A Tailgate Party, Grilled Pork, & Wine for the Canucks Game!

This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:

  • 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
  • 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
  • 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
  • 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
  • 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
  • 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards

What is a tailgate party?

From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailgate_party)

Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.

What did Andy teach us to BBQ?

  • Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
  • Beer Bathed Brats
  • Pig Candy
  • Smoked Sausage Fatties
  • Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)

A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts.  The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice.  Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.

Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.

Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad.  This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party.  For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.

Sausages on the grill are always nice.  We enjoyed beer bathed brats.  In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ.  The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste.  This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages.  Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.

Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”.  Seeds were removed to make it less spicy.  A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled.  It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy.  I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris.  If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!

Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere.  Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!

Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer.  Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes.  Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!

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Highlights from the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest – Day 1

Yesterday was a day of tasting primarily Spanish wines at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Quite a range from sherries to white, red, and Cavas to choose from. I haven’t been able to get through them all, but here are the names of a few bottles you may want to try if you go to the International Tasting room tonight or tomorrow night. Full reviews for these wines and others will come after the festival on my main www.MyWinePal.com website.

My Spanish Wine Picks for Day 1:

  • Alvaro Palacios Remonda la Vendimia 2009
  • Alvaro Palacios Remonda la Montessa 2007
  • Bodegas Chivite Gran Feudo Edicion Vinas Viejas Reserva 2005
  • Grupo Faustino Fortius Reserva 2004
  • Freixenet Elyssia Pinot Noir (sparkling)
  • Gonzalez Byass Finca Constancia Cosecha 2008
  • Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva 2003 (my favorite of the night)
  • Bodegas Olivares Rose 2010 ($12 bottle of rose is a great deal!)
  • Cavas Pares Balta Blanc de Pacs 2010 (a still white made from traditional Cava grapes. Great flavour. It is organic too.)

Most of the red wines above are 100% tempranillo, or a blend with tempranillo. Note that there are many other wines I could add to this list, but today I’m keeping things short.

Today is tasting room time again. I’ll be trying the rest of the world mainly, and finish off a bit of Spain. Saturday is jam packed for me, attending the New Zealand Perfect Pairings, the grenache seminar, and the Cinq a Sept French event. I hope you get a chance to try one of the above wines, and to meet you at one of the events. Please say Hi. Enjoy!

Wineries Attending the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

If you have not visited the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, they do have a PDF brochure now available. It describes the different wine tasting events, and has a listing of all the wineries attending this year.

I thought you may want to see the list of wineries attending, so I posted them below, plus some comments on my part for wineries that you may want to visit if you attend the International Festival tasting (aka the Big Room).

As Spain is the featured country, you will see many Spanish wineries in the list.  In the Spanish list, there is every style of wine to interest you: sherry, sparkling (Cava), red and white still wines. Bodegas Alvear, González Byass, Miguel Torres, and Bodegas Faustino are a few to try.  You might want to try them all.  I will.  For Argentina, try Graffigna and Bodega Alta Vista (nice Malbec) and Familia Zuccardi (Their Q series is quite good). For Australia try Buller (maybe they will be pouring a sticky?), Chapel Hill, Langmeil, and Heggies.  From BC, try them all.  For Chile there is Vina Errazuriz, Lapostolle, Miguel Torres, Montes, and Vina Santa Rita. France, try them all if you have a chance.  Chapoutier is one of my favorites.  There are many more.  I think I’ll make a full listing of my picks on an upcoming blog article.

