Tuesday, December 31, 2013

PAIRING: More than 2 Together?

Bright sunlight, clear skies and a neat garden made the lunch special.  We sat on the comfort of the deck, around our Summer table, although it was mild and late November!  Fettuccine Carbonara and a garden salad with a mild citrus vinaigrette danced here with an inexpensive White Burgundy from the 2009 harvest, still its briny acidity dancing in the mouth.
Anderson Valley AVA Hilltop

It had blossomed into a celebration of sorts.  A strong recovery after a serious illness is a good reason to celebrate, particularly when being in the Thanksgiving mood.  The Society of Wine Educators also had recently given their official approval of my examination of Wine Faults & Imbalances, thereby allowing progress to the Presentation Skills Demonstration.  The journey's end may be near, and that too is a reason to celebrate.  It is the Season, after all.

Refreshing Riesling likes acid, salt and oily pairings.
Merchandising, those Holiday parties, and the general euphoria of the good cheer expressed by friends, by family, and even by strangers, are the hallmarks of the weeks that followed.  It is the Season, after all.  Even as we were surrounded by the warmth of well wishers, my focus continued to return to the urgent need to submit a declared subject and an outline to the Society for my Presentation Skill video exam. One of six(6) subjects were available at this time, and I found myself only considering those that I thought that I had some confident command over.  But, the more I read about Carbonic Maturation, or the Wines of Sicily, or even White Burgundy, the more unsettled or unsure I found myself.

Demonstrating command of the subject matter with the ability to coherently present understandable details about the uniqueness of Chablis, or the white Aligonte' grape would certainly make Burgundy interesting. And the idea of being able to practically convey a fermentation inside of a grape berry, as is the case with carbonic maturation, actually made my head hurt a bit. Alternatively, having more than 3000 years of winemaking history, the paradise that is Sicily was definitely a ripe subject to consider.  Most wine drinkers have probably heard of its fortified Marsala, but what about the islands prominent red, Nerello Mascalese or even Frappato? I would have to declare a choice and develop an outline soon, but which one?

Those closest to me say that I work well under deadlines, and that is exactly what I have created.  The Society will offer new subject matter choices in February, but I really do not want to delay this attempt at advancing my Certification.  At this point, the production of the video seminar is still in the distance, but it does little harm to put energy into lining up a videographer, a production setting and an audience of at least six(6) supporters.  It does little harm, I think, to put those carrots in front of this horse.  Our newly launched service web site: www.your-wine-guy.net, is just one of those hopefully positive influences that will move this quest for certification forward.

As much as we look forward, this is also the time of year when we look back. As I reviewed our 2013 wine impressions, there were a few notables that stood out as being some of the best wines enjoyed this year.  All of our wine samplings will be found on the popular wine lovers site: http://www.snooth.com/my-wines/InWineTruth
In no particular order, the standouts for the year include two French and two Spanish treasures:

  • Resso Garnacha Blanca 2011 from Spain was a delight, with its lively, tart
         fruit body and racy acidity it was a wonderful lunch time, a chicken and seafood

  • Mayor de Ondarre 'Reserve' 2006, also from Spain(Rioja), proved to be everything we wanted in a rich, food-friendly red wine.  It has ripe, dusty black tree fruit character with candied spices that linger with an integrated length on the palate; perfect for what we braised or smoked because of its firm structure and earthy richness.

  •  Domaine du Garde Temps Rose' Tourbillon 2011, produced in southern France, proved to be a delight, with wispy, lively white strawberry and Rainer cherry notes and a very long bright finish.  A terrific sipper from the land of rose' that worked with summer salads and Cajun fried chicken. Yum!

  • Pierre Sparr Cre'mant d'Alsace Brut Rose; gorgeous strawberry and white cherry notes dance across the palate with balanced acidity.  Stop the bus, what a terrific traditional method sparkling wine that pairs with almost everything!

    These wines were so food friendly, enhancing the meals by either a complement or a contrast to each dish.  Each side dish placed the notes differently(as they should), but each added to the flavors and the enjoyment of the meal.  With good times, or lovingly prepared food or good friends and good value wines, it is always the perfect pairing when we can get more than two(2) together!

    Happy New Year, and Salute!