Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wines at the Bauer Kitchen (Italy, South Africa, BC, California)

My 2001 vintage experiment was put on hold for a night as a small group of friends headed out to a Kitchener-Waterloo restaurant called Bauer Kitchen (187 King Street South, Waterloo) where sommelier Jake Richards toured us through a number of interesting wines from a diverse array of places: Italy, South Africa, Japan (by way of Toronto), California and back to Canada (British Columbia to be exact).

Jake started us off with a lovely Prosecco from Contarini called Val-Secco because, according to Jake's information, when they re-drew the lines of the Prosecco region (in Italy) this winery fell just short of the line - so, not being able to call themselves Prosecco they took the first few letters of Valdobbiadene (a classic Prosecco region) and the "secco" to form their proprietary name.  What a delicious bottle of bubbly this is, full of fruit, persistent bubbles and lemon candy sweet with balancing acid notes.  A great starter to the evening, we could have happily drank this the rest of the evening, but Jake had more in-store.  Like a South Africa white blend from Sequillo, their 2008 white had us guessing the blend: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and possibly some Chardonnay (?) - creamy vanilla, exotically grassy with some real intrigue in the mouth and a lovely long finish.

Next up was a palate cleansing Sake from Izumi of the North, a sake house located in, of all places, Toronto, Ontario,Canada - we drank the Nama Cho cold, and it refreshed and cleansed the palate for the reds that were to follow.

With a smile Jake brought over a very black bottle and started to pour, only once all the glasses were filled and we had taken our first taste and universally agreed on the "fine-ness" of the wine did he reveal it as a 2009 Syrah from Black Hills winery in British Columbia - nice blackberry, cassis and raspberry aromas with white pepper, blackberry, and mocha on the palate ... after tasting this you can see why you'd believe the rumour Jake was willing to start: that BC wineries are ripping out their Pinot Noir vines to replace with Syrah ... it's quite plausible and maybe even the right thing to do.  Finally, and surprisingly, the last wine was my least favourite of the evening: Caymus 2008 Zinfandel ... many of my readers know my love for Zin but this one seemed a little out of whack, there was plum and chocolate notes but you could also sense the alcohol heat on both the nose and palate (15.2%) and this made the wine seem unbalanced ... I suspect another couple years in bottle might rectify that situation.  All in all a fantastic wine tasting and the meal presented to us was equal to the task. Thanks to Jake and the wonderful staff at the Bauer Kitchen for a fantastic evening.

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