SPAIN ARGENTINA
Bodegas Abanico Bodega Alta Vista
Alvaro Palacios Belasco de Baquedano
Bodegas Alvear Viña Cobos
Bodegas Arúspide Bodega Colomé /
Axial Vinos Decero
Bodegas Chivite Viña Doña Paula
Codorníu Graffigna
Domecq Bodegas Humberto Canale
Bodegas Ercavìo Domaine Jean Bousquet
Bodegas Faustino Luigi Bosca
Grupo Faustino O. Fournier
Freixenet Bodegas Pascual Toso
González Byass Bodega Vistalba
Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Familia Zuccardi
Bodegas Hidalgo –
La Gitana S.A.
Iberwine
Bodegas Juan Gil AUSTRALIA
Marqués de Riscal Buller Wines
Bodegas Martín Códax Casella Wines
Viña Mayor / Chapel Hill
Bodegas Palacio Greg Norman Estates
Miguel Torres Henry’s Drive Vignerons
Bodegas Olivares Inland Trading Co.
Orowines Jim Barry / Heggies
Osborne Josef Chromy Wines
Cavas Parés Baltà Langmeil
Bodegas Piqueras Majella Wines
Ramón Bilbao Peter Lehmann Wines
Vinos y Viñedos Robert Oatley Vineyards
Bodegas San Valero Shingleback Wines
Segura Viudas St Hallett
Sierra Cantabria Wyndham Estate
Solar Viejo Xanadu
Telmo Rodríguez Yabby Lake Vineyard
Bodegas Valdemar
CANADA CHILE
BRITISH COLUMBIA Viña Caliterra
Artisan Sakemaker Concha y Toro
at Granville Island Cono Sur
Averill Creek Vineyard Viña Errázuriz
Cassini Cellars Lapostolle
Herder Winery & Vineyards Viña Leyda / Viña Tabalí
Hester Creek Estate Winery Viña Maipo
Jackson-Triggs Miguel Torres
Okanagan Estate Montes
Meyer Family Vineyards Viña Santa Rita
Mission Hill Family Estate Viu Manent
Nk’Mip Cellars
Noble Ridge FRANCE
Vineyard and Winery Boutinot
Osoyoos Larose Cave de Tain
Painted Rock Estate Winery M. Chapoutier
Poplar Grove Winery Delas Frères /
Quails’ Gate Winery Champagne Deutz
Red Rooster Winery Vins & Vignobles Dourthe
Sandhill Domaines de Les
Sperling Vineyards Grands Chais de France
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Joseph Drouhin
Tantalus Vineyards Champagne Lallier
Domaine Louis Moreau
ONTARIO Ogier Caves des Papes
Henry of Pelham Paul Mas
Pillitteri Estates Winery Perrin & Fils
Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery Pfaffenheim
Pierre Sparr
GERMANY ITALY
Balthasar Ress Antinori
Bürgerspital Estate Azienda Vitivinicola
Deinhard Accordini Igino
Henkell Badia a Coltibuono
Schloss Reinhartshausen Bastianich / La Mozza
Schloss Schonborn Beni di Batasiolo
St. Urbans-Hof Fontanafredda
Mionetto
Pasqua
GREECE Rocca Delle Macìe
Boutari Tenuta Sant’Antonio
Santa Margherita /
Ca’ del Bosco
ISRAEL Tedeschi
Galil Mountain Winery /
Yarden
NEW ZEALAND
PORTUGAL Astrolabe
Aveleda Giesen Wine Estate
Blandy’s Madeira Kim Crawford Wines
Fonseca Guimaraens Man O’War Vineyards
Quinta do Crasto Mud House Wines
Quinta do Vale Dona Maria Oyster Bay Wines
Sogrape Vinhos Sacred Hill Wines
Symington – Dow’s Port Stoneleigh
Symington – Graham’s Port
Taylor Fladgate / Croft
USA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTH AFRICA Bonterra Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Caymus Winery
Durbanville Hills Clos Du Val
Graham Beck Wines Delicato Family Vineyards
KWV Wines Francis Ford Coppola
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
Presents LLC
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
OREGON Louis M Martini
King Estate Miner Family Vineyards
Quady Winery
Ravenswood Winery
WASHINGTON Ridge Vineyards
Columbia Crest Robert Mondavi Winery
Hedges Family Estates / Rodney Strong Vineyards
Snoqualmie Vineyards Signorello Estate /
Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure.  Enjoy!

Fortified Wines. What to Expect at the Vancouver Playhouse Intl Wine Fair #VPIWF

Every year at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair, there is a different regional focus on some type of wine or wine style.  This year the regional theme is “Fortified Wines“.

What kind of wines are in the fortified category can you expect at the Festival?  Sherry, Madeira, Marsala, and Port are all fortified wines. Fortified wines were born of the need to preserve European wines on long sailing voyages during the 16th and 17th centuries. Brandy was added before or during the fermentation process to stabilize the wine. The resulting wines typically contain between 17 and 21 per cent alcohol, and are more stable than ordinary table wines and less likely to spoil once opened.

