Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your conversations may be scintillating, but my book club can drink your book club under the table - Winter Solstice Wine Tasting 2011

Some of my fellow book lovers came over to my place to celebrate the Winter Solstice with a memorable wine-tasting.

"Wine is sunlight,
held together by water."
- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

The theme was Italian.  Grapes from Tuscany, Piedmont, Sicily - with a surprising majority from Veneto... at least 4 of 10 bottles.
"When it comes to wine, I tell people to throw away the vintage charts and invest in a corkscrew.  The best way to learn about wine is the drinking."
- Alexis Lichine
I learned a few things:  It is more than probable that Shiraz/Sirah originated from Sicily (Syracuse); Italy has more than 2000 grape varietals; and frozen grapes are an absolutely decadent treat!

So life's year begins and closes
Days though shortening still can shine
What though youth gave love and roses
Age still leaves us friends and wine.
- Thomas More
This was my 4th annual Winter Solstice tasting, with some new faces joining the table for the first time.

Different people voiced different favourites and I admit I was at times surprised.  Preference is such a personal thing. Even the naming of things... how can we be sure we all taste the same vanilla, raspberry or pepper flavours?
"There are no standards of taste in wine, cigars, poetry, prose, etc.  Each man's own taste is the standard, and a majority vote cannot decide for him or in any slightest degree affect the supremacy of his own standards."
- Mark Twain 1895

Here are the bottles and pairings for future reference:

  • Prosecco Superiore,  Santa Margherita, Valdobbiadene, Brut; with chevre wrapped in prosciutto around breadsticks, served with fresh figs Kaarinna 
  • Prosecco Superiore, San Fermo, Bellenda, Valdobbiadene, Brut; pizza topped with carmelized onions, mushrooms and roasted pepper Niki
  • Pinot Grigio, Santepietre, Lamberti, Delle Venezie, 2010; smoked salmon topped with dill and lemon on crostini Wendy
  • Anselmi, San Vincenzo, 2010; with Lincolnshire Poacher cheese Christina
  • Shymer, Syrah-Merlot, Sicilia (Baglio di Pianetto), 2008; with meatballs and sauce cooked in Sicilian style Annika
  • Sangiovese Merlot, Puglia, Mezzomondo; with lasagna Grace
  • Serego Alighieri in Toscano, Toscano, 2008 (Bello Ovile); with shaved chocolate Brix Laura
  • Valpolicella Classico, 2006 (Cantina di Negrar); with shrimp Nicolette
  • Valpolicella Superiore, Ripasso, 2009 (Cesari); with bocconcini tossed in garlic scape pesto fresh from Jimmy's garden! and fresh fruit kabobs Carolyn
  • Barolo, La Pieve (2005) Dogliani; with Testun Al Barolo cheese and frozen grapes Diane
While waiting for designated drivers to show, we sipped Monte Antico, Toscano (sangiovese, merlot, cabernet savignon).


Kurt said...

When we were in Portugal, we had a great bottle of red Vinho Verde, and when we got home to the US, not only could we not find any, but we were told there was no such thing, that Vinho Verde is a white wine. Ha! I finally found a bottle the other day. Success!

Giulia said...


OK, you win:)


Carô said...

Hey details... bocconcini tossed in garlic scape pesto from Jimmy's garden! Great blog. Thank you for listing the wines. I forgot my paperwork on top of your fridge ;-)

Joyeux Noël to you and yours!

Diane said...

ok i added the details! will bring the notes when I see you next.