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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nov 27/09 - Hotel Dinner - Eight Wine Bar, with Zoltan Szabo

The Time and Date: Friday, November 27, 2009   7 PM to 11 PM
The Event: The French Connection tasting of wines and food pairings.
The Venue: Eight Wine Bar, Cosmopolitan Hotel
The Target Audience: paid customers, wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are available in the LCBO system or
at the winery, certainly at Eight Wine Bar.
The Quote/Background: Zoltan Szabo chose the wines to be paired with
the food. We had three wines with each plate of three small servings.
In most cases, the pairing worked from left to right, but of course, we
could cross-compare, and even save our wines for later dishes. The
pours were about 2 ounces each, so we had to carefully conserve our
drinking if we wanted to do cross-comparisons. Zoltan led a seminar in
tasting principles and tried to show how the wines worked.
The Wines: The wines were chosen to complement the food, or maybe it
was the other way around. It was an eclectic selection, based on French
varietal grapes in Canada (Ontario and BC). WE WERE SERVED THE WINES
BLIND: we only knew that they were either Canada or France.
-NV Prosecco Brut, Frattina, Lison Primaggiore, Veneto – reception wine
-2006 Fume Blanc, Peninsula Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
-2007 Semillon, Legends Estates, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula,
-2007 Chateau Le Bonnat, Graves, Bordeaux
-with these three whites, we had beet cured Ontario trout, citrus
fennel salad with a caper tarragon vinaigrette; a smoked salmon mousse
with dill crème fraiche and salmon caviar; and a lobster salad with
avocado, mango  and cilantro.
-this was the most straight-forward part of the tasting. The wines went
best in order with the dish, i.e., the fume with the trout, the
Semillon with the salmon, the Graves with the lobster. The wines were
easy to identify as to types: I quickly identified type and regions of
the fume, the Semillon, and the white Bordeaux, but I did not know the
producers. I suspected Peninsula Ridge for the fume.
-2005 Petales d'Osoyoos, Osoyoos Larose, Okanagan Valley, British
-2006 Merlot Reserve, Peninsula Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
-2001 Cabernet Merlot, Viewpointe Estates, Lake Erie North Shore,
-with these three reds, we had braised rabbit with a grain mustard and
ale cream; a duck confit with a wild blueberry sauce; and a pan-seared
squab with a chili chocolate sauce. Again, the wines seemed to go best
with the three dishes in order, although I felt the LENS wine was also
good with the rabbit. These dishes were all grouped as "Right Bank", so
I suspected merlot as the grape and Canada as the region for all three.
After that, I was lost.

-2005 Le Grand Vin, Osoyoos Larose, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
-2006 Merlot, Stratus, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
-2005 Chateau Franc-Cardinal, Cotes de Francs, Bordeaux
-with these three reds, we had samplings of pan-seared kangaroo loin
with a sour cherry reduction; citrus and mint crusted lamb loin with an
herb port reduction; and maple and ginger marinated venison with bacon
foam. There was much discussion as to what wines went with what foods.
I settled on the Stratus for the kangaroo, both the Osoyoos and the
Franc-Cardinal for the lamb, and the Franc-Cardinal with the venison. I
pegged the first red as Canada and the last two as France.
-2004 Chateau Crabitan Bellevue, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Sauternes
-2006 Small Lots Syrah, Phantom Creek Vineyard, Sandhill, Okanagan
Valley, British Columbia
-2004 Chateau des Jaubertes, Graves, France
 -with these wines, we were served the cheese course (a selection of
local Ontario cheeses). I did not get their names, but we did need
bigger serving portions if we were to attempt cross-comparisons.
The Food: excellent (see above), portions just right – small samplings.
The Downside: we needed more cheese and bread.
The Upside: Zoltan Szabo gave a first-rate commentary.
The Contact Person:  Zoltan Szabo <>
The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 95.

1 comment:

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