourg--the per- where I sat, I could see the fabric of to stand up to stronger flavoured foods such as turkey and
fect place for a liesurely stroll...or touristic Strasbourg, yet I stood outside roast pork.
breakfast. of the hustle, quietly sipping my glass
of wine. And why Muscat, when I
a pr /M ay 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2 a pr /M ay 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2
was on a search for Gewürztraminer? ing, “And it is the only wine in France to
The answer was simple—the hostess be made from rhubarb!” Utterly proud
remarked that she preferred Muscat of the wine (with good reason), he pro-
over Gewürztraminer. ceeded to fill my glass.
“Muscat is often overlooked,” she
said, “Especially by tourists. A beauti- thE night BEcaME hazy after that, a
ful wine, but everyone expects it to be procession of different wines from the
sweet like in Italy. When they taste the region around Strasbourg, from fur-
dry, they are surprised, and don't un- ther afield in France, herbal digestifs,
derstand the beauty of a dry Muscat. local beer...local beer with herbal di-
It is a very good wine for food.” gestifs...Cognac...Edelzwicker...grappa...
When I asked her what she would schnapps. As I stumbled back to my ho-
eat with the Muscat, she didn't hesi- tel to the sound of church bells ringing
tate. people to Mass, I realized that it was
"Trout cooked in Riesling. It is a tradi- Easter Sunday. Spring was here, and I
tional dish here in Alsace. But I always had found my Gewürztraminer in Stras-
add a touch of cream to the sauce--it is bourg; I was fairly confident that along
better with the Muscat that way." with spring, Gewürztraminer would
now forever remind me of Au Cruchon.
shortly aftEr dEparting the cafe ta- And with a bit of luck, it wouldn't re-
ble at Hotel Suisse, I walked down a mind me of the hangover I would un-
lonely side street, no other sign of life doubtedly have come morning.
or business to be seen, and stumbled
upon one of the culinary jewels of
Strasbourg. Its sign hung out from the Jason Sych is the Editor of Every-
wall, alone and unassuming. thing Wine Magazine. He also takes
Au Cruchon. care of the Vintage Room in the Mill-
stream Everything Wine store in Victoria.
It was here that I finally found my
Gewürztraminer, and the realization of
what made it reminiscent of spring. My Left: Gewürztraminer vines cov-
dinner was blissful--there is nothing to ering a hillside near Pfaffenheim.
quite compare with the sight of a veal
leg bone, cut lengthwise and roasted Below: The sign of the restaurant
a chestnut brown, coming to your table it from becoming overloaded by the of lightness. Florals, lychee fruit, hints of ity of one chef to another knows very “Do you know what this is?”
still sizzling and spitting. Marrow, if meaty, slightly sweet marrow. After the exotic spices--these flavours work won- few bounds. When I spoke to the chef “No,” I replied, looking at the
you've never had the pleasure, is a lust- marrow came roasted pork with plums, derfully to cut through the rich, sustain- of Au Cruchon after my dinner, and he wine in my glass. The colour was not
ful and luxuriant dish that one must eat again with Gewürztraminer. Following ing foods of winter. In the fall we turn to discovered I, too, was a chef, he took quite right--almost a rosé, but more
with fingers and bread. A fork will only the pork came a plate of local cheeses thick, heavy reds to keep us warm, but it upon himself to show me more wines orange than red. I was perplexed.
get you so far--the rest you must soak that included a small ramekin of blue spring is the time to shed the overcoats, than just Gewürztraminer. Gilles, the “What do you smell?”
up with the crusts. It is also about the cheese gelato (a first for me--a frozen, boots, and gloves. Gewürztramin- chef, had a fridge beneath a stainless I thought a moment. The overwhelm-
furthest thing from spring fare you can blissful, tangy, spicy, blue-cheesey soft- er gives us a glimpse of the flow- steel counter in his kitchen that was full ing scent was beautiful and so easy to
get. So when I asked for a wine pair- serve love affair if I ever had one), ers that are just around the corner. of strange and wondrous bottles, col- name.
ing and was brought Gewürztraminer, I again with Gewürztraminer. And it lected and kept for special occasions. “It smells like rhubarb,” I said.
wondered if it would stand up to such a was at that point that I figured out why 3:32aM . i Was glad to have this A few of those bottles made it to the “Hah!” shouted the chef, gleefully slap-
heavy dish. It did, and beautifully so; the Gewürztraminer tasted of springtime epiphany early in the evening, because table we sat at long after the waitstaff ping his leg. “That is because this wine
acidity refreshed my palate and kept to me: the very essence of the wine is apparently in Strasbourg the hospital- had departed for the night. is from Bordeaux,” he informed me, add-
Trout cooked in Riesling
2 trout fillets with skin on 1½ cups dry Riesling
1 carrot, cut into julienne ¾ cup heavy cream
1 celery rib, cut into Salt and pepper
julienne 1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, chopped Aluminium foil
1 clove garlic
1. remove the pin bones from the fillets with a pair of tweezers, and
set the fillets aside. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut 2 pieces of alu-
minium foil 2 feet long, placing one sheet on a baking tray. Butter a
circle in the centre of the foil, large enough for the fillet.
