The varietal focus of the evening? Syrahs and Shirazs. Known for its dark purple color, this varietal originated in the Rhone region of Southern France but now enjoys success in Australia, Chile and North America. Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape varietal, the name change merely suggests a stylistic difference in the wine. Shiraz tends to be more muscular and bold whereas Syrah often is more elegant and restrained – but nonetheless powerful.
Andrew began the evening with Crozes-Hermitage from M.Chapooutier and a tip when it comes to reading the label of French wine bottles. The highest quality French wine is labeled with the vineyard, appellation & the brand. Yes, this means they can pinpoint the exact plot the bottle of wine is from. Paired with the gamey-richness of Chef Matt’s duck and cranberry terrine, it was the perfect start to a great night!
When growing Shiraz/Syrah, it’s important to have a wide range of temperatures which is why valleys produce delightful wines. Up next, was a Chilean wine from Rapel Valley, Chile. At less than $15/bottle, this wine has a bit of an earthy flavour and plenty of juicy fruit to compliment the “meatiness” of the mushrooms in Chef Matt’s mushroom & arugula salad with parmigiano reggiano.
It wouldn’t be a PPS Syrah tasting without a BC wine. The Syrah from Desert Hills (located just up the road from Burrowing Owl) is grown on the Black Sage Bench just north of Osoyoos. The emerging signature of BC Syrahs exhibit a more straightforward fruit than its cousin in France. The shoulder cut of lamb is a perfect braising meat and stands up to a robust and spicy red wine like the Desert Hills Syrah. Served with a turnip & potato rosti, I fell in love with the pairing – delicious!
Finally, we sampled Barossa from Jacob’s Creek in Australia. Again under $15/bottle, this wine delivers Shiraz as we know it – bold, round, almost off dry and packed with cooked fruit and vanilla spice flavour. Paired with cocoa-rolled chocolate truffles, this combination hit the spot for everyone at the table. Don’t be scared to serve wine with dessert – the key is to ensure the wine is sweeter than the dessert. The chocolate highlighted the richness and sweetness of the Barossa.
Chelsea & Stephanie from Niche Magazine joined us - check the Niche Blog for their thoughts of the evening.
Tonight, we’ll be sampling different Rieslings! Missed the last few Vino e Spuntino? Join us on Wednesday, May 15th for Grenache. It’ll be the A Team – Andrew will talk about talk wine and Chef Andrew Langley will prepare the snacks. It’s sure to be deliciously fun. Cost is $40 per person plus GST. For additional information or to make your reservation, call Andrew at 250.590.4388 or email.