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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Event: Vinho Verde: explore the perfect wine to share with friends (Salt Wine Bar)

The Date and Time: Tuesday, January 27, 2015  7PM to 9 PM
The Event: Vinho Verde: explore the perfect wine to share with friends
The Venue: Salt Wine Bar, Ossington
The Target Audience: wine writers and bloggers
The Availability/Catalogue: two of the wines are at the LCBO; two are consignment.
The Quote/Background: It was a cold night outside, and we needed some warmth and sunshine from the Vinhos Verdes. Kevin Fox (producer of Wine Portfolio) and Philip Carneiro, Manager of Salt Wine Bar co-hosted a seminar of tasting and food pairing.
The Wines: Wines were briefly tasted, noted and then accompanied by food for extended conversations. These were not your typical VV at 8% ABV or so. Based on alcohol content, they were worthy partners for food sharing, although at 13% or so it does take some getting use to the wines. To my liking, Alvaninho grapes do the best job in creating fragrant, mid-body, crisp wines. The Mendes here was viscous from its long skin contact (Contacto), while the Ramos was partially (20%) oak aged in French wood for complexity. I liked them both. The Muros was a blend of Avesso (minerality), Loureiro (aromatics) and Alvarinho (body) grapes, a typical VV style but at a higher alcohol level.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2013, +393058, $19.95, 13% ABV.
-J.P. Ramos Alvarinho 2013, from Fine Wines of Portugal (FWP) at $26, 13% ABV.
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Solar das Boucas Loureiro Vinho Verde 2013, +221036, $13.95, 11% ABV
-Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Escolha Vinho Verde 2013, from Terroir Wines at $16.50, 12% ABV.
The Food: There were three small plates to accompany the wines. First up was an
heirloom beet salad (2 kinds), with leaves (kale?), manchego cheese, pecans, and pears.
We had this with the Loureiro, which was light and effervescent with a zesty off-dry finish, great for a first course pairing. The bottle had a screw cap, which is beginning to make its way into the Portuguese wine trade.  Next up was a wild sea bream seviche verde with jalapeno, avocado, and tomatillo. It was a smashing success as a dish, pairing nicely with both the Loureiro and the Muros blend. Here the Muros had a perfumed nose with a suggestion of fennel, and a rich finish. Next came the Contacto and we tried this against the seviche as well. But I suspect a more acidic seviche could have stood up better to the Contacto. BUT the Contacto developed nicely as paired to the grilled calamari tentacles with romesco sauce, rapini, olives, lemon, potato, as did the Ramos with its slightly oaked edge. For gutsy grilled food, you'll need  gutsy wines.
The Downside: it got a bit noisy with the echoes off the glass, and the lighting in our corner was too dim.
The Upside: two of the participants were actually students of mine at Ryerson J-School(1987 and 2000 grads).
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.


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