Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: RobUncorked

New from the Vancouver, BC area

Posted by RobUncorked, Mar 21, 2009.

Thought I should introduce myself properly.. I'm new to snooth, found it almost by accident this afternoon; however, I have heard about it before.

A little about myself: I've enjoyed wine as a meal accompaniment for years, since my early teens, which I guess comes from my parents. As long as I can remember, a bottle of red has always graced the centre of the table. However, it's only in the last couple of years that I have really developed a taste and an interest in wine as more than just a drink with dinner.

My mother-in-law recently moved to Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley in BC. The first time we drove up to visit, my wife and I went out to a few wineries to explore the area. This ritual became a regular occurrence on our visits. Well, now we make the six hour drive as often as we can to explore the new wines. We are slowing expanding our exploration of wine beyond BC and are even planning a trip to the Napa Valley in the near future.

I thought it was time to expand my resources and learn which wines I should be trying instead of just guessing at the wine store. I look forward to learning from all of you on snooth.

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Replies

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Reply by MTB, Mar 21, 2009.

Welcome!

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 21, 2009.

Hey there, RobR, I'm quite curious about Okanagan wines, too, though from a greater distance (I'm in Tokyo). Any chance you could write about what you find during your explorations?

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Reply by Philip James, Mar 22, 2009.

Dmcker - Tokyo! How's the wine scene out there?

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 22, 2009.

Lots of importers, liquor shops, supermarkets with wine, restaurants of all sorts that serve wine, sommeliers in cummerbund and consumers who drink anything from $3 Spanish with Korean BBQ on the riverbank to $10,000 bottles of Romanee Conti at the local branch of Taillevent. Over the past decade or two everyone's finally shifted to refrigerated containers for import, and tax duties have lowered considerably. Wine is still pricey here, though, and you have to pay careful attention to how bottles have been stored and otherwise handled if you want to buy better ones. The Internet has changed the marketplace here, too, though maybe not as much as in some places. And the small local liquor store is dying out, as well.

Locally produced wines from locally produced grapes is still a long ways off, though individual operations get hyped from time to time. I want to imagine that continued effort on their part will pay off over time, but there are lots of molds and fungi and rain here, as well as a much shallower wine history and culture. So when it comes to shelling out $100 or even $30 for a bottle, I buy French or Californian or Italian or Spanish or Australian or other New World (decent selections from Chile in recent years) before I even try to remember Japanese.

Sake is another story entirely, of course... ;-)

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Reply by wineluv, Mar 23, 2009.

Yea, I totally agree with dmcker about Japanese wine, I wouldn't spend 2,000yen for a bottle of grape-flavored alcoholic beverage! No offense to Japanese wine makers, but they just don't have enough experience and skills to make good wine.

Sake is though, a whole different story. I grew up in Japan and as much as I love wine, I truly think sake is the only drink goes with sushi. No white wine including Alsace riesling and muscadet from Loire can compliment the delicate flavors of sushi like sake.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 23, 2009.

A few years back I made a stop in the Katsunuma wine country on my way home from running a half-marathon up in the Nagano mountains. Was somewhat surprised to see how proud one winery's proprietor was to show his use of firetruck hoses to pump very warm water into open-topped painted metal fermenting barrels that looked like oil drums on steroids. He'd imported 'concentrate' from both Algeria and Romania and was dumping it, yeast and the warm water into the drums and using a large egg-beater-like contraption to keep a vortex going. Then he covered the drumcan with a huge plastic tarp and fastened it with a monster rubber band and let it sit for awhile. A tasting of his end product held no surprises after I'd seen his production line.

Granted that was several years ago, and some people in that and other 'wine' producing areas have since studied viniculture in California and France and are currently trying their best. They still are decades away, it seems, and in my more cynical moments I imagine that Napa in the 19th century still had the jump on them.

I agree with you wholeheartedly, wineluv, about wine and sushi. There is no good match to my palate. Part of the problem is that 'sushi-meshi' (the rice portion that gives the dish its name) is prepared with vinegar. Another is that soy sauce is a bad match for any wine I've tried with it. Fortunately there are so many good sakes around, with liquor stores vying with each other these days to present ever-better lists of obscure local offerings. They go superlatively well with sushi.

