Calgary wine lovers enjoyed a special one-off Pair & Compare evening at Sociale Bar and Grille on June 20th with four Spanish-inspired tapas courses, each accompanied by one Torres wine from Spain as well as one Torres wine from Chile.
Would they be able to tell which was which, when poured blind?
Chef Kenny Kaechele created a special tapas menu of flavourful, rustic fare to provide a memorable food experience as well as a fun evening of wine conversation, education and deliberation.
A starter tapa of ‘Adobo Chicken Skewer with Cucumber Mint Yogurt Dip’ was paired with both Cordillera Chardonnay from Chile and Vina Esmeralda from Spain. The Chardonnay from Limari Valley in the far north of Chile, is blended with a touch of Viognier and aged on the lees for 8 months. It has an elegant spicy acidity, a toastiness from the Nevers oak and a long finish. The fragrant off-dry Viña Esmerelda is a blend of 85% Muscat of Alexandría and 15% Gewürztraminer, with a perfumed nose and a gentle acidity to complement the sweet lychee and floral flavours.
These two wines are very different but both paired really well with the chicken. It was a gentle start before telling the wines apart became much more challenging!
‘Saffron Tomato Fennel Bisque’ and ‘Artichoke Fritta and Manchego, Orange and Black Olive Salad with Basil Vinaigrette’ were paired with both Sangre de Toro Rosé from Spain and Santa Digna Rosé from Chile. Santa Digna Rosé has a nose of plums and strawberries with hints of grapefruit and a full mouthfeel of violet and orange blossom flavours, while Sangre de Toro Rosé is a blend of Garnacha and Cariñena with floral aromas of mimosa and iris, and flavours of plums and bright cherries.
Not so easy to decide which was which!
The main course of ‘Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Verde’, ‘Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Pimenton and Candied Red Onion’ and ‘Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Tomato Olive Ragout’ was paired with both Torres Celeste from Spain and Santa Digna Carmenere from Chile. Santa Digna Carmenere has aromas of black berries and balsamic with flavours of liquorice, black pepper and clove with sweet and fruity tannins. Torres Celeste is made from 100% Tempranillo and is full-bodied, spicy and intense with well-ripened fruit flavours of blackberry and cherry.
Both wines were superb with the food, but it was very difficult to determine which was which!
And finally, the dessert of ‘Coconut Pannacotta with Orange Vanilla Marmalade’ was paired with the luscious Moscatel D’Oro Floralis and Torres 10 Year Classic Brandy, both from Spain. The Moscatel has been made continuously since 1946 and has a beautiful floral bouquet of rose and lemon verbena with a light, yet full, honey Muscat taste. 10yr old Classic Brandy is made from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo and has warm spices of cinnamon and vanilla with orange marmalade, and a lush lingering finish.
It was not difficult to tell these two apart, but fascinating to taste how well they both paired with the dessert, even though they were so very different!
A delicious and fun evening!
All these wines can be found at Highlander Wine and Spirits, North Hill Plaza, 2033 16th Avenue NW Calgary 403-777-1922 or at www.liquorconnect.com/Pages/default.aspx and entering the name of the wine.
Do call ahead though before going to the store, to make sure the wine is still in stock!