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|
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