Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mexican Cooking Class

A month ago or so, I blogged a couple of wines that we finished off at our neighbour, GatuBela's, Mexican Cat Dance - her annual fundraiser. It's taken us awhile but we finally worked out a night to make use of one of the silent auction items we won at last year's party. Our winning bid had garnered us an "at home" Mexican cooking class with one of her chef friends but we hadn't been able to queue it up yet. GatuBela was getting ready to head back to Mexico for the winter; so, it was now or potentially never.

We invited Mr. D. and Tyrant to come over and join up with us for a bit of fun and frivolity - and, naturally, wine and booze. Seeing as how it was to be a Mexican cooking class, GatuBela offered to mix up her trademark Margaritas to start off the evening. After a decade of annual pilgrimages, you get to be bit a bit of star when it comes to tequila. We'd have been fools not to take her up on her offer and I'm pleased to say that, as far as guest alcohols to this blog go, GatuBela's margaritas take second place to none. Her shaking and her squeezing arm was put to great use. Good thing she'd taken in a few Boot Camp classes prior to the dinner.

The plan was to put each of the guests to work in the kitchen to assist in the preparation of one of the dishes. Some of us got off easier than others in terms of the degree of difficulty in our skills that were called upon. Mr. D., indeed, had to mix things up, but not so much that he couldn't still pose and look pretty.

Despite the guest appearance by our frenemy, tequila, we still managed to throw a couple bottles of wine into the mix. Believe me, I don't do nights of endless tequila anymore. Some memories of university days haunt me to this day.

967. 2010 Luis Felipe Edwards Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)

Both dinner guests arrived with wine in hand, but both admitted that they'd had no luck in locating a Mexican wine despite trying. Mr. D. brought along this Chilean bottle and because he thought that "at least the winemaker still speaks Spanish." Funny that we drank Chilean last night and I commented on how Boo and I don't pop too many Chilean corks.

True to Chile's and my relationship, I don't really know this producer but the Signature Series simply shows up on the winery website as a label that they produce for specific markets. The winery now has a capacity of up to 25 million litres; so, my guess is they can put out a number of labels if they want to. I did see that this particular label only shows up in private stores in the Vancouver market and that Marquis Cellars calls it a "perfect party wine."

It certainly went nicely with our ceviche. Maybe not so well with the watermelon cup that was fashioned but, then again, who chooses a wine to go with the dishes and cutlery?

I think we might have "put" Tyrant to the most work during the "class" portion of the evening - but then we knew we could trust him, if anyone, with the empanada filling. We continually trust his taste in wine; so, why not leave the main course in his hands. That was, so long as we kept a glass of wine in his hands at the same time (I mean when the recipe wasn't there).

968. 2004 L.A. Cetto Private Reserve Nebbiolo (Valle de Guadelupe - Baja California - Mexico)

There aren't a lot of Mexican wines in our market. Then again, are there many Mexican wines in any market outside of Mexico itself? I did, however, pick up this bottle a couple of years ago at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. At the time, I thought a Mexican Nebbiolo was about as wild of a find as there was - but, you know, it tasted good at the Festival and it still tasted good here. Everyone was downright shocked at just how tasty it was. If memory serves though, this was a pretty high end bottle for the winery and it clocked in at about $30 - not exactly a throwaway price for a wine you likely know nothing about from an unlikely source.

As difficult as it might be to find Mexican wine in our market though, if you're going to find one, there's a pretty good chance that it will be an L.A. Cetto bottle. I've previously added three Mexican wines to The List (some time ago at #'s 250 and 436) and two of them were from L.A. Cetto. I think on each of those earlier occasions, I'd specifically gone out looking for the bottles - because one was for Cinqo de Mayo and the other was for a Day of the Dead celebration.

Seems we don't tend to drink a lot of Mexican wine on an everyday basis. I can tell you that, if it was all as good as this Nebbiolo, I'd be inclined to drink a lot more.

It was probably a good thing that there was only one bottle of the Nebbiolo to be had tonight though. That wine would have kept going down easily, but it was a school night and an early morning wake up call after all. Between the tequila and the wine and the tasty food, we were all in fine spirits. The test is going to be to remember what the recipes were and all the little tips that were passed along and quickly forgotten.

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