Beaujolais Nouveau Dinner at Left Bank Restaurant!

Joseph DrouhinHave you heard of Beaujolais Nouveau? It is the young, fermented Gamay Noir grape from the Beaujolais region of France.  The French use a method called “Carbonic Maceration“, or whole grape fermentation, in a carbon dioxide rich environment, that causes the wine to be very fruity and low in tannins.  The wine is ready to drink young, and not meant to be kept in the cellar for long-term aging.  Left Bank Restaurant in the West End downtown is celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau with a special dinner, serving Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau.  Details below.

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Left Bank RestaurantLeft Bank Restaurant invites you to their annual Beaujolais Nouveau event on Thursday, November 20.  Expect a deliciously paired three-course menu for only $65 per person including the Beaujolais. Make reservations today as this event will sell out 604-687-1418.

Appetizers

Chicken liver and foie gras parfait

Petit greens, roasted chipolini onions, caramelized strawberries, brioche

Mains

Free range chicken duo

Braised coq au vin

Stuffed chicken breast, potato confit, mushrooms duxelle, red wine jus

Desserts

Beaujolais poached pear

Espresso ice cream

Beaujolais Served

Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau

Tuna Brochettes BBQ and Wine Pairing

Tuna brochettes image courtesy of Discover Beaujolais

I saw this recipe on the News by Beaujolais newsletter and thought it sounded like it is worth trying instead of sticking with chicken, pork, or beef on the BBQ. This recipe comes compliments of The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Discover Beaujolais recommends to pair it with a 2009 Beaujolais Blanc below. I’ll give a few of my picks too.

Tuna Brochettes

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the tuna, fennel, and red onion, and turn in the marinade. Cover loosely, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Prepare hot coals for grilling.
On four large metal skewers, thread the tuna chunks alternately with pieces of fennel and onion.
Oil the grill, and cook over medium heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Tuna must be grilled quickly, since it will dry out badly if overcooked – so watch it carefully. Serve immediately.

Discover Beaujolais suggests trying the 2009 Château de Pizay Beaujolais Blanc, a crisp white Beaujolais using 100% Chardonnay grapes. With summer, I’d like to also suggest a rose or a riesling.  A few of my recommendations are:

  • Olivares Jumilla Rose 2010, Spain. Bright cherry colour. Light cherry nose.  Light body with ripe red cherries and strawberry flavours. Medium acid and low tannins. Very refreshing. Highly recommended.
  • Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Pinot Noir Rosé 2010, BC. Light pinkish salmon colour. Raspberries and strawberry fruit on the nose with a bit of raspberry leaf as well.  Off dry with light body and medium acidity.  Quite nice strawberry flavour with some almonds on the finish.  The grapes for this wine come from one of the organic Kalala vineyards in West Kelowna.
  • La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The Mistress” Waipara Riesling 2006, New Zealand.  I was really impressed by this wine and their Small Parcel Pinot Noir.  These are special single vineyard wines.  The Riesling was pale lemony green.  Petrol, and lemon on the nose.  High acidity, almost bone dry, with petrol and lemon flavours.

Enjoy!

Wine for Easter

Spring flowers for EasterEaster is a big holiday for many of us, where we get together with family and enjoy a big Easter dinner. Easter is also leading us into spring. Flowers are already blooming here in Vancouver, and I’m sure it will come soon in the rest of Canada.

Ham, roast chicken or turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables are traditional dishes for many people’s Easter dinner. But maybe you are wondering what wine(s) to serve? Before starting dinner you may want to consider something sparkling? An easy to sip wine would be an Italian prosecco or a Moscato. These wines tend to be quite reasonably priced. Mionetto Prosecco FrizzanteEmotivo Prosecco, or Batasiolo Moscato D’Asti are three Italian wines you may want to consider.

For the main course, a roasted ham, if you are a red wine person, you could try a Pinot Noir or a Gamay (the most famous being Beaujolais). Serve slightly chilled. Here in North America, you could go with a Pinot Noir from British Columbia, such as the Quails Gate Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir. A Gamay such as Georges Duboeuf Brouilly, France would also be nice. The Gamay would also work with turkey.

Spierhead Chardonnay

What if you prefer white wine? Then I would suggest a riesling. The Kettle Valley Winery Riesling 2008 (BC) has a bit of residual sugar with some apple, flower and citrus aromas, and apple with a bit of petrol flavours, or on the organic side, Kalala Organic Estate Winery Riesling 2008 also from BC. If you prefer a drier riesling, how about the Plantagenet Great Southern Riesling 2008 from Australia? Quite minerally. Light green and petrol aromas. Apple and citrus flavours.

For roast chicken or turkey, there is Pinot Noir, as mentioned earlier. A lightly oaked Chardonnay would also work well. The oakiness and butteriness from some secondary malolactic ferementation would make the Chardonnay nice and round in your mouth to complement the richness of your roast chicken or turkey. If you would like to support Chilean wineries, after the earthquake, you may want to try the Carmen Nativa Vineyards Chardonnay (organic) or the Vina Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay from Chile. The Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay is always a winner for me. From my last tasting notes, I noted 100% barrel fermented in French oak for 9-10 months. 1/3 of wine goes through malolactic fermentation to add some extra body and butteriness. Full lemony colour. Lots of vanilla, caramel and tropical fruit on the nose. Very aromatic. Medium-full body, with tropical fruit and vanilla flavour. Has some acidity and slight spiciness to balance the creaminess. An excellent wine.  A BC selection would be Spierhead Winery Chardonnay 2010. Their chardonnay is creamy with lots of vanilla and tropical fruit aromas and flavours.  Enjoy juicy fruit flavours in your mouth with medium acidity to keep it refreshing.

I hope some of these wines give you ideas for what to serve with your Easter family meal. Enjoy!