I am not sure if we will see any Madeira and Marsala at the wine festival this year, but I do know that there will be plenty of sherry and port for us to try.  If you are not familiar with sherry, there are several styles from dry and light bodied, to full bodied and oxidized, and full bodied and sweet. I have a two part article here on sherry:

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 2

Port is a fortified wine made in Portugal by definition.  It is usually quite sweet and typically made from one or more of the grape types: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cao, and Tinta Barroca. Other countries make a wine similar to port, but those would really be a port-style.  Only Portugal can claim the term Port. There are some different terms for the ports: Vintage, Tawny, LBV.  Here is a bit of info about these different styles of port (Note that there are more styles than just these):

Vintage:  This is port that is produced from grapes from one year (vintage) and deemed to be of exceptional quality by the port house.  Not every year is declared a vintage in the Douro. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. About 2% of the total port production is Vintage.

Tawny: is a basic blended port,  which is aged in the barrel before being bottled. This type of port can be aged from 3 to 40 years.  The aging in oak causes the wine to take on a reddish-brown colour and develops a dry nutty flavour with raisin notes.

LBV:  This stands for Late Bottled Vintage. iThis is port that was originally destined for bottling as Vintage Port, but was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. This type of port is bottled between 4 and 6 years after the vintage. The filtered version of this wine has the advantage of being ready to drink without being decanted, is bottled with a stopper that can be easily re-corked and enjoyed over many tastings.

If you check with wine festival website, you will find tasting tickets for fortified wine events:

Elegance, Power and Complexity: Graham’s Port

Thursday, March 31
VCC East, meeting room 12
999 Canada Place Way
5:15-6:45 pm
$150
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Founded in 1820, Graham’s has unmatched experience as a producer of outstanding Vintage Ports and a reputation which is second to none. Join Graham’s Executive Director Rupert Symington for this rare opportunity and embark on a remarkable journey through his thoughts and passions on eight legendary vintages of Graham’s Port: 1970, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2007.Sponsored by Graham’s Port


The Fladgate Partnership

Friday, April 01
VCC East, meeting room 8
999 Canada Place Way
5:00-6:45 pm
$150
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
The Fladgate Partnership invites you to taste an unparalleled vertical selection of Taylor, Fonseca and Croft vintage ports spanning four decades of the partnership’s history, including the benchmark 1994 vintage. Join chief winemaker David Guimaraens, CEO Adrian Bridge and Anthony Gismondi as they extol the virtuous history of the Douro Valley and the partnership’s wines during this rare and extraordinary seminar.Sponsored by Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1

Sabor de España!

Monday, March 28
Salt Tasting Room
45 Blood Alley
7:00 – 10:00 pm
$125
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Buy Tickets Online 

Prepare yourself for an authentic and intimate Spanish wine and tapas experience! Let Salt and Bodegas Alvear transport you to the heart of Montilla, featuring a rarely explored range of Alvear sherry-style wines paired with exceptional charcuterie, cheese and authentic Spanish cuisine. The evening will be led in flamboyant and celebratory fashion by family members Fernando and Maria Alvear.

I hope you will get a chance to attend one of these events. If not, you will be able to sample different sherries and port during the International Festival Tasting room opening on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Enjoy!

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 2 #VPIWF

In Part 1 of this blog article I talked about where sherry is made and how it is made. In Part 2, I  cover the different styles of sherry that are produced, what food to enjoy them with, and provide you with some of my sherry tasting notes.

The main styles of sherry are:

  • Fino
  • Manzanilla
  • Amontillado
  • Palo Cortado
  • Oloroso
  • Pedro Ximenez
  • Cream
  • Pale Cream

All, but the Pedro Ximenez are made with the Palomino grape. Fino sherry are pale coloured, light bodied, and clean on the palate. This type of sherry does not last long once opened and does not age well, so it is best to drink Fino when young.  Another type of “fino”  is called Manzanilla.  It’s main difference is that it has been aged in the coastal town of Sanlucar.  It is said that this style of sherry has a salty bite to it, due to it’s coastal climate. Amontillado is an aged Fino or Manzanilla sherry which is produced after the “flor” yeast has died from the sherry, exposing the sherry to oxygen. Amontillado is in fact double aged.  It takes approximately seven years for the flor to die from the fino, then additional aging to oxidize the sherry. This style of sherry is a yellow/brown in colour and is dry with a nutty flavour caused by oxidation.

