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, May 2, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

Last weekend was spent planning an outdoor landscape project.  Between bites of lemon-oregano chicken and sips of white Burgundy, I believe that we now have a plan in place for a new stone patio in the garden.  Stay tuned for ‘patio wines’ in the upcoming weeks.

We kick-off this week’s edition of Wine for the Weekend with a rather action-packed red from Italy’s northern Veneto region, followed by a very popular and charismatic Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s south island.  As always, both bottles retail for under $20 and are widely available at LCBO outlets.   

We are also very fortunate to have Holly Bruns of Ottawa based WineOutLoud supplying us with this week’s Wine Spot.  Holly is the author of one of my favourite wine sites, where her posts are short and sweet, even savoury at times… but always delicious – Actually, the theme really depends on how the progress of her home renovation is coming along!  Please visit Holly via the link following this post.


2009 Tommasi, Arele Appassimento – Veneto, Italy

Appassimento is the process of partially drying the grapes before pressing.  By dehydrating the fruit, much of the water content is removed resulting in a wine of higher concentration.  The most famous example of this style is Amarone which in some cases is dried for 5 months.  Tommasi has used a shorter duration of appassimento for their Arele and for only a portion of the fruit in this blend of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Oseleta and Merlot. The culmination exhibits a wonderful juicy sweet cherry and chocolate core followed by hints of red apple skin and spice notes on the finish.  At a fraction of the price of the great Amarone, this is ready to drink, though I did find it even better the next day.  Decant 1-2 hrs before and serve slightly chilled.
$17.95 (224188) LCBO Vintages (very dry)

2011 Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, New Zealand

This is one of the more popular wines in the Vintages Essential collection.  And while my personal taste for Sauvignon Blanc gravitates toward the Loire in France, kazillions of people (including my wife) rave about this wine… so who am I to judge?  As far as Kim Crawford goes, this edition is slightly sweeter than previous examples showing classic gooseberry, grassy aromas which lead to a racy acidity and a mouthwatering citrus finish.  Try it with goat cheese; the two are a match made in heaven.      
$17.95 (35386) Vintages (dry)

Samak bi Tahini with 
2010 Boutari Moschofilero White 
Greece | 750 ml bottle

‘When company comes calling it’s always nice to have a good bounty of food and wine on-hand. In our house weekend visitations come hand-in-hand with a celebratory vibe that means we pretty much nibble and sip for most of the days. And this means that sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with finger foods that are more interesting than the usual suspects: hummus, guacamole, patè, cheese. Not that there is anything wrong with those steadfast dips and spreads, but I like to cook, and I am interested in exploring wine pairings with food, so a little challenge from time to time is welcome.’ – Holly Bruns

This recipe came to our house by way of my good friend Nita; it’s a great change of pace.

Samak bi Tahini

1 lb cod (sliced lengthwise to make thin slices;
it’s easier to spread if the fish isn’t too chunky)
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
Splash of white wine
Salt and pepper

-sprinkle some olive oil in the bottom of a shallow baking dish and layer the fish on top
-combine the rest of the ingredients and spread evenly over the fish
-bake at 350 degrees for half an hour, it’s a simple as that
-serve warm with pita or baguette

I wanted a white wine to pair, and since the appetizer is rooted in Middle Eastern cuisine, I picked something from a similarly warm region – Greece. The wine [2010 Boutari Moschofilero] has a medium body, meaning it’s kind of round and smooth-feeling on the palate and this compliments the soft, buttery texture of the appetizer. The fish, mingled with the nutty flavours of sesame, is lifted nicely by a floral component in the wine and a little burst of acid on the finish is refreshing.  
It all went down with gusto!
Thanks Holly!  Please take a moment to visit her at ‘WineOutLoud’.

~> I’d love to hear your thoughts on a food & wine pairing:  What is your favourite dish?  And which wine highlights the flavours of the food?  Send me a quick note with your thoughts and I’ll publish it in a future edition of Wine for the Weekend.