Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An xtrèm Riesling & The Fish House

Boo and I had a certificate for the landmark Fish House restaurant in Stanley Park. So, we decided to take a bit of an evening walk along the Seawall and end it with dinner. Except for an Australian Wine Appreciation Society dinner that was held here a few years back (and that was in their banquet room), I haven't been here other than for brunch maybe 15 years ago. I didn't even know that Curtis Demyon had replaced Karen Barnaby as executive chef. She's been synonymous with the Fish House for so long, the thought of her not being there had never occurred to me. Obviously, it hasn't been my patronage that's kept them in business for over two decades.

1484.  2011 Pierre Sparr - extrèm Riesling (Alsace - France)

Surprise. Surprise. We went with a Riesling. I mean, come on, with "Fish" in the restaurant's name, and my being a bona fide Riesling buff, was there really any other choice?

I will admit that I'm more familiar with Pierre Sparr as a winery than I am with their wines. I think of them as one of the primary Alsatian producers that we see in the Vancouver market, but I can't say that I've had many of their wines. Indeed, it's even quite rare when we drink a bottle of Alsace wine. A quick search of the blog shows that this will only be the seventh Alsatian wine that I'm adding to The List as we almost hit the three-quarters way mark. It's not that I don't enjoy Alsace wines, I just don't really know them that well. I suppose that 1) they tend (at least to my knowledge) to be rather price-y in our market and that 2) the Alsatian varietal wines primarily feature the same grapes - like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc - as our homegrown BC wineries do such a good job with. As such, it might just be easier to grab a BC bottle since we always have some on hand.

I'm willing to give anyone a chance if they're producing a tasty Riesling though - regardless of from whence it comes. And, this was one tasty sip of Riesling. Full of bright citrus and steely acidity, our bottle was disappearing far faster than our dinner was arriving. It took a great deal of will power to keep some wine in the glass so that we'd have something left for our mains of truffled prawns and pork cheek ragu. Unfortunately, the bottle was long finished by the time our passionfruit ganache with compressed pineapple arrived, but I think it would have been perfection.

Seeing as how this is the first Pierre Sparr wine that I'm adding to The List, I should mention that the Sparr family's origins in the wine industry were as early as 1680. The family vineyards were planted during the 18th century and Sparr has been selling wine commercially since the 1860's  The family's ninth generation is currently involved with winery operations. Something tells me they've had a little time to get this wine thing down.

This extrèm Riesling is one of a small range of wines where the winery is experimenting with modern labelling and offering a wine at a more economical price. In a move that is quite distanced from the traditional marketing of Alsatian wines, this line of wines is also under screwcap - something that is far from common among quality French producers.

If all Sparr - or Alsace - wines are like this one, I need to get me a few more. Whether we're having seafood or not.

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