Last weekend was the second iteration of our friendly little wine and food club. As my wife and I were hosts last time the dessert duty was passed to us this month, as the previous dessert chefs moved to the appetizer course, and the entree and hosting duties were taken up by the previous appetizer chefs. Our new appetizer chefs W & D had just recently taken up home cheese making and so we were treated to a delicious homemade eggplant and paneer curry paired with the highly-awarded Pentâge Gewurztraminer 2009. Having just received a Lt. Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines plus a Gold Medal in the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships, this Gewurztraminer did not disappoint in the flavour department. Not only did delectable aromas of oranges and lychee fill the air above our glasses, but the flavour was a perfect complement to the curry dish. We were all very impressed with Pentage and I’ll have to keep a close eye on them in the future: they have a very large repertoire of wines so it may take me some time to work my way through them!
As the aromas of our entree course began to fill the air all eyes were drawn to the deep red hue of something special in the decanter on the buffet: our hosts B & L proudly revealed a bottle of Hillside 2002 Mosaic. Considering I’ve only began seriously collecting our fine BC wines in the past couple of years, I have nothing in my collection from such a far-removed vintage; the chance to try a well-aged Naramata-bench red was tantalizing indeed! As our plates were graced by a beautiful mushroom risotto with sautéed cherry tomatoes and asparagus we collectively relished the aromas coming from our glasses as the Mosaic was poured. This Bordeaux blend had been bottle aging for nearly seven years and the texture was silky smooth, with aromas and flavours almost unnervingly well-matched to the risotto. I was quite amazed at the earthy mushroom aromas that paralleled the dish in front of us, and murmurs of pleasure and sighs of contentment filled the room as we dug into our meal.
After some seconds of risotto by at least one of us (how could I resist half-a-dozen different kinds of mushrooms?!) we took time to consider the dessert wine I had brought: Cherry Point Cowichan Blackberry. Although I had initially expected traditional grape wines to be focus of this club, I had already become the first to break out of the box with something different. Some wild blackberries I had picked last fall were still doing quite well in the freezer, but I felt the time was right for blackberry squares, and what better an accompaniment than their namesake wine. Cowichan Blackberry comes to us from Vancouver Island, where ripe wild blackberries are transformed into what we discovered is a smooth and well-balanced dessert wine, that despite one’s expectations is just sufficiently off-dry as to avoid perceptions of syrupiness. Of course the wine and squares paired quite nicely, and we all enjoyed trying blackberry wine for the first time. It was the end of another successful evening, in which we all got to be the stars: my thanks once again to my adventurous friends for embracing this concept so whole-heartedly!