Borrowed Time Chardonnay

When it comes to wine, I can’t think of one that’s more derisive than Chardonnay.  Some people love it while others can’t stand it.  Both sides are adamant about their opinions on the matter and absolutely no one is on the fence.  Thanks to mass production and the Chardonnay “boom” of the 1980s and 1990s, many of us associate the wine with the glasses of golden elixir, ever-present in our tipsy aunts’ hands at family gatherings.  It’s a shame, really, because Chardonnay has so much to offer than to be typecast in such a disparaging roll.  It’s the primary grape in Champagne, after all. Continue reading “Borrowed Time Chardonnay”

Borrowed Time Cabernet Sauvignon

I know all about the gimmicks some vintners use to sell a subpar bottle.  You know – hide a bad wine behind a pretty label and market it to those of us who are drawn to wine on an inherently emotional level; however, that’s not the case for this California Cabernet Sauvignon.  I admit, the label is what drew me to the wine initially.  It’s a gorgeous montage of surrealist imagery.  A time traveller plunges into the depths of the ocean where she’s encased in a world of symbolism and metaphor.  You can draw your own interpretations. But the first sip told me that there’s more to this wine than just meets the eye.

The wine is first and foremost fruit forward.  On the nose, I instantly thought of crème de cassis as blackcurrant is both the predominate scent and flavour.  Taking a backseat are the aromas of wild plum, like the ones that grew in my back yard when I was a kid, along with the subtleties of pencil shavings – both of wood and of graphite – and warm green peppercorns. There’s also a faint sweetness that surprised me a little and provided a bridge between the nose and the palate. Continue reading “Borrowed Time Cabernet Sauvignon”

Mushroom Risotto

Food as art

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that the kitchen is a world-class art gallery.  The exhibits change with the seasons, but one thing remains the same – each dish is reminiscent of a work from one of history’s most influential artists.  We could say that there are dishes that resemble the cubism of Picasso – those meticulously constructed fusions with ingredients whose union seems surprisingly controversial, yet somehow work together perfectly (think Kimchi Tacos).  There are the Michelangelos – well thought out Renaissance masterpieces.  They don’t overstep the boundaries of artistic license or realism, and their refined elements take time and a steady hand to prepare (Christmas dinner?).  There are the Jackson Pollocks – abstract impressionist dishes that evoke all the feels (butternut mac & cheese?).  And then there is Risotto. Continue reading “Mushroom Risotto”

Melon au Lillet

Of monks and melons

The story goes that the tradition of serving Port wine in the hollowed-out cavity of a summer melon was first started by Spanish monks who would fill local piel de sapo melons, likely grown in the monastery garden, with equally local Port from the monastery cellar.  The aperitif was likely enjoyed in the cool shade of the garden before the evening meal.  Melons were considered a symbol of earthly delights by the monks.  And how fitting that something with such a rough and arguably ugly exterior would yield one of earth’s most delicious treats.  A geode of the garden – rocky on the outside, a treasure within. Continue reading “Melon au Lillet”

The Land of Enchantment

I go to New Mexico to be inspired.  The culture, the landscape, the food, the history, the textures, the colours – they’re all threads in a complex and fascinating tapestry.  At first sight New Mexico may be deceiving – a harsh, desolate wilderness where even the plethora of adobe houses somehow fade seamlessly into the landscape beyond leaving you to wonder whether they ever even existed in the first place.  Were they just mirages on the desert floor?   This is the place where dreams of the American Wild West were born and quickly went to die.  But there’s a reason New Mexico is called “The Land of Enchantment.” There’s a magic here, deep and ancient, rooted in traditions that never die. Continue reading “The Land of Enchantment”