Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Reported by Michael Lewis
Greeted by a glass of Torre Oria Reserva Brut Cava, Guild members and their guests enjoyed a delightful evening of food pairings and conversation at Algonquin College’s Restaurant International. Similar to the last experience at Restaurant International, guests enjoyed four courses of small plates creatively paired with four flights of wine. The evening was a tremendous value.
Guild Director Sean O’Regan, guided the group through the evening, exploring favorite pairings and tasting notes.
Course 1: Starter
We started with two appetizers: a vegetable terrine served with crostini and a Cumberland sauce pulled pork slider with cabbage coleslaw.
The first wine of the starter flight was a 2012 Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbe’s Pinot Gris. Rated 89 points by winespectator.com, this medium dry Pinot Gris flight had notes of apple, pear, and peach. This was the favorite of the flight and paired best with the vegetable terrine.
The second wine poured was a 2012 Gamay Noir from Oak Bay located in the Okanagan Valley. The nose had pepper, cherry, and plum notes with berries, pepper, and a pleasant minerality on the palate. Rated 90 points by winealign.com, this was the second favorite wine of the flight and paired best with the pulled pork sliders.
The final wine of the flight was a 2012 Cabernet Franc from Featherstone. Lots of red fruit on the nose with dark cherry, plum, cigar, and a little bit of green pepper on the palate.
Course 2: Soup
The second course consisted of two soups: a beef consommé au sherry with a spinach filled wonton and a butternut squash soup. As an aside, the butternut squash was phenomenal. My guest managed to talk the kitchen into selling her two containers at the end of the night which I enjoyed for lunch the following two days.
The first wine of the second flight was the 2013 Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet. Sean’s creativity shone through when choosing this uncommon varietal (Picpoul Blanc) as many in attendance, including myself, were first time Picpoul Blanc enjoyers. The nose was floral with notes of grapefruit and minerality. The palate was crisp with pleasant acidity and minerality. Although this wine was the least favorite of the flight, it was the favorite pairing with the beef consummé and it was a fun opportunity to try something out of the ordinary.
The second wine was a Henry of Pehlam Cuvée Catherine Rosé Brut. The nose was strawberry and lemon curd with apple, strawberry, and rhubarb on the palate. Those in attendance ranked it second favorite of the flight and it was the second favorite pairing for both soups.
The third wine was a 2012 Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) from Clos le Vigneau. It had excellent mouth feel and texture and a long mineral finish. It was slightly off dry and was chosen as the favorite of the flight as well as the favorite pairing for the butternut squash soup. Nathalie MacLean rated this wine at 91 points.
Course 3: Main
The third and main course was phenomenal. It included: a pan fried perogi with cheddar and potato filling, pickerel wrapped in rice paper with saffron butter sauce and citrus salsa, pheasant ballontine with pistachios, mushroom, and marsala, and finally roasted pork loin with apple chutney.
The first wine of this flight was a 2011 Riesling produced by Domaines Schlumberger Saering. Winespectator.com rated this wine a 93 and it did not disappoint with grapefruit, honey, fresh baked bread, and some white pepper on the palate. This was the second favorite wine of the flight (although only receiving two out of a possible 22 votes) and was the second favorite pairing with the pork loin.
The second wine was the 2012 Anselmann Edesheimer Ordensgut Weissburgunder Kabinett Trocken (say that three times quickly while munching on a perogi!). This Pinot Blanc had loads of pear, citrus, and apple on the nose with crisp acid and flavours of pineapple and tropical fruit on the palate. It paired well with the pickerel but was the least favorite of the flight and pairings.
The third wine was Meyer Family Vinyard’s 2012 Pinot Noir. It was nearly unanimously the favorite of the flight and was the favorite pairing for the pork loin and pheasant. The nose exhibited ripe cherry, raspberry, with hints of clove and some minerality. The palate was layered with well balanced acid, cherry, raspberry, and red fruit flavours.
Course 4: Dessert
The final treat of the evening was the dessert course which included an apricot glazed apple tart tatin and dark chocolate pave with vanilla ice cream. Sean once again showed his creative side, deviating from the expected, serving one wine and two surprises.
The first and only wine of the flight was a 10 year old Tawny from Quinta de Santa Eufemia. This sweet tawny had notes of dried fruit and caramel. While all three offerings in the flight appealed almost equally to all, the Quinta de Santa was the overall preferred pairing.
The first mystery beverage of the flight was a 2008 Ice Cider from Leduc-Piedimonte. Produced in Quebec this sweet treat had strong apple notes and a very thick mouth feel. Of the flight it was the least favorite but only by a single vote. If you’re looking for an alternative to iced wine, this cider is worth trying.
The final beverage of the flight had nearly everyone in attendance wondering with guesses ranging from Henessy to Bourbon. Sean’s final trick of the evening was a 12 year old rum from El Dorado. The nose had buttery, molasses notes while the palate presented spice, caramel and butterscotch with some sweet orange rind. The El Dorado was the favorite of the flight with the pave.
The Guild’s second event at Restaurant International was a resounding success. From the top notch food offerings, to the relaxed atmosphere and good conversation, to Sean’s superb wine (and ice cider and rum) choices, the evening was enjoyed by all.
The Guild will continue to innovate with Algonquin and will be offering similar events in the future. Comments and feedback are encouraged so events can be designed with you in mind.
- Torre Oria Reserva Brut Cava, Nv, Macabeo, Spain, Valencia, 15.95, 402255
- Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbe’s, 2012, Pinot Gris, France, Alsace, 21.95, 21253
- Oak Bay, 2012, Gamay Noir, Canada, Okanagan, 17.95, 392431
- Featherstone, 2012, Cab Franc, Canada, Niagara, 18.95, 64618
- Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul De Pinet , 2013, Picpoul Blanc, France, Midi, 12.95, 525287
- Henry Of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut, Nv, Chard/ Pinot Noir, Canada, Niagara, 29.95, 217505
- Clos Le Vigneau Vouvray , 2012, Chenin Blanc, France, Loire, 19.95, 318840
- Domaines Schlumberger Saering Gc, 2011, Riesling, France, Alsace, 33.95, 627950
- Anselmann Edesheimer Ordensgut Weissburgunder Kabinett , 2012, Pinot Blanc, Germany, Pfalz, 13.95, 394122
- Meyer, 2012, Pinot Noir, Canada, Okanagan, 29.95, 392449
- Quinta De Santa Eufêmia 10- Year-Old Tawny Port , Nv, Port, Portugal, Douro, 27.95, 87528
- Leduc-Piedimonte Ice Cider (375ml), 2008, Cider, Canada, Quebec, 28.95, 393603
- El Dorado 12 Years Old Rum, Nv, Rum, Guyana, , 38.90, 60608