2. Place ¼ of the carrots and celery onto the buttered foil, then one
of the fillets skin-side down. Place ½ the remaining carrots and celery
on top of the fillet, then the second fillet skin-side up, and the rest of
the carrots, celery, shallot, and the whole clove of garlic on top of the
3. Gently pull the edges of the foil slightly upwards to create a shal-
low bowl around the fish. Pour the Riesling onto the fish along with
any remaining butter and a grinding of pepper, then place the second
sheet of foil overtop, lining it up with the bottom sheet,. One by one,
crimp the edges by folding them over at least three times, sealing
4. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets.
When finished, remove from oven, carefully tear open the foil with a
pair of scissors (the steam will be hot!), and place the trout and vege-
tables onto a serving plate. Carefully pour the juices into a saucepan,
add the cream, and reduce until thickened. Season to taste. Pour the
sauce over the trout with a little chopped parsley for colour.
Roasted Pork with Plums
2½ lbs pork loin or 1 cup dry Riesling
shoulder roast 1 cup chicken stock
1 small onion, small 3 cloves
dice 3 bay leaves
4-6 red or black plums, 2 tbsp butter
sliced salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Tie pork roast with butcher's twine to keep it
in a uniform shape, then season the outside with salt and pepper.
2. In a heavy, well-seasoned iron pan, creuset, or thick-bottomed stock
pot just large enough to hold the roast, melt butter and let the foam
subside. Sear the roast well on all sides, making sure not to let the but-
ter burn. Once seared, remove the roast from the pan and set aside.
3. Sweat the diced onion until translucent, then add half the plums,
the cloves, and bay leaves, stirring a few times to coat with the butter.
4. Add the Riesling, stirring with a wooden spoon to help dissolve the
caramelized juices from the pork. Once hot, add the stock and return
the pork to the pan. Cover, and place in the oven. Cook covered for
20 minutes, then remove the cover and allow to finish cooking uncov-
ered, approximately 30 minutes more. Using a meat thermometer, test
the internal temperature of the pork (160°F is what you are aiming for),
and when done, remove roast and let it rest on a platter for 10 min-
utes before slicing.
5. Pour liquid into a sauce pot, and reduce volume by half. Once re-
duced, add the remaining plums and bring to a simmer. Serve along-
M ar /a pr 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 1 M ar /a pr 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 1
20 When you go...
places to go, sleep, and eat when in Strasbourg
Wines of Alsace 21
PLACES TO STAY PLACES TO EAT
Lucien Albrecht NV
Hotel Cardinal de Rohan Au Cruchon Pfaffenheim Grand Cru
75€ -159€ 30€ -40€ Cremant d'Alsace
11, rue des Pucelles Elegant apple, brioche, 2004 Pinot Gris
17, rue du Maroquin
(33) 03 88 35 78 82 pear and citrus notes on Pronounced nose of tropi-
tel. (33) 03 88 32 85 11
A quiet 3-star hotel next to the Cathe- Recognized as one of Santa Barbara’s nose and palate. A good cal fruit, honeysuckle, and
dral. Elegant and conveniently located. finest restaurants serving exquisite, local choice for Asian food sweet apple. Off-dry with
www.hotel-rohan.com cuisine. pairings. a ricjh, full finish.
Hotel Suisse Au Crocodile
62€ -109€ 86€ -145€
2/4 rue de la Râpe 10 rue de l'Outre
tel. (33) 03 88 35 22 11 (33) 03 88 32 13 02
A genuine, traditional Strasbourg hotel, A beautiful sky-lit restaurant, Au Crocodile
whose location can not be topped. All serves the most inventive food in Stras- Pfaffenheim 2006 Dopff & Irion
rooms look onto the Cathedral. bourg. Riesling 2002 Riesling
www.hotel-suisse.com www.au-crocodile.com Nectarine, apple, light Winter apple, dried apri-
Hotel Couvent du Franciscain citrus, light petrol notes cot, petrol on the nose
La Cloche à Fromage
64€ -76€ on the nose. Dry, crisp with citrus, apricot and
18, rue du Faubourg-de-Pierre palate with a refreshing minerals on the palate. A
27, rue des Tonneliers
(33) 03 88 32 93 93 finish. stunning wine for shellfish.
