Monday, February 14, 2011

Impromptu Gatherings - Debaters Galore!

The best nights are sometimes the ones when you say to your friends, hey do you want to come over for dinner tonight, an hour before you want them over. You are not really sure what you are going to make, what you are going to serve, but it is still fun to entertain, open great wine, chat and let it fall as it may. A couple of weekends ago that was exactly the case. Was after the High School Regional Debate Championships. The organizers had worked hard all day, it was only fitting to say come on over for a good steak and some great wine. So that is exactly how it went! About an hour after it all ended we were nibbling on prosciutto, brie and readying ourselves from some great New York striploins.  We had some reticent red wine drinkers in the crowd, so we started with an 8th Generation Riesling ($19.99 at Matticks Farm VQA Wines) from Okanagan Falls, BC. I have been waiting to try this wine. I had it on good authority from Chris and Beata Tolley at Twisted Tree Vineyard in Osoyoos that this Riesling was fabulous. I tried to get to the winery last Summer, but it seems as far as I thought I had driven, it was yet further. I found a bottle at Mattick's Farm VQA store in Cordova Bay, so I had to get it and put it in the fridge. This was the perfect opportunity to open it. So I did, and it was just as fantastic as it had been portrayed. It had some huge citrus on the nose, with some orange and watermelon on the tongue. The prominent sugars mean that it rolled onto the tongue easily and ran easily down the throat. A beautiful German style riesling, and with wonderful grapes. Definitely one that is worth searching out if you can find one. From there we did move onto some red wines. Before the steaks went on the BBQ we opened the Cotes du Rhones Villages Perrin and Fils Rasteau from France ($21.99 at Fort and Foul Bay). This was another recommendation of my Fort and Foul Bay Wine expert and once again he did not disappoint. This was a typical Cotes du Rhones. It was earthy with flavours of tobacco, a little smokiness and leathery. It had some good fruit on the tongue with currants shining through everything else. A good wine to begin with, though if I had it to do again, I would have served this one with the steaks – I think it would have matched up well.

Of course, most were craving beef in the rare to medium rare category and thus a great deal of red meat appeared. It was combined with some spinach, garlic lemon mushrooms and salad on the side. One of the guests had brought a bottle of Five Star Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla, Washington. I am the only person who enjoys saying Walla Walla? Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla!! This wine was one that he had picked up in his travels, so not sure if it is available in BC. It is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a little merlot in there for well roundedness. And well rounded it is. It has some great tannins, but not the overpowering Cabernet Suavignon type that can make your mouth pucker when you taste. These ones were balanced and made you feel like you were drinking an excellent wine. The nose has some smoke and perhaps a hint of coffee to it. The initial flavours and cherry like with a little chocolate and espresso on the side. This was an excellent wine. I will have to see if I can find it in BC. Perhaps in Vancouver!

The next wine in the offing was a deep full rich Malbec from Argentine called La Posta ($19.99 at Fort and Foul Bay). I have written about the Bonarda grape version of this wine too, this one is a little fuller. Deep tannins that really speak to you, but a long, ample finish that really has you thinking, this is good! There is some fruit on initial tasting reminiscent of blackberry and cherry. A little oak but really just a savoury tannin that travels like velvet over your tongue.

Since many were still in the mood, we decided to finish the night with something port or late harvest. Somewhere in the annals of my cellar I found a wonderful gift that I had been given. It was a small bottle of De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2003. This was a beautiful finish to the meal offering apricot flavours with some orange marmalade. It is not often that I delve into the Icewine or the late harvest, but this was a terrific end to a great impromptu evening. Some great wines and fabulous friends!

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