Wednesday, September 22, 2010

93 points Wine Spectator on 2 of our most popular wines

It's been some time since I've blogged on German wines. Maybe it is because it has been summer and I was feeling the vacation mode and wanted to blog more about other wines or restaurant experiences I had, instead of about my job. Well, now it is back to school, back to work, back to the fall season. Today I decided to put in a note here just to tout that 2 of our most popular wines just got written up on the Wine Spectator Insider and both got 93 points.

Those two wines are 2009 Monchhof Mosel Slate Riesling Spatlese and 2009 Monchhof Urzig Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese. Two terrific wines from the Mosel estate owned by Robert Eymael. Both - 93 points each! Unheard of, to me. These wines have always been popular but have gotten 90 or 92 points, which are already super impressive, but this 93..... very impressive.

To me, this says one thing - that the 2009 vintage German wines are here to impress, and they will be getting the high scores. Just wait. This is just the beginning of the points about to roll out from the Wine Spectator and many other wine publications. We thought so back when we were freezing in Germany tasting the new wines out of tank and barrel, which were already quite good back then in February - we knew this vintage would turn out to be a crowd pleaser and here we are 7 months later feeling the love from the media.

So if you love Riesling, I say get your hands on those 2009s that are coming out, because as the points and scores start rolling out, the wines are gonna get scarce right quick. That already happened to me today when I wanted to roll out 6 cases of pre-ordered (reserved!) 2009 Monchhof Mosel Slate Riesling Spatlese out to a good customer, only to be told our local Los Angeles warehouse just got depleted of the wine and I'll have to wait till next week till a new transfer comes in. Made me cringe! But that's how it works - a wine you love gets the points, and it is a mixed blessing - GREAT because the wine will end up in the hands of many new folks who are now made aware of it, not so great because the demand just went up and your secret is out!

So while Monchhof gets the love today in the September 22 issue of the Wine Spectator Insider, grab a bottle today, and also stock up on Dr. F. Weins-Prum, Schloss Lieser, Fritz Haag, and Reinhold Haart - 2009s from all of these Mosel properties will be knocking your socks off!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A month ago at West

A month has passed since we were in Vancouver and in between enjoying time with family, we took a night out to ourselves to pre-celebrate our anniversary at an upscale restaurant in the South Granville neighborhood, called West.

Originally, West was christened "Ouest" - the French word for west... but they changed their spelling to the English form, as customers couldn't locate them in the phone book. ("How do you spell that *!?&*$ restaurant? Oh, forget it, let's go to Red Robin, at least we can spell that!")

That was 10 years ago. So West isn't so much a new restaurant, as much as new to me.

The decor is beautiful. Simple, but not stark. One walks in and feels that it is a special place, well adorned, modern, bright, with an open kitchen. We were seated near the front of the house.

We started off with glasses of Canadian sparkling wine - what it was, I don't recall - but it was refreshing and a little sweet - reminded me somewhat of California sparkling wine, a bit fruity, not at all like the crisp dry stuff one gets out of Champagne. But anything bubbly, just a glass, is a nice way to start off a fancy dinner, I say.
Then came an amuse bouche, which was an heirloom tomato of some sort. It was not really memorable, but it is always amusing to have an amuse bouche.

We ordered our appetizers - hubby had Smoked Tongue and Roasted Sweetbreads, which is pictured below. It was really nicely done. We had never before tasted smoked tongue - and this was terrific - flavorful and firm in texture. The sweetbreads were tender and flavorful and additctive. The dish on the whole was well put together and unique. We quickly discovered that West presents food very uniquely, and the cooking is expertly done.

I ordered the foie gras, and that was pretty terrific, as to be expected. It was a torchon de foie gras encircled by a layer of goat cheese and I finely chopped truffle. Very nice. Again, unique as I've never paired foie gras with goat cheese before.

Next, our main dishes. I had the rabbit, one of their signature dishes. The rabbit was done 2 ways. The leg was confit'd and the saddle were made in these circles that looked like I was eating bone marrow! But it wasn't bone marrow - it was artfully presented loin of rabbit, wrapped in bacon.

Hubby got the Fraser Valley Lamb (pictured at top) which was also done up in these tight circles. The tight circles were actually half lamb loin and half house-made lamb sausage or what they described as Provencal sausage.... delicious. And there was a succulent piece of roast shoulder as well

For wine, we wanted to enjoy a local B.C. wine, and we ended up choosing a red blend from Therapy Vineyards called Super Ego. I believe the vintage was 2006. The winery is in the Naramata Bench, a part of the Okanagan I have yet to visit but would like to in the future. It's a hotter region that can ripen those Cabernet and Merlot and Shiraz grapes that go into this wine. I enjoyed the wine - not on the level of some aromatic and seductive red Burgundy, but on the level of my enjoyment of some California reds that I have liked. Our server suggested it, and then decanted the big wine into a super-impressive Riedel decanter, pictured above... upon seeing this, I began thinking about how I'd like to have such a decanter, and how I'd like to have a cupboard to put it in and display it, and how I'd like to have a house in which to house such a cupboard to display such a decanter!

Since we still had some wine left after finishing our mains, we ordered a cheese plate to share, instead of dessert. Pretty:

In all, the meal was excellent. Very unique presentations and preparations, high quality local ingredients. The service was professional and upscale and made you feel you were in a classy joint. I like that! I was happy with the experience overall, thought the atmosphere was very conducive to romance and conversation, and I would gladly return to West in the future.