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, October 4, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

Last weekend was spent preparing for my hike through the French wine region of Burgundy.  I depart on October 9th with no specific date of return. ‘Reflection’ is the underlying theme – just me, a backpack, notebook, and a camera – that’s it… okay, a few technical whizbang items as well, but they’re for use only where I manage to find WiFi, if such a thing does in fact exist along the 45km stretch that constitutes the Côte d’Or; I’m thinking infrequent at best.  In addition to the characteristic wines of each commune, I’m in search of something different as I pass through each village of this historical region – perhaps a glass of white where they only grow red, maybe an uncharacteristic bottle of dessert wine or rosé that is never shared outside these beautiful stonewalled communities.   Burgundy is the birthplace of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is also home to many of the world's undisputed great wines – I may never return… I will send for my family… Wish me luck!    

Switching gears, are you all set for Thanksgiving?  Will you be drinking Pinot or a lightly oaked Chard with your turkey and ham?  Perhaps neither… I’ve found two alternatives that that will fit the bill nicely.  For those who are planning a house full of family this holiday weekend, you will also need plenty of liquid encouragement to guide both yourself and the group throughout the day.   Of course red wine is essential and the one region that jumps to mind for its unlimited pairing potential is Beaujolais.  Additionally, I’ve found a laser focussed Riesling to substitute for the Chardonnay, if you feel so inclined.  I opened this Washington State white earlier this week and everyone in the room loved it.  

George Ozegovic 'Djordje' (say that three times fast) is a gentleman of discerning taste who also happens to have a family history in winemaking.  His stories fascinate me and his methods captivate my attention.  I am thrilled to share this page with him for what is sure to be a creative WineSpot.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the wine!

2010 Kungfu Girl Riesling, Charles Smith Winery – Washington State, USA

For those who prefer their Riesling with a touch of verve, this is your girl - KungFu Girl that is.  Obvious effervescence in the glass hints at the potential for residual sugar while that same degree of sparkle carries through to an uplifting texture on the palate - though the sweetness doesn’t stand a chance against the wave of mouth-watering acidity [insert random martial arts exclamation here]! Copious amounts of green apple and lime zest quickly follow-up, and while my personal taste is for a Riesling of somewhat softer and arguably more restraint, the roomful of people present while I tasted this wine unanimously down-voted my opinion.    
If you don’t care for the wine (and I’m told that view is preposterous) the label is certain to play up to the cartoon-loving kid in you.  So don your Yi Fu and crack open this action-packed bottle with finger foods or as a compliment almost any dish.  $18.95 (#273953) Vintages – off dry

2010 Louis Jadot, Combe aux Jacques – Beaujolais, France

For as long as my beverage consuming memory serves me, I have been drawn to this wine.  It represents significant quality for a reasonable price and the style pairs extremely well with a multitude of different menu options. This is mid-level Beaujolais (above that of November’s Nouveau release though still shadowed by the Cru class).  Combe aux Jacques is Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais-Villages effort which consistently shows a light to medium body with a refreshingly unassuming character.  The mix of both candied and spiced red fruit plus a clean line of acidity makes this an idea wine to accompany the smorgasbord of flavours that are poised to clutter your dining-room table this weekend.  Serve slightly chilled.  $15.95 (#365924) Vintages – dry

George Ozegovic shares his thoughts on pairing Bronzini with the 2010 Terredora, Loggia della Serra, a product of the white grape Greco di Tufo.

I would hazard to guess that few people welcome the autumn as much as I do – but mostly as a justification for the oncoming winter weight gain. This year, I’ve decided to change my routine and not eat my way through the season. I sat down with chef Serdjo Lakich and sous chef Mike Lyons of Marquee Steakhouse to enjoy a meal and discuss the perception of challenging wine pairings. And instead of entering the season with a traditional harvest heavy dish, I opted for European seabass (bronzini).

My approach to food and wine pairing is simple: keep both indigenous to a region and the wine should “kiss not hug” the food. Meaning, the wine should provide balance to the food and not smother it. In North America, we are extremely lucky to have (and share) many different food cultures but it often poses a challenge in what we pour. Winemakers are a reflection of their earth and their products are often best suited for what is caught, grown and reaped within the region. So, my choice of grilled, Italian caught seabass naturally called for an Italian wine – 2010 Terredora Loggia della Serra, Greco di Tufo

750 mL bottle | $17.95

Tasting note: Cool fermented and aged on its lees in stainless steel, this wine pops with citrus, peach and layered aromatics yet somehow remains soft. Very well balanced, medium bodied with excellent acidity. 

Normally, I would not choose a wine with such great aromatics and vibrant fruit to pair with a mild and finely textured fish – but I always consider the cooking method and accompanying side dishes. The wine’s residual sweetness and balanced acidity provide a perfect “kiss” to grilling and the sugars that come out in cooked vegetables.

~> That sounds just about perfect, but there is more to follow: George has kindly sent us a second food/wine pairings and I will feature his WineSpot with braised lamb shank in our next edition of Wine for the Weekend - stay tuned!

You can follow George on Twitter @CurdsAndCliche for more of his thoughts on food, wine, and other topics at random. 

~> 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.