Next is Palo Cortado. It is similar to an Amontillado, in that it is produced when the flor has died, but in this case, the flor has died prematurely. The Palo Cortado is similar in aroma and flavour to an Amontillado, but is fuller bodied. An Oloroso sherry is a dry, full-bodied, brown coloured sherry that has been oxidized since being aged in barrel.  There has been no flor growth on this wine. It can have savoury, meaty or nutty flavours.  If you add a sweetener to the Oloroso, such as the Pedro Ximenez grape juice and wine, this style of sherry is called a Cream sherry. Pedro Ximenez grapes are typically used as a dessert wine produced from sun-dried grapes before they are fermented.  This provides a very concentrated flavours of grape and raisins. The last style of sherry is the Pale Cream.  This type of sherry is produced by sweetening a Fino sherry with concentrated grape juice (likely Pedro Ximenez). This will be a light coloured wine with sweet, grape flavours.

Sherry and ham, image courtesy of theolivepress.es

What foods would you pair with these different sherries?

Fino – Enjoy the fino chilled on the patio with almonds and olives this summer.  Fino would also pair with light soups , white fish cooked lightly (no heavy cream sauce). Lobster Bisque is a classic pairing.

Manzanilla – The tanginess of this type of sherry, served chilled, should work well with most types of white fish and shell fish. Again stay away from heavy sauces.  Try with sushi.

Amontillado – slightly chilled, good with cured ham, blue cheeses (such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton) and vegetables.  Also heard that it could work well with smoked salmon (which we have plenty here in BC)

Palo Cortado – slightly chilled with lamb, grilled vegetables, any pate. Cheese souffle.

Oloroso – slightly chilled, served with smoked fish and other richer flavoured dishes like filet of beef, beef teriyaki, other braised meats, and heavy soups.

Pedro Ximenez – would be wonderful with ice cream and chocolates (In fact I have a bottle at home waiting for some ice cream and summer!)

Cream sherries being quite sweet are meant for desserts. Try with a custard.

Some of my sherry tasting notes:

  • Valdespino, Inocente Single Vineyard, Fino Sherry, NV.   Aged 7 years under flor.  Pale lemon colour.  Citrus, seasalt, pear, yeast and bread aromas.  Dry with medium acidity and pronounced body.  Seasalt, oily, crisp, yeasty, butterscotch, nutty flavours. (Tasted Aug 07)
  • Williams and Humbert, Dry Sack, Amontillado Sherry, NV.  Medium amber colour.  Pronounced oxidized nose.  Nutty, toffee, dried fruit and oak aromas.  Medium plus acidity and body.  Spices, dried fruit, apple, and oak flavours. (Tasted Aug 07)
  • Lustau, Capataz Andres, Deluxe Cream Sherry, NV.  Medium brown coloured.  Pronounced oxidized nose.  Nutty, caramel, molasses, dried fruit aromas.  Sweet. Full bodied and pronounced intensity.  Molasses, spice, toffee, dried fruit, apricot flavours. (Tasted Aug 07)
  • Lustau, Palo Cortado, NV.  Medium amber colour.  Oxidized, nutty, caramel, dried fruit, citrus and oak aromas.  Dry.  Full bodied and full flavoured.  Nutty, caramel, orange, lemon and oak flavours. (Tasted Aug 07)

Remember that there will be lots of sherry to try at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival this year!  Maybe find a new favorite summer wine with sherry? Enjoy.

If you did not read Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1 here is the link.

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1 #VPIWF

Have you ever tried sherry, or know what it is?  There is a lot to sherry, which may surprise you.  The quick Wikipedia definition of sherry is “Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain“.  Jerez is located in the southern end of Spain which is very hot and gives the grapes in the area a very long ripening season.

