Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Reported by: Dana Barnett
Disclaimer: As a new member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild and a self-professed “wannabe” Sommelier, you’ll have to excuse the vernacular used in this article. I’ll try to speak from the official (no doubt approved by someone impressive) wine tasting glossary when the word comes to me, but will defer to whatever I wrote down at the time of tasting for the rest.
On Tuesday, October 12, female members, female friends of members and female friends of friends of members of the Guild (a bunch of women), attended a wine tasting at the chic Urban Element on Parkdale. About 25 of us were treated to two appetizers and one dessert that were accompanied by select wines from the Cave Spring Cellars family of wines.
We were greeted by Cave Springs representative, Lauren Hayes, who provided us with a yummy (I warned you) glass of Dolomite Brut 2006. I was not surprised to learn that this sparkling Chardonnay won a Cuvée Gold designation this year from the wine industry (yes, I have access to Google). I am not normally a fan of sparking wine, but this won me over with its crisp green apple presence and long soft finish.
After a brief reception, we were ushered over to the kitchen area in The Urban Element where, if you have not yet been, is an experience just to see. The web site describes it as “a place where you can gather to learn, explore, play and indulge in a unique and inspiring food-centric environment. Words like “chic” and “cool” come to mind as you take in all the stainless steel, exposed brick and high ceilings. Sitting in this environment, you feel like a chef by osmosis. It’s hard to believe this building was once a fire station! Owner Carley Schelck was our gracious host and the food was prepared by Chef Candice Butler. We sat around the food preparation area and watched in awe as Candice put the finishing touches on her Salmon Gravlax, delicately assembling bite sized portions on chive biscuits. In a word, heavenly! I expected Lauren to choose a white to accompany the salmon and I suspected it would be a Chardonnay, but I wasn’t expecting the Chardonnay Estate 2006 to chase the salmon with such perfection. I think for a brief moment, the women in the room forgot about how good chocolate really is. Produced from the oldest, lowest-yielding vines at Cave Springs, this wine has been described as “everything you look for in an excellent Chardonnay”. And it really is with its mouth-filling buttery texture and fruit forward taste. Despite a few comments about the serving temperature (it could have been better chilled), everyone seemed to agree that it was delightful.
Next we were treated to some mouthwatering pulled pork, served on a light cheese pastry. I didn’t think it was possible, but Candice exceeded my heightened expectations after that fantastic salmon. Lauren poured a glass of Dolomite Pinot Noir 2008 and, though not personally a fan of cool climate reds, I found it very enjoyable and an excellent compliment to the pork. The cherry flavour was dominant and the tannins were soft. Overall I could see this being a nice light sipping wine.
Last, but never least, was the desert. What could be more perfect than Crème Brulee? Nothing, I say. We watched as Chef Candice caramelized each individual serving and then we savoured every delicious mouthful. Lauren chose Cave Spring’s Indian Summer Riesling 2007 to complement it and it served its purpose well. Apparently this late harvest was a happy accident, made from grapes that were intended for ice wine but harvested one evening when the stubborn wind chill would not dip to the forecasted (and required) – 10C. I smelled apricot and tasted pear with this one—a wonderful combination and a wonderful “finish” to the evening.
Cave Spring Cellars Dolomite Brut 2006
Cave Spring Cellars Chardonnay Estate 2006 with Gravlax Canapes
Cave Spring Cellars Dolomite Pinot Noir 2008 with Pulled Pork Gougeres
Cave Spring Cellars Indian Summer Riesling 2007 with Creme Brulee