How I make my selections...

Rarely will I publish a review of a wine that I did not enjoy; my taste is purely individual, as is your own. If I write about a particular wine, I do so because I also want you to try it.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

I am a man of my word:  On the invitation to last Friday’s Pairing Dinner, I believe it said that you would drink fine wine and leave the event ‘absolutely stuffed’ – That may have actually been an understatement.  We enjoyed an outstanding selection of food and wine at Bistro 77 but the top pairing of the evening was undoubtedly the combination of laughter and learning (I believe the two are an essential combination).  Should you like to view the menu, I have provided a link following this post.  We’ll do it again, sooner than later.

My selections for this edition of Wine for the Weekend are from Spain and Australia.  The red is a reserva level Tempranillo based wine from the Rioja region while the white is an Aussie Riesling with a touch of attitude.  As usual, both bottles retail for under the $20 mark.   

This week’s Wine Spot comes from a fellow online wine aficionado and author of Calgary based Pop & Pour.  Peter Vetsch is a valuable source of knowledge on western Canada’s wine scene and kindly shares his thoughts on pairing a high QPR (quality price ratio) wine.  You are sure to be impressed by his offering…


2006 Montecillo Rioja Reserva – Spain

To be classified as Rioja Reserva, the wine must age for 3 years, of which one must be spent in oak prior to release for sale.  The wood softens the wine while at the same time adding a degree of complexity to the equation and this example is textbook.  Balance is key (the wood can overpower) and Montecillo has achieved perfect harmony in their 2006.  Red fruit abounds:  raspberry and cherry; a touch of smoke; the oak is present but in no way intrusive; perhaps just a hint of caramel - lovely.  I’ve paid much more for wine of this quality; the tannins are like velvet with a juicy sweet core and a lingering finish – is one bottle enough?
$18.45 (621003) LCBO General List (dry)

2011 Clare Hills Riesling – Australia

Full throttle Riesling here folks!  An interesting mix of grassy, herbal and subtle plastic/naugahyde aromatics – that’s not a bad thing.  To taste this South Australian example reveals rip-roaring acidity but a solid mineral core as well and just a hint of sweetness to balance the overall package.  Expect lemon - and lots of it; lime and grapefruit too.  It’s really quite good. The wine will easily cut through the weight of many cream-based dishes.  
$15.40 (215111) LCBO General List (dry)


Portugal | 750 mL bottle
LCBO Gen List 25262 | $7.95 <~ Yes, this is correct!

Peter recalls that for less than a bottle of Yellow Tail, you get a balanced, interesting, flavourful wine with Old World charm and surprising acid and tannin structure for its price point.   This bottle is a blend made primarily from the lesser-known Castelao grape (which is also known as Periquita -- hence the wine name) and it features sour cherry, raspberry and fig fruit along with rustic earthy notes and a touch of cinnamon spice.  

It is bright and only medium-bodied which makes it an easy match for an array of foods (including sausage, lamb and similar roasted meats), although I opted to drink it with one of my all-time favourite wine-pairing foods, Kraft Dinner.  I have yet to go too far wrong with KD and any wine; somehow it just seems to work with everything.  I'm sure Periquita was made to be opened shortly after purchase, but it has enough depth and tannin that you could almost certainly age it for a few years if you wanted, making this a cellar-worthy $8 bottle.  It's not a game-changer, but it punches way above its weight class and is thoroughly enjoyable.  Stick the bottle in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before opening.   

Great ‘Spot’ Peter - Thanks!  Please take a moment to visit him at Pop & Pour.

~> Link to last Friday’s Pairing dinner menu.