(33) 03 88 52 04 03
A charming hotel 10 minutes from the A truly cheese-oriented restaurant, which $19.99 $29.99
Cathedral by foot. Clean and well-kept. holds the Guiness record for the largest
www.hotel-franciscain.com cheese board. The food is great, too.
Schlumberger 2005 Pierre Sparr
Gewürztraminer 2006 Pinot Gris
Opera too loud..?
Deep gold, honey, English Honey, pear, melon, grape-
Rose, lychee, and apricots Trimbach Clos Ste fruit on the nose with pear,
on the nose. Off-dry with citrus and minerals on the
Hune 2001 Riesling
great acidity and spice palate. A touch of spice
Created from the most
on the finish. on the finish.
perfect place in all of Al-
Luckily we carry stemware, too. $26.99
sace for growing Riesling,
Clos Ste. Hune's 40-year-
old vines create a Ries-
Marcel Deiss 2000 ling with an enveloping
Burlenberg Pinot Noir Pfaffenheim 2007
We are truly, Mineral earth, black
richness, intense mineral-
ity, and an incomparable Gewürztraminer
cherries, rhubarb, and structure and finesse. The Medium-bodied with lem-
strawberry. Good depth wine is aged for five ongrass, lychee, and tropi-
of flavour. Dry, dusty fin- years in the bottle before cal fruit on the nose. Ripe
ish with subtle tannins. release. fruit on the palate with
$64.99 $169.99 pleasant spice.
M ay/J u n 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2
The Stinking Bishop 23
Stinky enough to kill...and revive
Famous and offensive, stinky yet sublime; this noxious cheese,
Cheese at a Glance despite it's pungency, does not actually get its name from the way
it smells. The name actually comes from the Stinking Bishop pear,
pronunciation which is used to make the perry (similar to cider, but using pears
STink-ing Bish-up instead of apples) that this cheese is immersed in every four weeks
as it matures. Like most washed-rind cheeses, the odour created
arEa of origin by the wash is quite often offensive, and is what makes these types
Gloustershire, England of cheese the stinkiest varieties in the cheese world. This one in
stylE of chEEsE
particular is likened to wet towels that have not been washed in
Washed Rind Cow's Milk weeks.
This cheese has had its fifteen minutes of fame, as the cheese
flavour profilE used to bring Wallace back to life in the Oscar-winning animated
The name is appro- film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. After the
priate, however despite the film's release, it is estimated that the demand for the Stinking Bishop
nose, the palate has a mild increased by roughly 500%.
fruitiness with undertones of ~Jason Sych
nuts and light vegetal notes.
The rind is edible, but much
stronger in flavour than the
WinE pairing suggEstions
pinot gris (alsacE)
Right: The oozing nature of
the Stinking Bishop as it nears
In the Right Time
Through her inspiration to
appreciate the beauty of wine in
its moment, Britta Giese focuses
her tasting business on wine as
an experience; an experience not
only in taste and sensation, but in
understanding and enjoying the
moment-- and the glass--in front of
by Jasmine O'brian
PhOtOgraPhs by adeliO trinidad
M ay/J u n 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2 M ay/J u n 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2
It says something about Britta don’t like, she says, not always allowing ship with Chardonnay – or – my non- According to Giese this is a com-
Giese’s talents as a wine consultant that that for every wine (that’s well- made) existent relationship with Chardonnay. mon situation, and all that she demands
it takes only forty minutes in my kitchen there is a time and place to drink it. Finding the taste too strong, I simply from her participants is that they “put
with her, tasting wine, before I have It’s the understanding of this that can stopped ordering it when I went out to their likes and dislikes in a box and start
my first wine epiphany. This bodes well unlock the appreciation of many more eat. But I didn’t really understand why from a blank slate.” Giese then leads
for the future of her business. After all, wines than personal preference al- I didn’t like it, or that it had anything her participants through a tasting,
Giese is the driving force behind BG- lows. to do with the context in which I was helping them to break the wine down
Wine Consulting, bringing her passion This makes me think of my relation- drinking it. into its essential elements of acidity,
and knowledge about wine to industry sweetness, fruit, tannins (for red) and its
seminars, personal cellars, and like this finish. She draws out what they smell,
afternoon, into people’s homes. what they taste, delving into people’s
sensory impressions and getting them
Born in thE small wine town of In- to make their own conclusions.