I even have trouble with wine and Chinese, due largely to the aforementioned soy sauce issue. But they have Shaosing 'wine'... ;-)

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Reply by John Andrews, Mar 23, 2009.

@RobR ... maybe you should take on the curator duties for the Okanagan Valley page here on Snooth. I would love to learn more and make out a visit out there soon.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 23, 2009.

So, HJ, I take it you're not recommending I start up a Japan wine page?! ;-)

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Reply by RobUncorked, Mar 23, 2009.

I think I need to learn a bit more before I curate anything. But I'll share my experiences on the page as best I can.

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Reply by RobUncorked, Mar 23, 2009.

Not to ruin my own credibility though.

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Reply by Pymonte, Mar 24, 2009.

I've always thought that genmaicha or matcha goes best with sushi. I know, I know, not alcoholic, but there's a definite similarity in how the aromas of tuna (and mackerel, and sea urchin... etc) and green tea affect the palate. Plus, when eating high-quality seafood in a simple state like that, I want my senses to be stimulated with caffeine instead of dulled with alcohol. It's different for a meal with wine pairing at a French place, but there's a big part of me that just wants to pare the concept of sushi down to the bare bones.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 24, 2009.

Matcha, at proper strength, will be a bit harsh. Genmaicha is good, but Sencha is even better. A magical meld with the flavors of all sorts of fish, the vinegar, the ginger. Even strong Bancha works (though no self-respecting sushi shop will ever serve roasted Hojicha). But traditionally at the end of the meal, unless you're a teetotaller. Definitely the perfect way to end a sushi feast, and the yell across the sushi bar by the staff is the sign to close the bill, which while never written down seems to magically get totaled up perfectly.

No need to get soused with the sake (and beer isn't a totally bad match, either). Try a reasonable volume of a good sake at room temperature. It is a perfect match. Some sakes when heated bring an off-odor of alchohol that can detract...

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Reply by Banditsfan, Mar 24, 2009.

Hi RobR,
I'm also new to snooth. I'm in Edmonton and a big fan of Okanagan wines. I usually try to get out there every couple of years, was there last year and will be there in August this year. My wife and I are predominately white wine drinkers and the Okanagan produces some excellent whites. Our preferences are Gerwurtraminers, Unwooded Chardonays, Chenin Blanc and a few others. Thanks to stupid old laws now being enforced in Canada, wineries can no longer ship directly across Provincial borders, so I guess I will be stocking up when I'm out there with wines I cannot find locally. I'm hoping to improve my understanding of reds from some of the talented tasters on this site.

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Reply by Philip James, Mar 25, 2009.

Banditsfan - welcome to the site! Looking forward to hearing more about Okanagan wines.

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Reply by RobUncorked, Mar 26, 2009.

@ Banditsfan
Nice to see another Okanagan wine-lover here. I'm interested to hear some of your reviews of the Okanagan wines. Not many ratings/reviews on here for BC wines. I'll be up there in May, so I'll be sure to share some of my reviews as well. I found a huge difference between the 2006 and 2007 wines, so it'll be interesting to taste the 2008s.

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Reply by John Andrews, Mar 26, 2009.

@dmcker ... you should definitely start a Japan page ... I'm sure you'll get a lot of followers. I bet Philip would follow it if you covered various Sake too!

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 27, 2009.

So mostly about Sake but with some 'interesting' (most frequently in the sense of the old Chinese curse about living in interesting times...) visits to winemakers?

Let me see how my next month or two shapes up. Nice excuse to get together with some old-friend experts on obscure-yet-famous local Ji-zake offerings...

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Reply by jinx mcgee, Jul 19, 2009.

No wine with sushi?? Oh, friends, you are missing out. I'm surprised those of you living in Japan have not noticed the not-so recent push of the combination of sparkling wine/champagne with sushi, particularly salmon! Have none of your Japanese foodie friends mentioned this? Try even a mildly-interesting bottle of sparkling wine with salmon and you will be amazed at what you experience.



