Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice Wine Tasting - 2010

This year's Solstice Wine Tasting brought seven Book Babes together on a Sunday afternoon to celebrate the season with delectable pairings and an outstanding feast.

Before we got down to the business of tasting, people tested their noses.   I assembled some "smelly cups" based on the aroma wheel, to help put us in the right frame of reference:  lychee, cinnamon, honey, cigar, orange, pepper, plum, bread, blackberry and vanilla bean.   The objects were hidden inside cups, with holes poked through the top, so the aroma wafted out without people being able to actually see what was hidden inside.  The scents are so familiar but it isn't always easy to identify them by name. 

Another thing that constantly  astonishes me, is how the taste of the wine actually changes depending on how it is paired. The food people brought was delicious and a great chance to explore how the different flavours, textures and tastes each brought out something different in the wine.

Any one of the courses would make a great luncheon on its own. 

For future reference, then:

Japanese Plum wine  trifle and candied ginger chocolates
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Valdadige, 2009, Italy - This white wine is made from the red pinot grigio grape by fermenting it off the skins.  "Fruity", fresh-tasting, as light as a gentle summer breeze.  Served with samosa and foccacia.  Wendy

Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2008, France, dry & fruity.  Nicely mingles oak and fruity flavours.  Served with a delicious fig and balsalmic baked brie plus an artichoke and olive tapenade.  Nicki

Anselmi San Vincenzo, Veneto, 2009.  Beautiful light golden colour. Served with an amazing cave-aged Gruyere cheese.   Outstanding cheese/wine pairing!   Christina

Rioja Bordon, Reserva 2004, Spain.  Brilliant ruby red, aged in American white oak barrels.  Definitely got the aroma of tobacco and spice.  Served with gildas of shrimp & olive + Majool date stuffed with spinach, blue cheese and walnut.  Elizabeth

Bierzo Petalos, 2008, Spain - my personal favourite wine discovery of 2010.  Served with Spanish cheeses, tortas and chorizo.   Diane

Indian Summer, Cave Spring Select Late Harvest Riesling 2006 Ontario ... selectively hand-harvested and pressed in a semi-frozen state.  Looks like amber, tastes like honey.  Served with a selection of sharp cheeses.  Nicolette

Gekkeikan Japanese Plum Wine Most of us hadn't sampled this before and it was unanimously enjoyed.   Served with chocolate covered candied ginger and trifle in wine glasses.  The perfect finish to a decadent afternoon.   Debra

If popularity is any measure of the tasting favourites, the first bottle to entirely disappear was the Rioja, followed by the Anselmi and then the Japanese Plum Wine. 

photo credit:  Oak King

1 comment:

Diane said...

here is the recipe for the Spice Trifle, courtesy Debra:


6- 1/2 inch slices of Jamaican Spice Loaf (crust off) spread with Ginger Conserve making 3 sandwiches and then cut into small squares

500 ml of whipping cream, whipped with
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of Plum Wine (add at the end of whipping)
1/8 teaspoon of ground clove
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamon

2 plums cut into small slices

4 small juice oranges cut into segments with a few tablespoons of juice

1/2 jar of sour cherries in a light syrup with a few tablespoons of light syrup

about 2-2 1/2 cups of vanilla custard made ahead and cooled

about 4 tablespoons of plum wine to sprinkle on the spice loaf

about 4 tablespoons of sliced almonds toasted and cooled


Place equal portions of the spice loaf/ginger conserve squares in the bottom of 11-12 wine glasses or into a Trifle bowl and sprinkle with plum wine until moist.

Layer orange segments with juice, plum pieces and cherries with syrup over the loaf.

Layer vanilla custard over the fruit.

Layer whipped cream mixture on top.

Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Of course you can make variations in the spices and percentages in the layers according to your own taste.