Saturday, October 9, 2010

Capital Fish Sins

As mentioned in the previous post, we only have time for a passing visit in Lima. During our tour of the "City of Kings," both Boo and I were surprised to learn that metro Lima is a city of eight and half million souls - and that's in a country that has a total population of approximately 29 million.

With only an afternoon to spare, there wasn't much of an opportunity to discover the city's treasures. We did, however, manage quick visits to - and particularly enjoyed - the historic centre and its beautiful plazas and churches. The centre was declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 1988 and I loved the fact that even McDonalds and KFC have to abide by the architectural and colour restrictions. If you weren't looking specifically for them, you likely wouldn't have noticed they were even there. I won't even go into how excited Boo was in the Cathedral of Lima and the catacombs under the Monastery of San Francisco. Wandering through the catacombs with its skulls and bones neatly laid out to form geometric designs is right up his alley.

Lima is also known as a culinary capital in the Americas. I would have loved more time to check out the food and wine, but we'd only get the one opportunity. After a couple Pisco Sours at our hotel, we ventured out to discover some of the city's renowned ceviche. A bit of buzz led us to Pescadores Capitales. Specializing in fish ("pescadores"), the restaurant shows a definite sense of humour. Its name is a play on "Pecadores Capitales" or "deadly sins" - and its menu was broken up into "little sins" and "big sins."

It might have been considered a "little sin"-ful, but there would be no chance that Boo would pass up on a calamari dish. The fact that it was served in a manner that wouldn't be readily available at home was just a bonus.

With all the seafood that was going to show up at our table, it seemed sensible to order up a bottle of white. The wine list hardly featured an extensive selection of Peruvian wines; however, there was one that caught my eye and, just as Boo jumps for calamari, I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity for another local wine.

610. 2009 Santiago Queirolo - Intipalka Sauvignon Blanc (Ica Valley - Peru)

Santiago Queriolo has a history well steeped in Pisco; however, with the turn of the 21st Century, the company started a project to produce a fine, still wine. They purchased land to start the new vineyards in 2003 and the wines are now found on the Peruvian shelves and wine lists and, apparently, in a few foreign markets.

The Intipalka name was chosen to emphasize the winery's Peruvian background. In the indigenous language of the Incan Empire, Quechua, "Intipalka" means "Valley of the Sun" and the primary vineyards are located in the Ica Valley at the foot of the Andes.

Like the Tacama wine that we sipped on at lunch, I was pleasantly surprised by the Sauvignon Blanc. It matched very nicely with our dinners and had a nice balance. It was neither too grassy (like some Kiwi wines), nor so acidic or steely that the fruit didn't shine through. I liked the fact that it wasn't all citrus on the palate as well.

I'm starting to think that there's more hope for Peruvian wines than I was led to believe originally. I believe the wine sells for about $10 retail in Peru - which isn't exactly inexpensive down here - but I think it could find a market back in Vancouver if they could bring it in at a somewhat similar price. Not that much can ever be sold at that price in Vancouver.

I'm actually hoping to run across a few more Peruvian wines on our upcoming stops.

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