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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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

In terms of wine related activities and late evenings, I believe that I may have overdone it recently.  Hence the absence of last week’s Wine for the Weekend post; Thursday to Sunday was actually spent battling a sinus cold – with no regrets mind you! 

Thanksgiving in Canada is just around the corner (October 8th to be precise) which means that it is also time to consider a few possible food/wine pairings to enhance the occasion.  There are several traditional combinations for the holiday feast, but in general I tend to think of the event along the lines of ‘special occasion = better wine’.  Holiday wine selections really do depend on the combination of flavours that present themselves throughout the day.  I’ll have more on the subject of holiday food and wine pairings after the post.   

On the topic of Wine for the weekend, I’ve found you a shockingly good red from the south of France that will compliment many of the richer-styled dishes and flavours.  I also have a very refreshing aperitif wine, though I could easily be persuaded to serve it alongside dessert as well - I think you'll enjoy that one too. 

Jennifer Hart has kindly provided us with this week’s WineSpot.  Jen and I have connected through the various WineAlign functions that we attend.  You are sure to be impressed by the two bottles of bubbly that she has selected for you.  

Thanks for reading and enjoy the wine!

Aperitif / Dessert
Lillet Blanc – Bordeaux, France

A blend of Sauvignon and Semillon from the vines of Bordeaux mixed with a shot of brandy and delicately packed with personality.  Tastes of peach, apricot, and a touch of orange rind bitterness; creamy on the mid-palate; refreshing, and everlasting.  Advertized, as an aperitif but this will also work with light desserts. You’ll crave another sip.  Serve well chilled.  $14.80 (#322297) Vintages – off dry

2009 Gérard Bertrand, St. Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre – Languedoc, France

With a few minutes in the decanter, this Syrah-Mourvèdre blend opens up beautifully to show a mixture of sweet and spiced fruit aromas followed by a medium weight on the palate. Ample sweetness of fruit balanced by bright acidity to a dry and slightly chalk-textured finish.  This really hits the mark and will pair perfectly with beef or lamb over the Thanksgiving holiday.  $16.95 (#281832) Vintages – dry

A few thoughts on sparkling wine from Jennifer Hart:

The unparalleled growth in sparkling wine sales over the last ten years is due in part to the fact that the current wine-drinking generation does not reserve a glass of sparkle for special occasions only. The appeal, aside from the obvious yumminess-factor, is accessibility and the value/price equation. One no longer has to turn just to Champagne, there is a whole world of other options – literally! That is why this weekend, wine that sparkles is my suggestion. Bubbly stands up to the whole meal from salty nibbles to light, preferably berry-based, desserts.

Spain | LCBO 216960 | 750 mL bottle | $14.25

This wine has predominantly apple notes but the 15 months it spends in oak gives it some biscuit and nutty complexity. Its crisp acidity allows it to stand up to some lovely creamy cheeses like Delice de Bourgogne or St. Andre. It also pairs wonderfully with salty olives, Parmigiano Reggiano and charcuterie. The beauty of sparkling wine is its versatility. When serving hors d'oeuvres, and not certain what to match, the different flavour profiles of the food are effortlessly covered with one beverage.

Luxembourg | VINTAGES 970970 | 750 mL bottle | $16.95

Often Cava's more elegant cousin, Cremant is still very approachable at under $20.00. The recently released Bernard-Massard Brut Cuvee de L'Ecusson (Luxembourg) is especially impressive for $16.95.  The blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir creates a lovely wine of reasonable complexity. Slightly off-dry, this wonderful wine has a lemon-lime, pear bouquet that follows through on the creamy palate. A moderate finish that ends with an enticing hint of nuttiness. This too would go beautifully with cheeses that have some strength, earthiness or nuttiness like Gouda, Brie de Meaux, Munster or Tomme de Savoie. Of course Cremant, Cava, Prosecco and most other sparklers pair nicely with the standard Champagne matches such as oysters, shellfish and seafood. Sparkling wine is also one of the few choices that will go with eggs.  Try it with tasty cheese soufflés especially when the main ingredient is Emmantal or Gruyere – think brunch!

Thanks for the great WineSpot Jen! 

~> Please take a moment to visit Jennifer Hart online at Wine_Gems

~> 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.