gelheim, in the Rhine Valley of Ger- A typical tasting is geared for 8-10
many, Giese grew up working in vine- people, tasting five wines over the
yards. Ingelheim is known for its Pinot course of a few hours. Giese uses the
Noir, and this was the beginning of a intimate setting of people’s homes to
life-long interest in wine that has blos- create an atmosphere of comfort for
somed into a full career. She began in people to ask any questions they have
the vineyard, but has worked her way about wine ranging from growing re-
up through tasting bars and in-store gions, storage, cost and value. Giese choice of dishes she would eat with with?”
consulting to now occupy the illustri- provides the materials, maps and infor- this wine. It isn’t until we move on to the I’m not sure about this either, and I’m
ous position of Sommelier at the Sooke mation cards for each wine; the only glass of red, a Canaletto Montepul- not even sure how those two things are
Harbour House. Giese is working to- thing required from her clients is par- ciano d’Abruzzo, that I understand why connected.
wards her Diploma with the Wine and ticipation. these details matter. This is where attention to detail be-
Spirit Education Trust out of the UK, and The Balthasar Ress Riesling seems to comes important, because Giese is not
is planning on completing her Master’s blend all the elements in a subtle and WE BEgin again with the sniffing and only a consultant, she is an educator,
Degree in Wine. However, it is her own balanced fashion, combining a sweet swirling and tasting – and this wine has and instead of simply informing me, she
business that allows her to do what fruit taste of peach, a hint of mineral, quite a taste. It immediately hits the top draws on my answers to help connect
she loves best: bringing her knowledge and a slight scent of petroleum. But of my mouth, hard. I make a face. the dots.
and experience directly to the aver- what I am enjoying is the testing out of “Do you get a bitter tea taste?” Giese “Your analogy is a good one. If I
age consumer, people who enjoy wine Giese’s theory about wine. To her wine asks me. That’s exactly how I would ate this with cheese and olives and
and would like to know more, but feel is like life, rarely the same from moment describe it, bitter and overwhelming; I prosciutto the strong tastes would
confused and overwhelmed when they to moment. The scent from overtop the don’t think I like it. But she advises me make an even four notes in the bar,
enter a wine store. glass, is not the same as the scent from to take another taste and see what creating a nice flow and balance
“My mission,” she says, “is to inspire deep inside the glass. The first sip is dif- happens. This time it’s a little smoother in the music. Combine those tastes
people to appreciate the beauty of ferent than the second. The wine hits and my palate has adjusted, but it still and it’s a perfect symphony in the
wine. But in order to appreciate it fully, each part of my mouth differently, ef- feels like overkill. “It feels like a bar of mouth. Drink a glass of this in front of
they need to understand it.” fervescent on one side, tart on the top. music where the second beat is a huge the fire all by itself and all you get is
Paying attention to the wine in the glass cymbal and the other three beats of one harsh note – not relaxing at all.”
this aftErnoon giEsE has set my ta- in front of us is an exercise in the pres- music are tinny chimes,” I say, trying to I could see myself milling about on a
ble with a bamboo mat and two tasting ent moment. Giese’s right, it’s just that be clever with my use of metaphor. summer afternoon, popping a couple
glasses. She pours me the first glass, a I’m usually too busy drinking to notice. “Do you think it’s well-made?” Giese of olives in my mouth, taking a sip of this
light German Riesling from Balthasar I’m also a little too preoccupied with asks. wine, and then taking a bite of a strong
Ress Estate Winery. People simply base the sensations in my mouth to take note I really don’t know. cheese. I could imagine the tastes flow-
their wine choices on what they like or of the detail Giese is investing in the “Well, then what would you eat it ing together, neither one overwhelm-
M ay/J u n 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2 a pr /M ay 2 0 0 9 EvErything WinE MagazinE issuE 2
ing the other, playing off each other like
good conversation. Then I had my little Balthasar rEss 2007 rhEingau canalEtto MontEpulciano
On the Road...