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Reply by dmcker, Jul 19, 2009.

Of all the wines that have been offered to me with sushi, I find that, yes, bubbly is least incompatible. Have had champagne and mousseux from France, and sparklers from California and elsewhere, with sushi on a dozen or two occasions. But that's out of literally thousands of times I've had sushi (and I'm not talking sashimi here, which I've had many more times than sushi).

I love sushi, and know it well. Nigirizushi, oshizushi, mazezushi and many more variations. With scores of types of fish in it. as well as vegetarian combinations, though I'm a 'meat-and-potatoes' type of carnivore in that I find something missing to the sushi without the presence of fish (except in the case of, maybe, inari-zushi or kappa-zushi).

In all of these (and here is the origin of the name 'sushi' itsef), rice is mixed with vinegar and a little sugar. And with most, if not all, soy sauce comes into play.

I don't like the combination of fermented grape juice and soy sauce. Nor does vinegar help any wine. I can sense the wine changing in a mouth that also has vinegar in it. And not in ways that please me. Champagne and other sparklers bear up better to this than still wines. Yet still there is a change that occurs to even sparkling wine that, in effect, damages it. I don't find this the case with Sake or beer. Even sparkling alcoholic apple cider from Brittany, when dry, seems to work better for me with the vinegar and soy sauce than fermented grapes do. Yes, and even shaosing 'wine' works better, though this is lower down the list for me.

Oh, and my tastes differ from people from Hokkaido in the north of Japan, with its Ainu history--I don't particularly love raw salmon, either. Gravlax, yes, lox and other forms of smoked salmon, certainly, and many other forms of fresh and salted and smoked salmon cooked in a multitude of dishes, absolutely. Grilled, salted salmon mixed with ikura in maze-zushi is one of my favorites. But somehow the raw stuff has a flavor I have never loved. So it doesn't usually make it into my sushi selections. Raw or salted salmon roe (ikura) is, of course, an entirely different story...

But hey, we're all different. That's what makes things interesting!

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Reply by jinx mcgee, Jul 20, 2009.


^^^ その返事はチョウおもろいだね。 神経に障ることを言うじゃろう! ^o^ dmtuckerは説明をやりすぎじゃない? 絶対そう! ところで、なぜそんな詳しくに日本の文化を説明したかな? 頑張ったな。。 だけど、dmtuckerは何か間違えたよ。 まず、 鮨の語源は"水’と"砂糖”じゃないでよ。 それは全然違う。 また、鮨はライスと魚から作られる。。 もし野菜を使ったら、結果は本当の鮨じゃないですよ。 

I am struck by the fact you may not be able to read Japanese, so I had better write in English.

Your response to my innocent comment is quite interesting. You seem quite defensive and attempt to establish yourself as an authority on Japan, while I was merely making the comment that you may want to try to enjoy sparkling wine with sushi, which has become quite popular among Japanese, from sommeliers to master chefs to ordinary salaryman. However, perhaps you have not been in Japan recently.

Thank you for trying to educate me about my culture, but I have a number of corrections to make. First of all, 鮨 or sushi, does not come from Chinese characters for vinegar and salt. The first half of sushi is 魚 (sakana or uo),and the original meaning was related to fermented fish. There is a myth popular among foreigners that says that sushi is a mixture of sweet and sour, but it is wrong. I suppose you are thinking of 酸っぱい、 or suppai. However, the etymology is wrong. Second of all, "true" sushi has nothing to do with vegetables. You strike me as someone who wants to appear as a purist when it comes to Japanese food, so you had better drop the vegetables from your sushi menu. Thirdly, sake is typically enjoyed after sushi, not during sushi, by most Japanese.The alcohol content of sake which you know is quite high, is typically thought to interfere with the nuances of quality sushi. However, to each his own.

In any case, you do not enjoy sparkling with with sushi. That's too bad. It is quite delicious. But again, to each his own.

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