Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Latin Heat

Following last night's tastes from South of the border, we found ourselves dining on similar flavours for the second night in a row when we were invited for dinner with the Mud Babes.

Dr. Dirt and I go back many a year, having cut many a rug and downed more than a few cooling libations during days at the Deke House. She just kept on with the university life a tad longer and got her doctorate in soil sciences/geography - giving a whole new meaning to the term "dirty blonde." Through the years, we'll see a fair bit of each other and then it'll go for a stretch where our paths just don't seem to cross. No matter how long in between meetings, I always know that our's is a friendship that just picks up where it left off. Adding to that, we seem to have independently solidified the reason to stay friends when we each found that the other had graduated to wine as the drink of choice.

Another welcome addition to the friendship was the introduction of Isotopos, a fiery latina that Dr. Dirt met while working in Colombia. The dinner was a celebration of the fact that Isotopos had just finished defending her doctoral paper in water sciences.

Dirt. Water. You should understand the reference to "Mud Babes" now.

Isotopos was the chef de cuisine and she treated us to an earthier menu than the evening before. She cooked up some of her favourites dishes from the home table back in Colombia. And was it good!! Ceviche, fried plaintain, meatballs, guacamole. Yumm. Luckily, the wines were just as tasty.

96. 2003 Evans & Tate The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River - Australia)

Here, we're talking the Margaret River that I love so much. Dr. Dirt and I had both run to buy some of this E&T when we tasted it at the 2008 Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. It seemed like a no-brainer to bring along a bottle and finally open it with them. No muddy taste on this palate though. I've talked some about E&T on a previous entry, so I won't go on about it or Margaret River. I'm just glad I still have a couple of bottles of this for the future - even if they're the same vintage and won't be "eligible" as "unique" additions to The List.

97. 2003 Bodega Weinert Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

Since it didn't take long to finish off the cab, Dr. Dirt proposed a couple further options and we decided to go with the Malbec. I'd never heard of Bodega Weinert before and
I didn't quite know what to expect as the name didn't exactly sound like a common name on the Pampas.

A little surfing on the net after the fact kept the surprises coming. Although Weinert is not one of the biggest producers in Argentina, it has been called "the best producer in Argentina." The people behind the winery are "almost legends for their quality." Even Robert Parker (love him or hate him) has been quoted as saying that "Bodega Weinert is producing South America's greatest red wines - the qualitative equals of the best in the world." Heady praise, indeed.

This evening's wine wasn't the winery's flagship that earns the greatest platitudes, but it definitely showed why Argentina is seen as the starting point for all things "Malbec." This wine made it easy to understand why Malbec is called the raison d'etre for Mendoza.

Although Bodega Weinert's first commercial vintage was in 1976, the winery itself dates from the 1800's. The Weinert family, Brazilian immigrants of German stock, bought the old, dilapidated winery in the 1970's and immediately started on a renovation and modernization that moved it to the forefront of Argentine winemaking. This was a time long before the Argentine had started to hit the export shelves of the world and many of the locals thought that the new owners were loco.

I should have asked Dr. Dirt where she found the bottle because no Weinert wines show as listings with the government liquor stores. Hopefully, the winery's presence will be felt at next year's Playhouse Festival since Argentina is one of the two featured regions.

As if to cap off the fine food and wine, we were treated to a huge rainbow. With this shot from the balcony, you can see that it's a double rainbow. What you can't see is that it was a full arc - we could see an entire semi-circle of colour.

A great evening all around.

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