Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year's Dinner with Mr. D.

If memory serves me right, I started last year off with a bit of a run in a quest to start that inevitable new year's resolution to keep the pounds off. This year, I didn't even pretend. I just stuck it out at home and then started eating the rich stuff. Mr. D. knew that Boo had to work again tonight and, since he was already having Big Logan and Syd over for dinner, he asked me to tag along.

Dinner and another couple wines for The List. Seems like a good start to a new year to me.

697. N.V. Martini Asti (DOCG Asti - Italy)

Admit it, you're probably a lot like me. If someone were to bring along a bottle Asti Spumonte to your place, you'd probably wonder what possessed them. Do they know nothing about wine? I tended to think of Asti as one of those high school wines that you snuck to a party - along with Baby Duck and Lonesome Charlie or the Lemon Gin. A couple years back, however, I was challenged to give Martini Asti another chance. Thing is, we tasted it blind and the consensus was that there was nothing wrong with it at all - for what it is. A bright, sweet(er) bit of bubble.

It appears that, with all the modernization and changes in the world of wine, the Martini & Rossi company realized that they needed to up their game and, as a result, their biggest, and best known, wine can be taken more seriously nowadays. I still doubt that it will ever challenge its sparkling brethren like Champagne, Cava or even Prosecco, but it will definitely have its place.

Certainly, it's taken seriously enough by the Italian wine cognoscente. The region is designated a D.O.C.G - an even higher quality ranking than the standard D.O.C. Asti is named after the town that is the centre of the region where the wine is made and its floral, fruity characteristics come from the Moscato Bianco grape.

What else can I say? Not much since I brought it.

698. 2009 Finca Los Primos Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

Our second bottle for the evening was one that's seen a different vintage already added to The List (some time ago at #215).

Finca Los Primos is produced by Valentin Bianchi in the San Rafael Valley in Mendoza. Chances are that Boo and I passed by within spitting distance of the winery when we were in Mendoza back in October, but we didn't have any chance to visit - and, to be honest, I don't even know which part of Mendoza was called San Rafael. Since we weren't driving ourselves anywhere, I just found all the different sub-regions to be a tad confusing. One just blended right into the next. Oh well, maybe if we get back there some day.

The Finca Los Primos brand was created and designed specifically for the Canadian market by Bianchi's importers, the Delf Group. They must be doing something right with it because this Malbec is one of the - if not the - best selling Argentine Malbecs in BC. At $11, the price probably doesn't hurt. The popularity of this Malbec in the market is highlighted in that, on both occasions when the wine has been added to The List, it was brought to a dinner party by one of the guests.

As much as a resolution to get invited to dinner more often this year - so that I can add more bottles to The List and finish this task of a blog challenge - seems like a good idea, I think I might be better off, in the long run, to put the running shoes back on and hit the pavement. Something tells me the wine might win if push comes to shove though.

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