Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Divine Dinner

Since we hadn't been able to get together for awhile, Beamer and The Divine Miss M invited us over for dinner. The Divine One wanted to try out a couple of new recipes - and she knew that we eat anything and everything...if there's plenty of wine to go around.

As if we'd ever need to worry about any such situation (be it the menu or the availability of the grape).

The first bottle of the night is one that's already on The List though (#449). Consequently, we got to enjoy it but we don't get to give it a new number.

2009 Laughing Stock Viognier (VQA Okanagan Valley)

This Viognier was actually added during a dinner with these guys earlier in the year. Beamer and Miss M are often our best source (after the winery) for Laughing Stock. Beamer has a decent portfolio of their wines - be it the premium Portfolio or one of their other stock options. It was good of them to offer up this bottle though because it's highly touted and is quite difficult to get ahold of.

We know that The Divine Miss M. is particularly fond of her white wines. So, we thought that we'd bring along a little reminder of our recent trip to Argentina. We didn't bring this bottle back with us but we managed to locate a bottle - even though the varietal is hardly a common find on local shelves.

640. Bodega Norton Lo Tengo Torrontes (Mendoza - Argentina)

Although we brought this wine (along with some photos) as a tip to the Argentina vacation, we didn't try it or anything else from Norton while we were there. The Lo Tengo brand is strictly for export - or so it seems. The winery has a number of lines - some strictly for homeland consumption and some for the rest of the world. Lo Tengo may be more of an introductory label but the Torrontes is both sufficiently different and tasty to make it worth the $12.

The Torrontes grape is pretty much specific to Argentina when it comes to wine - at least at the present. It is apparently also used in Chile to make Pisco but that's a whole other ballgame. The varietal is a cross of Mission, the old sacramental wine workhorse grape of Franciscan missionaries and Muscat of Alexandria. It's primarily know for its aromatics and low acidity.

This was the first time that Miss M had tried it and she was an easy sell.

641. 2003 Fairview Cellars Bear's Meritage (VQA Okanagan Valley)

As much as The Divine Miss M likes her white, Beamer saves most of his excitement for big reds (when he's not still reminiscing over the many beers that he's loved in his life). We thought pulling out the Bear's Meritage would be a good fit. It comes from one of the best known winemakers - and biggest characters - in the Valley.

I've known of Bill Eggert and Fairview's wines for many a year now - and have down a few as well - but I've never actually made it to his tasting room despite the fact that I know we must have driven by its entrance on the Golden Mile on more than a couple of occasions. We've even specifically tried to locate the winery - to no avail - but we have GPS now and I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to get Boo to loosen the "No Buy Leash" a bit when we finally make it there.

As I'd have expected the the Bordeaux blend quickly disappeared with the individual meat pies that we dined on. I left the bottle behind, so I wasn't able to see if it mentioned the actual blend. I'm pretty sure (knowing a bit about Fairview's other wines) that it would likely have been predominantly Cab Sauv and Merlot based with a bit of Cab Franc. The current '08 vintage has small amounts of Malbec and Petit Verdot as well but I don't know if they were part of the mix back in '03.

The bottle went quickly enough that we were "forced" to open another bottle. What a terrible situation to find ourselves in.

642. 2007 Paso Creek Zinfandel (Paso Robles - California)

I mentioned that Beamer likes a big red; well, he pulled out a California Zin to finish off both us and the evening. I don't tend to drink a lot of US wine because I don't like what seems to happen to the price as soon as a bottle crosses the 49th Parallel, but I have to agree with Beamer that you have to give in every so often to assuage the need for some Zin. I think Beamer discovered the Paso Creek at this year's California Wine Fair - and the fact that it comes in at under $20, even North of the border makes it a good bet that we'll remember it for future dinners.

All in all, a great night for wine, conversation and new recipes. I could be talked into this more often. Easily.

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