Christmas at a Tuscan "Five-Star"
epiphany. In the right context I could en- riEsling d'aBruzzo 2006
joy this wine. In fact, in the right context, by Dave Ramsden
this wine could be fantastic. Wonderfully acidic with scents Medium-bodied with a nose of
“Because this wine accomplishes on the nose reminiscent of apple, black cherry, red currant, dusty "christMas in tuscany" elaborately bent coat hang-
what it’s made for, it’s a well-made wine,” pear, tropical fruit, and a touch earth and a touch of oak. A may have a nice ring to it, er, and a roll of Tam Oil
Giese says. Well-made didn’t mean if I of petrol. Honeysuckle, lime definite food wine, this Montepul- but it can get pretty cold up stickers. He uncorked the
liked it or not. This was what she meant flower, and slate cover the pal- ciano definitely shows the classic in those hills, and the Ital- bottle, peeled off a couple
by there being a time and place for ev- ate. Very well balanced over- flavours of what it means to be ians don't always opt for of stickers, wrapped them
ery wine, but I didn’t really get it until I all, the sweetness harmonizing a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. On full heating. If you're staying loosely around the end of
understood through my sense of taste. with the acidity to provide a the palate there are a lot of fruit with family (my son married the hanger, and with a deft
Now maybe I could reconsider my re- refreshing, clean, and uplifting pal- notes tempered with solid tannins, an Italian), there's also the motion put the stickers into
jection of Chardonnay—maybe there ate. A fantastic a pleasingly dry, potential for culture shock; the wine to scoop off some
was hope for it after all. pairing for roast- dusty mid-palate, you can live a very modern green liquid. He did this to
ed pork or ham, and a fairly long fin- lifestyle in Italy, but there draw off the olive oil which
in a World of how-to books and man- grilled chicken, ish. A great pairing are also remnants of the some...traditional...wine mak-
uals, Giese understands that wine is an or turkey. Or for tomato-based old ways in many places. ers use to seal bottles when
experience, and her company’s product alternately, this pasta, grilled pork, Often, the women cook cleanliness is not quite up to
and service delivers exactly that. Wine is a wonderful and braised beef while the men drink; though Living life in 2oz. moments in a typical Tuscan cantina. German standards. We got
tastings can be arranged according to wine to sip out dishes. It is great to be fair, I don't think many our wine, and I wandered
the tastes and wishes of the customer, on the deck on a to see quality wine women would have wanted to go on this particular cantina over to where there was a large window with a magnifi-
with a focus purely on Champagnes, spring afternoon. from this region. tour. cent view of the valley below. Wood smoke was gently
or French wines, or virtually any other We were spending Christmas between Massa-Carrera drifting across the horizon, and in the distance I saw the
theme of interest. An in-home tasting of- $15.99 $15.99 and Pontremoli. Around three on an afternoon just before Mediterranean with the soon-to-set sun playing on it.
fers not just a learning experience, but Christmas, the men headed out for an adventure. Driving And the wine? I don't know if you remember the first
an exploration of the senses, a fun eve- on regional roads, we twisted and turned our way through plonk you had when you were young and nearly broke, so
ning with friends and family, and quite a river valley towards the mountain tops that border Par- let's just describe the taste as "Frontier Pinot Grigio".
possibly the ability to never have to ma. Our Italian hosts explained the first stop would be “La On the way out of the cantina, our Italian hosts had a
fumble blind through a wine store again. Cinque Stella” (the Five Star), a famous bar in the region. good laugh at our expense, but we reminded them that
After half an hour of driving past farmhouses and small this was not the first time on the trip we'd exercised our
towns, we stopped in front of what looked like a cowshed "roughing it" skills...
BG Wine Consulting in a tiny hamlet. And in fact, that's what it was. Later that evening, as we returned down the mountain
We had to step over the cow flops as we went through from another bar, the sun has set and the Cinque Stella
Britta Giese offers tailored wine events, tastings, seminars, and consulting servic- the shed to get to a set of stone steps. Following the steps, was packed. That's the great thing about seeing Italy from
es to clientele of varied wine experience and knowledge levels. The basis of Giese's we climbed into an old store/bar with a grizzled man in the inside out with family: there are some amazing places
wine philosophy is that to understand and appreciate wine fully, a person scruffy clothes behind the counter. The place could best be to visit you could never find in a guide book. Some rate five
must step beyond personal preferences and understand wine for what it described as creepily antipodal to a Monk's cell—spare stars, others...not.
is in the moment it is enjoyed, and in the way it was meant to be enjoyed. as you can imagine, but the point being civilized drinking Dave Ramsden started his career in science, but turned to trading
rather than spiritual awakening. stocks online during the Tech Boom, which he survived. He has discov-
ered that white wines can be really good, particularly if they have a
Britta Giese Our hosts ordered a bottle of the "vino di casa". The pro- Grand Cru designation. He still trades online, and having survived an-
BGWine Consulting prietor immediately produced a bottle and six glasses, an other big crash, is now a trusted name in finance (last man standing).
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last seen in my
wine cellar on
May 15, 2009,
my son's May
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