Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Night of Wine Tasting!

One of my first posts on here was about some great wines I had tried recently, the Apothic and the Purple Cowboy. In the same post, I talked a little about the great wine list at Earls and some of the fabulous wines they have! The blog post was forwarded to the agent for Trinchero Family Estate wines (creators of the Joel Gott Zinfandel and the Show Malbec). She contacted me and wondered whether I would be willing to try a couple of other wines that are created in direct competition to the Apothic and the Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red. She had her Island rep drop off two bottles, the Menage a Trois ($17.99 at Fort and Foul Bay Liquor Store) a combination of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produced by Folie A Deux Winery and The Show Cabernet Sauvignon ($18.99 at Fort and Foul Bay Liquor Store). It all sounded like it needed to be a social gathering with some fun. So, I went out and purchased a bottle of the Apothic and the Purple Cowboy and invited some great friends over to do a "blind" tasting of all four wines.

There were three couples and three singles, so 9 people tasting in total. We had our local "cheese chick" from Charelli's on Foul Bay Road match some cheese for us, but really that is a story in and of itself. I emailed the self-proclaimed cheese chicks at Charellis where I usually get my cheese and a fabulous baguette produced by Brad from B-RED, the pastry chef at Zambris. I wanted them to match some cheeses so that we could get the most out of the wines. I got an email back saying that they knew the wines and would usually be happy to help, but that they were on a well-deserved vacation after Christmas. I asked for at least some suggestions of names of cheeses that I could perhaps find elsewhere, but I got no answer back on the email.

I arrived home on Thursday evening and there was a paper bag hanging from the inside of my mail slot. I took it down and opened it up to find, yes you guessed it, four different cheeses individually wrapped and labelled (Montasio, Etorki, Roquefort and Tomme de Savoie). They had gone in on their holidays, chose the cheese and then delivered them to my door. It really is what makes Victoria the great city it is to live in, but more than anything it speaks to Charelli's, their community mindedness and their willing to do what it takes for their customers, they are fabulous people!!

So now I had wine, I had cheese, and I had great guests to help me taste the wine. I set about to create a few food items too, so that everyone had some nourishment for the difficult tasting process! Some braised 12 hour curried beef, pork tenderloin salsa, chipotle chicken cucumber bites, and then some nuts etc to graze on. We were ready! I placed each of the wines in a paper bag and labelled them and taped them off, so no one new which wine was which. We did three different tastings. We compared the Menage a Trois vs the Apothic and The Show Cabernet Sauvignon vs The Purple Cowboy - Tenacious Red. The final tasting was to compare all four wines and to pick an overall favourite.

The results of the tastings were actually very interesting. Each wine definitely had its own character. The first competition was between Purple Cowboy and the Show Cabernet Sauvignon. The Purple Cowboy had a terrific fruit nose to it, with ripe berries coming through strongly. The first sip was fruit forward, with jammy tones, though the finish was a little disappointing. The Show Cabernet Sauvignon had a smoky nose to it with some oak to it as well. The first sip had cherries to it as well as tobacco. There was a real drinkability to both wines, but consensus had it that The Show ranked higher than the Purple Cowboy. That being said, there was a little Purple Cowboy left in the bottle that I drank the next day, and on its own with out any comparisons, with some pork tenderloin salsa, it was very yummy - so it is all relative really!

The second competition was between the Menage a Trois and the Apothic. The Menage a Trois had a wonderful fruity bouquet. Again there were ripe berries as well as some vanilla. The first sip was full of vanilla, and a very sweet body. The wine almost came across as too sweet, perhaps accentuated by the vanilla. The Apothic was also vanilla forward in bouquet and initial taste, but had almost a chocolate finish to it. It is a dark and rich wine with good sugars! The Apothic won out as the best of the two, somewhat based in being the less sweet of the two, and having an excellent finish too. Again, the last of the Menage a Trois, I had the next day with that same Pork Tenderloin salsa, and the wine came across as a smooth, and fruit forward wine - on its own it is a fine sip!

Overall the group felt that The Show Cabernet Sauvignon and the Apothic were the two most favoured wines. The other two were good too, and really each wine had its own style and expression!

It was a very fun evening, with thanks going to Trinchero Family Estate Wines for providing two of the wines and of course the cheese chicks at Charellis for going above and beyond!

Another great night of wine...YUM!

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