Guild Dinner at Soif

Monday, April 12, 2015

Reported by Rod Story

Thirty-five guild members and guests attended this fabulous evening of food and wine that was animated by Veronique Rivest, owner of Soif and the first woman to make the top three in the World’s Best Sommelier in 2013. The evening lived up to its billing with Veronique sharing both her immense knowledge and passion for wine in addition to presenting many truly unique varietals. For those that missed the evening, don’t worry because there are plans to make this an annual event.

The evening consisted of four small plates and seven wines. Veronique believes that wines should be made with a minimum of intervention (if any) such that the true character of the grape varietal, vintage and terroir are allowed to show. With this in mind, each of the wines served was unique and quite refreshing for its difference. The closest producer of these style of wines in Canada is Pearl-Morissette in Niagara.

The first course was salt cod fritters with paprika and herb aioli which was served with a very enjoyable sparkling wine from the Loire. It was not made from Chenin Blanc but rather Romorantin and Menu Pineau. It only had 11% alcohol which was a pleasant surprise.

The second course was house smoked trout with cre?me fraiche and capers. The two white wines served with this course were a Vin de Savoie and Veronese Bianco. The Savoie wine was made with the very rare grape varietal Gringet of which there are only 26 hectares planted in the world. The producer has ten of these hectares. The wine had a distinct minerality, green plum and lime zest on the nose with an impression of sweetness. On the palate it was ripe red gooseberries and dry. The producer ferments the wine in large egg-shaped cement tanks. Pearl-Morissette uses similar tanks. The Veronese Bianco was made with the Durella varietal (50-70 year-old vines). It was cloudy with a light orange tinge (like a Pinot Gris) and a nose of yeast and egg (brioche). On the palate it had zippy acidity with a hint of bitter orange zest in a pleasant way.

The third course was a house made boudin noir with apple and Jerusalem artichoke puree. The two reds served with this course were a Pineau D’Aunis (80%) and Gamay (20%) blend from the Loire and a Jura wine made from Ploussard (Jancis Robinson has it under Poulsard). The Loire red was only 11% alcohol, very light in colour (like a Pinot Noir) and a black pepper nose like a Syrah. On the palate it had high acid with low tannin with the black pepper coming through. A very distinctive flavour and colour profile that you would recognize if you were to come across it again. The Jura wine was quite interesting. On the nose it reminded one of a rind washed cheese. On the palate it had great acid (juicy) and tannin. It was reminiscent of a young Burgundy.

The fourth course was bison tartare with croutons. It was served with a Spanish red and a Sicilian rosé. The Spanish red was 50% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and 10% Cabernet France. Even though this wine contained the most common grape varieties of the whole evening, it had the most distinct nose and flavour due to its “vin natur” production. “Vin natur” production is a minimalist method that limits the amount of oxygen contact with the wine which can give it some reductive qualities. In this case the wine had a somewhat funky nose of animal sweat and a finish which some attendees described as peanut. The wine had been decanted for over 2 hours. It had ripe tannins and good acidity on the palate. The final wine of the evening was a blend of Malvasia, Muscat, Inzolia and Nerello Mascalese that were grown at the base of Mount Etna. The producer says that there was no sulphur used in production, but it certainly had a strong aroma of sulphur when it was first poured, though it did blow off. The attendees decided this must have been due to the volcanic soils the grapes were grown on, at the base of Mount Etna. It was another unique wine with blueberry and pomegranate on the palate.

Vin de France, Phil’en Bulle, Philippe Tessier (Romorantin; Menu Pineau)
Loire, France
Agent: Vini Vins

Vin de Savoie 2012 Le Feu, Domaine Belluard (Gringet) Savoie, France Agent: Symbiose
Veronese Bianco IGT Muni Montemagro 2012, Daniele Piccinin (Durella)
Veneto, Italy
Agent: Vin Libre

Côteaux du Loir La Guinguette 2013, Domaine de la Roche Bleue (Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay) Loire, France
Agent: Agence BOIRES

Arbois Pupillin Ploussard La Chamade 2010, Philippe Bornard (Ploussard)
Jura, France
Agent: GLOU

Vino de Espana Mas P’Aca 2011, Bodega Naranjuez (Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) Andalucia, Spain
Agent: Primavin

Terre Siciliana Susucaru 2013, Frank Cornelissen (Malvasia, Muscat, Nerello Mascalese) Sicily, Italy
Agent: GLOU