I spent Thanksgiving weekend with a family who had plenty to be thankful for. Celebrating a 60th birthday party, a new baby in the family, and of course, a family get-together focused around wine.
I always enjoy hosting an event for families as they are always the most entertaining (especially after a couple tastings). No one is afraid to hold back, the true quirks come out and everyone feels free to be themselves. I had an awesome time journeying through different countries with this bunch while we tasted wines from regions that are under-rated and under-explored. The group was enthusiastic, eager to learn and had plenty of questions! It was awesome that everyone really got into using our fun fact and trivia cards and the aroma vials!
We had a fruity and refreshing start with a sparkling brut from an Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable winery from Chile called Emiliana. Cranberry goat cheese was paired with this sparkling to beautifully compliment the acidity of the wine, enhance its fruity finish and decrease the richness of the cheese. This is one of my personal favourites: acidity cuts through fat, remember that!
As we made our way to South Africa, we were able to point out how climate influences the winemaking process while tasting the Two Oceans Pinot Grigio. This wine from the Southern Cape expresses “upfront tropical fruit flavours including pear, peach, apricot, banana and a hint of litchi.” While the same grape varietal is popularly grown in the cooler climate of Northern Italy, the resulting wine is lighter in body, colour, higher in acidity, displays citrus fruit and is unlike the Two Oceans that is bursting with flavour.
Our journey continued, stopping once more in Chile, then onto a brand that is an icon for Italian style and way of life; Voga. The Voga Quattro, sporting a temporary 150 Canada Birthday label, is a full-bodied, dark fruit, red-blend. This wine is produced in Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the most southern Italian wine region.
To end the evening, I tried something new with this group. We tasted a kosher wine… made from blueberries! From right here in Canada, Rodriguez Winery is a “family-based business dedicated to producing premium berry wines and spirits using quality, clean ingredients, minimal processing and no added sulfites.” The semi-sweet blueberry wine was a delightful and interesting pairing with blue cheese as the sweetness helped balance the “funk” in the cheese, making it creamier. In addition, this funk of the blue cheese also helped to balance the sweetness in the wine. What a great pair!
I too, am thankful for a lot of things! I am thankful for all the wineries which produced these incredible wines, the delicious food that added to the tasting experience, and of course, the family that took this journey with me!