Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tin Roof Chardonnay and 2002 Dunn Howell Mountain (California)

What an interesting day for wine (and food) ... I trundled down to Kitchener to meet with the folks heading up the new regional wine and food shows that should be hitting that market in late-November and April (just from my few meetings I can safely say these are going to be excellent shows).  We ended up at a delightful new restaurant called Marisol Restaurante for lunch.  Marisol has only been open for about three weeks, but is already generating some buzz in Kitchener, and I can see why ... or more like taste why.  Their menu for lunch is a handful of dishes (6 in all) with three "First"s (appetizer stuff) and three "Second"s (mains) along with 3 available sides.  You can also order some stuff off the dinner menu if whatever is being served for lunch does not appeal.  We started our meal off of the dinner menu with a plate of mussels, then moved onto the lunch menu where I ordered a fabulous Roasted Garlic Soup with crumbled blue cheese that was out of this world (especially if you don't want to have to talk to anybody the rest of the day) and for my main a Pan Roasted Wild Halibut on a fennel and radish salad.  The halibut was prepared simply but deliciously and with each forkful combined more with the flavours in the salad added even more flavour to the fish.  But you probably aren't too worried about my culinary review (though if you are in Kitchener ... I`m just saying); I know you are interested in what wine I had.  For lunch I had a 2008 Tin Roof Chardonnay that seemed multi-purpose through the meal.  Touch buttery but with enough fruit to carry the wine through the mussels and soup, though a tad jarring with just the halibut, you needed the rest of the dish to liven it up.

That evening I was teaching a wine class and the generosity of students continues to amaze me.  Some sit and take it all in (which is what they are suppose to do I guess) but others jump in with both feet.  Since we were doing California on this particular evening one student stopped by the LCBO and purchased his favourite California Cab (producer, not vintage) a 2002 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - Howell Mountain.  What makes this more impressive is that the bottle was over a hundred bucks and he was willing to share it with the entire class.  I had brought in a $11 Cab and thus we did a blind experiment to see if a wine worth 10 times as much was identifiable as such.  Interesting to note that we went down gender lines, the woman enjoyed the lighter $11 wine while the men preferred the more expensive bottle.  The class misjudged the price, as the majority thought the younger Cab the more expensive bottle - but I wonder how many have experience with aged and over $100 bottles.  As for the wine it had some forest floor notes, spice, blackberry, menthol and herbal tobacco on the nose (showing its age) ... but the palate was more forgiving of its longevity showcasing more fruit and other flavours:  blackberry, spiced-oak, sweet floral, and a Dr. Pepper character that I rather enjoyed (though the class laughed at that little descriptor).  The finish was a pleasant vanilla-cherry-tobacco.  A big thanks to OM for this bottle.

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