Castiglion Del Bosco, Campo Del Drago Brunello Di Montelcino, 2010
Countless wine enthusiasts will be able to tell stories of different ‘ah-ha’ moments they've experienced with wine. What is an “ah ha” moment? It is that moment when wine went from something you drink to something you experience. My first moment was sitting in the lounge at the Pan Pacific Hotel in 1997. The 1986 Chateau Y’Quem was the wine that made me see what wine could be; the smell, the different layers, how it seemed to evolve in my month, the way it lingered for what seemed liked eternity, and of course the way it made me feel. I felt euphoric. That was my first big ‘ah-ha’ moment.
Thankfully, I have had a few more since then, and Castiglion Del Bosco has provided one of those moments. Five years ago, I was cooking at a friend’s house when he brought out the 1999 Campo Del Drago. I opened it, decanted it, took a sip and announced to my friends that I was going to put dinner on hold for an hour. They looked a bit confused and just shrugged. Then they found out why I stopped dinner. This wine deserved its own moment. It was an incredible combination of dried and aged cherry and dark berry flavours married with these layers of leather, tobacco, and chocolate. More importantly, the wine kept telling its story long after that first sip. It was ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and my friends that day.
Now as wonderful as my story sounds, you may be saying to yourself, “but you are offering the 2010. I won’t get the same experience.” I completely agree, you won’t. The honest truth is, until Brunello is about 15 years old you won’t get the full experience, and some will argue that it can take as much as 20 years or more before Brunello’s true story is told. Having said that, there is a very good reason to try the Campo Del Drago now - there is a great experience to be had in its youth. The moment you raise your glass up you will get this incredible eruption of bright cherry and dark berries all wrapped with a touch of smoke. On the palate, you will again experience the incredible fruit, with some beautiful spice and the beginning stages of an aged Brunello, and hints of tobacco and leather. The finish has soft tannins and a classic Brunello acidity. Trying this wine now adds to your foundation of knowledge of what a great Brunello can be, and if you ask me I will be able to tell you where you can find some to add to your own cellar.
There is one more way we can take this wine to the next level - with our incredible 30 day dry aged beef strip. The combination of the perfectly cooked steak with a light smoke from our charcoal and our chefs’ amazing collection of flavours from the onions will all marry themselves perfectly to this incredible wine. The fruit of the wine will add a new dimension to the dish, the spice and earthy tones add more depth to the onions, while the acidity will keep your palate fresh and lively from the first bite to the last!
I hope you get a chance to try the Campo del Drago, it is well-worth the price of admission.
If design history or design philosophy of the early 20th century aren’t listed in your favourite hobbies, you may not be familiar with the Bauhaus movement. With that being said, you're constantly surrounded by pieces of architecture and design influenced by the movement and philosophy. The Bauhaus, meaning “house of building” in German, was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, by architect Walter Gropius. The school emerged out of late-19th century desires to reunite the applied arts and manufacturing, and to reform education.
The Bauhaus, which translates to “House of Building,” was founded by Walter Gropius as a school of arts in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. The Bauhaus was a combination of both crafts and arts, and as such its nature and concept was regarded as something completely new back then. Today, the historical Bauhaus is the most influential education establishment in the fields of architecture, art, and design. The Bauhaus existed from 1919 to 1933, and today the world considers it to be the home of the avant-garde of classical modern style in all fields of liberal and applied arts. The impact of Bauhaus still resonates today.
Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus strove to create a visionary and Utopian craft guild that would combine beauty with usefulness through architecture, sculpture, painting, and crafts and engineering. Structures built in the style of Bauhaus featured many aspects that would later come to define modern architecture – frame structures of steel, glass facades, etc. The Bauhaus was a trendsetter in architecture and design for a hundred years.
For us, we've taken the philosophy of the Bauhaus movement and applied it to European fine dining here in Vancouver. It's evident in our space with the large unadorned windows, steel beams, and simplistic leather chairs. It's also showcased in the plating and style of food - both elevated and simplistic, simultaneously refined and unpretentious.
Alan Koller, wine connoisseur and a member of the Bauhaus team, has created a new wine feature program called Secrets of the Cellar. We’ll be pairing up exclusive wines with dishes from our menus, breaking down the profile of each wine and why they’re so special. The first wine hails from Rheingau, Germany, August Kesseler’s 2013 Cuvée Max Pinot Noir.
The August Kesseler Winery has been around since 1924, and continues to be one of the few wineries to consistently produce world class Pinot Noirs that can rival some of the best that Burgundy and the New World have to offer. The Cuvée Max is Kesseler's flagship Pinot Noir and is only made in years where Mother Nature allows for the highest quality grapes to grow. This 2013 vintage was one of those years.
What should you expect from the Cuvée Max? Complexity is the first word that comes to mind. The classic black cherry, blueberry, and liquorice are all there as you would expect, but because of extended aging in large toasted barriques there are beautiful tones of black tea, smoke, and earth weaving its way through the rich fruit of the wine. What makes a wine a great wine is the length of conversation about the wine. The Cuvée Max is a long conversation. Each sip adds a new experience to the story.
Pair Kesseler's Pinot Noir with the Quail on the a la carte menu. With barley risotto, mushroom, and nettle, the dish is rich, succulent, and bursting with Spring's flavours, it's the ultimate pairing.
Healthy Oceans and Delicious Dishes