Friday, 30 January 2015

Roodeberg Red - An exceptional value

The wines of South Africa remain among the best values in the world and if one isn't bothered by a flavour profile that veers away from the austerity of Old World vintages then they should be on the list of beginners who are venturing into enjoying wine without burning a hole in their wallets and avid wine lovers who are looking for value for their dollar. 

This week SukasaStyle heartily suggests going to the LCBO (for Ontario drinkers) and picking up a bottle of KWV Rooderberg Red (LCBO # 7178 | $12.45 - 750 ml) 

LCBO Tasting Notes:
Full Bodied and Smooth
Garnet red colour; minty, dark fruit, vanilla and plum aromas; dry, full bodied palate, with fine acidity and berry flavours.

SukasaStyle Tasting Notes:
Cherries and berries on the nose with an invitingly spicy palate, soft tannins and a smooth long lasting finish that lingers without overwhelming.

Pairing: A hybrid: it can be relished on its own as a sipping wine but it also benefits from grilled sausage, kebabs, pulled pork, ribs.

Under the hood:
For the 2013 vintage the winery lists the blending components as: 
43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 12% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 
3% Tannat, 3% Tempranillo en 3% Other

Thankfully South African wines have long moved on from pinotage and given the micro climates in the Western Cape region we have a skillfully blended entry from the disciples of Dr. Charles Niehaus that can be drunk now or left to cellar for 3-4 years. 

Wine analysis
Alcohol: 14.44 % v/v
pH: 3.49
Total acidity: 5.90 g/l
Residual sugar: 3.67 g/l 
Access the wine's fact sheet here.

Rating: 4.45 / 5 SukasaStars
Quality Price Ratio: Exceptional

Monday, 26 January 2015

Tea Time With Madeleines

Madeleines were made famous by Marcel Proust in his novel In Search Of Lost Time. These elegant French tea cakes are devoured all over the world. Author Barbara Feldman Morse has a unique quick-and-simple formula for creating the perfect madeleines. But she admits that there is more than one method to baking madeleines. 

With five perfect tips, you'll be able to create the perfect madeleines, whether it's Chocolate Chunk Grand Marnier Madeleines or Dark and Minty Madeleines. It doesn't really matter how you serve these delicious treats, but if you want to fancy it up, then there's a chapter in the book that talks about sides, dips and seeing suggestions you need. 

But for the perfect shape, my first shopping item must be to purchase a madeleines pan. And, when I find it, I will feel the same eureka moment that Barbara Feldman felt when she found her first pan in a small baking shop in San Francisco. 
"Time seemed to stand still while I thought of making little cake lets shaped like summertime shells I loved collecting so much." 

The book contains a vast selection of scrumptious recipes, full of unexpected flavours. The simplicity of the recipes may surprise you, or even delight your guests when you whip them up at a moment's notice. 

"Move over, cupcakes and cornets - 
it's time  for the madeleine!" 

Published by Quirk Books.

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist for @BlinkCanada, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)

Friday, 23 January 2015

When The Temperature Is Right

There is an element of subjectivity here since everyone's palate is different but by and large this infographic from Concha Y Toro for wine serving temperatures is very useful. Keep in mind that recommendations may change according to the winery, the cultural norms and the environment and terroir from which the wines emanate. 
As Diego Salas of Concha Y Toro wrote: 
However, in summer, Soledad recommends serving wine a little colder than stated: “In summer, the ambient heat rapidly increases the temperature of the wine in the glass, so, by pouring wine a little colder, it will reach its ideal temperature in a few minutes. Otherwise, the wine will reach a temperature higher than the right one when it’s poured into the glass”.
What Temperature For Drinking Wine?
Herein lies another reason to drink from traditional stemmed wine glasses rather than the fashionable stemless ones.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A question of taste, a question of style

To those new to wine and wine tasting there's no need to be intimidated especially with this excellent info-graphic from 2012 from Fine Dining Lovers 

A superb way to learn about wine to a level of an expert amateur when on a budget is to pick up A Wine Tasting Course by Marnie Old. It is published by DK and will bring you up to speed on the mystery that is wine. Highly recommended by us.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Do you want wine with that?

