Small Plates and Value Wines

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reported by Andrea Travill

The Guild launches the 2016 wine tasting season.

As the Christmas carol goes “oh the weather outside was frightful…” With minus 19 degree temperatures and 45 kph winds and snow flurries, only the hardiest Guild members made it out Monday 18 January for the sold out opening event of the year. The event was the small plates dinner and value wine tasting. Director Sean O’Regan was our host at Restaurant International at Algonquin Collage.

Together we enjoyed a three course meal of appetizer, main and dessert, each with a selection of three plates. Sean did a great job with the wine selection, offering some surprising finds for the bargain hunters amongst us. The first course consisted of a toasted bruschetta; vegetarian borscht; and cream cheese, herb and onion stuffed mushroom caps. The accompanying wines were a 2013 Donnachiara Irpinnia (LCBO #434241); a 2010 Pupillo Cyane Muscato (LCBO #156430); a 2008 Zuccardi Blanc de Blanc Curvee Especial (LCBO # 435438); and a 2013 Penthouse Pinot Noir (LCBO #432864).

The main course was a combination of red snapper on a bed of Mexican rice with tomato salsa; chicken Marsalla with green beans; and, vegetarian crepe with ratatouille stuffing on roasted red pepper puree and bechemel. The mix and match wine pairings included a 2014 Gustave Lorentz Reserve Riesling (LCBO #641639); 2010 Ideia from Greece (LCBO #431635); a 2011 Terra D’Uro Finca La Rana Toro (LCBO #424135); and a 2013 Honoro Vera (LCBO #432997).

For dessert, the chef offered a chocolate mousse; French vanilla ice cream on shortbread with toasted almonds; and, an apple crisp with ground cherry. An interesting and enjoyable selection of wines accompanied, including a Loosen Bros Dr. L. Sparkling Riesling (LCBO #296095); a Castellani Sommavite Vino Liquoroso Vino Santo (LCBO #927); a Yellow Tail Red Moscato Bubbles (LCBO #429951); and a Grahams Late Bottled Port (LCBO 3191239).

The most talked about wine was the Red Moscato. People either loved or hated it. It was certainly a different take on a sweet sparkler, and a lot of fun.

With no wine above $20, all the wines were great bargains, and many will find their way on to members’ tables this winter if not into their cellars. All in all, a great evening, so… “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”