We can break this down into different types or styles of sherry, which will give you a wide range of taste profiles so that you can enjoy sipping sherry on it’s own or with appetizers or a main meal, if you choose.

There are 3 main grape varieties that go into sherry production: Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel.  The majority of sherry is produced from the Palomino grape, with lesser contribution from the other 2 varieties.

The production of sherry is a three-step process.  The first step is the fermentation of the grape into a dry, white wine. The must (juice) from the first pressing of the Palomino grape is fermented in stainless steel vats till all the sugar has been used up.  This takes till sometime in November.

Step number 2 is evaluating the quality of the wine produced in step 1. The wines are placed in casks and the casks are graded with a stroke (or mark). The grading process works as follows (from Wikipedia):

  • / a single stroke (una raya) indicates a wine with the finest flavour and aroma, suitable for fino or amontillado. These wines are fortified to about 15 per cent alcohol to allow the growth of flor.
  • /.     a single stroke with a dot indicates a heavier, more full-bodied wine. These wines are fortified to about 17.5 per cent alcohol to prevent the growth of flor, and the wines are aged oxidatively to produce oloroso.
  • // a double stroke (dos rayas) indicates a wine which will be allowed to develop further before determining whether to use the wine for amontillado or oloroso. These wines are fortified to about 15 percent alcohol.
  • /// a triple stroke indicates a wine that has developed poorly, and will be distilled.

Image courtesy basicjuice.blogs.com

In Step 3, the /, /., and // quality wines are fortified with distilled wine up to a set alcohol level to allow or prevent the growth of flor and are then aged in oak barrels.  The aging aspect is quite unique and interesting for sherry.  The barrels are placed in a “solera” system, which consists of barrels of sherry from different vintages being stacked on each other up to three barrels high.  The youngest sherry is placed in the top level and progressively older sherry is at the bottom level.  What makes this unique?  The process of taking some of the youngest sherry and placing it in the next row of older barrels below it.  The portion of wine from this level of barrels is then placed at the lowest level of barrels.  A portion of wine from the lowest level of barrels is extracted and bottled for sale.  So at any one time the sherry that you buy has a mix of wines from many different vintages, in  theory from EVERY vintage ever produced from that solera.

The other interesting thing about sherry is the layer of “flor”, a natural yeast, that grows on the top of the wine for fino or amontillado, keeping oxygen away from interacting too much with the wine.  To exist, the flor feeds on oxygen, alcohol and glycerine, which reduces the overall acidity of the wine.  It also increases the level of acetaldehyde, which gives sherry it’s unique flavour. Flor is affected by temperature, so is less active in the summer and winter, and more active in the spring and fall. This change in temperature and amount of flor activity helps to give sherry, from each bodegas a individual style. Oloroso style sherry are also affected by the change in temperature but are not protected by the flor due to the higher alcohol content and thus oxidize.  Fino sherries are aged in a solera for on average 3-5 years, and up to 10 years for Amontillados and Olorosos.

You may have heard of Cream Sherries.  These are sherries that have had Pedro Ximenez wine added before bottling to sweeten the sherry.  Pedro Ximenez grapes are typically used as a dessert wine produced from sun-dried grapes before they are fermented.  This provides a very concentrated grape flavour and raisins.    There is much more to say about the different styles of sherry and I will leave that to Part 2 of this blog.

I hope that this peek into the production of sherry has peaked your interest to try the different styles of sherry, both on your own, and at the upcoming Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair.   There is a sherry and tapas event you may want to attend.  Here is the link to the sherry and tapas event.   Cheers!

The casks are marked with the following symbols according to the potential of the wine: 

/ a single stroke indicates a wine with the finest flavour and aroma, suitable for fino or amontillado. These wines are fortified to about 15 per cent alcohol to allow the growth of flor.
/. a single stroke with a dot indicates a heavier, more full-bodied wine. These wines are fortified to about 17.5 per cent alcohol to prevent the growth of flor, and the wines are aged oxidatively to produce oloroso.
// a double stroke indicates a wine which will be allowed to develop further before determining whether to use the wine for amontillado or oloroso. These wines are fortified to about 15 percent alcohol.
/// a triple stroke indicates a wine that has developed poorly, and will be distilled.