In case you have forgotten about the importance of wine pairings here are two lovely quick reference charts from the good people at (check them out)

The Basics To Wine and Food Pairing
For the foods listed above that are difficult to pair with wine, here are some suggestions (not exhaustive by any means):
Asparagus - Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc
Greenbean - Chablis or Sancerre
Artichoke - California Chardonnay (more buttery and over the top style preferred here)
Brussel Sprout - Old World Pinot Noir
Chocolate - depending on the cocoa content a Sauternes / Niagara Ice Wine / Port to a Malbec or Zinfandel

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Crosariol's 10 wines under 20

That is Globe and Mail's wine reviewer Beppi Crosariol giving his 10 wine picks available in Ontario for under $20 a bottle. Who can complain about value after splurging at Christmas?

Rabl Kittmansberg Gruner Veltliner 2013 (Austria)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $14.95

Heartland Stickleback Red 2012 (Australia)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $13.95

Lafage CotĂȘ Sud 2012 (France)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $14.95

Rio Madre Rioja 2013 (Spain)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $14.95

Monasterio las Vinas Crianza 2008 (Spain)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $18.85/1.5 litre

Douglas Green Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (South Africa)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $10.80

Beaulieu Vineyard BV Coastal Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $10.95 (on sale at 8.95 till February 1, 2015 at LCBO)

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2013 (Chile)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $9.90

Read the full review here with tasting notes. SukasStyle will be returning with our reviews in 2015. Please stay tuned.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Are Your Health Resolutions In Check?

2015 came in like a lamb and suddenly I am aware of how quickly January seems to be slipping through my fingers, like sand. If only, I could invent something that would hold on to time (well the good moments anyway). 

Along with an endless list of things I wanted to get into the rhythm of this year, including writing every day, drawing, being in the moment, etc., one of the most important resolutions to achieve was to be healthy. Yeah, we all say that. And, every year, hundreds of thousands of the same resolutions are tossed into the gutter around this time of the year. But, that doesn't make me feel any better nor give me a sense of belonging. Instead, the guilt still rides deep within my veins. 

To add to that guilt, just yesterday I lapsed and found myself at a fast food joint, one that will not be named here, for various embarrassing reasons. But, I am stubborn and am determined not to give up that easily. Those habits stop now! 

The key is to find your strengths. My strength is writing down stuff and referring to it on an occasional basis. Ever since I was a child, I wrote down things. Lists, to-dos...yes, I feel quite empowered when I have a planner handy. Every year, I painstakingly take time to find that perfect planner. Very rarely do I get the same planner every year. I find I just need a bit of a change and a fresh outlook every year. This year, I ordered a wonderful Peanuts Edition Moleskine planner from Amazon to keep track of my daily to-dos. But, what of those (ahem) unhealthy habits? How can I keep track of my health, fitness, doctors' appointments, medical tests...sheesh, the mere thought of it is adding more stress to my life. 

As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a gem at an ECW Press' Anniversary party late last year. That's where I ran into the charming Mary Anne Alton, one of the authors of My Handy Little Health Journal, a little book published by ECW Press, that unbeknownst to me at the time was going to change my life. 

My Handy Little Health Journal really is a tool designed to help me keep track of all my health-related activities. I can record all my medical information (including doctor’s appointments, diagnostic tests, mammograms, etc), keep track of my exercise habits, and read up on some helpful tips regarding healthier food choices. I can make my own lip-smacking natural balm, not to mention oodles of recipes that are at my disposal to try out…the Cold-Busting Chicken Soup may just be my warm comfort during this dreary winter season. (yeah, if you know me personally, you'll know that I am not a big fan of the cold…I tend to hibernate indoors most of the winter).

The book, true to its title is wonderfully compact. The last thing anyone needs is a weighty book that's cumbersome to carry around in your purse. Whether it's to the doctor's office, or dental appointments, My Handy Little Health Journal is the perfect companion that is mobile, in a paper format. Mary Anne Alton and Tania Craan have co-written this brilliant companion journal, that somehow I'm certain I'll be holding on to well into my old age. 

You can buy My Handy Little Health Journal: Includes tips on fitness, healthy eating, meditation, and worry-free travel at Amazon.

Published by ECW Press.

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for: and T: @SukasaReads @SukasaStyle @BlinkCanada)