Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Vintry interior
I got a phone call from the Doc. "Ever tried Spanish wine?" he asked.  Well, yes, I said. Sort of. Well, only if you count a session with the Wine Tasting Committee last month, which got very hazy. Outside of this, my experience with the wines of Spain had not been generally positive. A road trip around the country in my early drinking days had found little to commend them. Rough, tasting of red earth and brick, and all of them not really worth the hangover. Occasional bottles since had done little to change this view. 

"Come to Ribs on Monday. You might be pleasantly surprised."  Very good, I said. "Only a hundred bucks." 

I really must learn to ask the price of these things in advance.

The Doc had clearly given this same sales pitch to a few of his friends, because come the Monday there were 24 intrepid and adventurous bibbers ready to embark upon Vintry's Brief Overview of Spanish Wines as part of Vintry's "Experience Wine" series. It did look a most pleasant prospect - eight different styles of wine accompanied by a variety of tasty cheeses from the same part of the world. 

Happy bibbers!
IWFS President Dr Rajan said a brief hello and introduced owner Wong Yin How to talk about the wines. The first was a 2009 Albarino by Martin Castro which proved to be a deligthful aperitif; crisp and fresh, scraping the throat and cleansing the palate. Texturally coming across as a cross between a Chard and a Sauvignon Blanc, and tasting of liquid sherbet lemons. Nice.
The cheese, bread and fruits came out after the first had been swallowed to accompany the extremely drinkable 2010 Godello by Val de Sil. There was a quartz like minerality to this one, as if it had been strained through pebbledash. Bright and sharp, would be a belter with shellfish. I bought two bottles.

Third out as a 2007 Mencia by Altos de Losada. Billed as Spain's answer to the Pinot, I found it reminiscent of some of the lighter Malbecs coming out of Argentina. Nice lush fruit with good alcohol and tannin. 

The two Riojas that followed offered a contrast between old school 1999 Faustino Gran Reserva and new school 2004 Sierra Cantabria. The latter was more approachable in fruit and food friendly match, thought the former scored better in lean and refined structure. Very sleek and silky.

More cheese was demanded and cheerily supplied as the final three wines made their way to the glass. The remaining wines got lost in the mist of conversation and walnuts. Also, my notes have somehow gone missing. But the last was pleasantly memorable, a sweet port style with loads of depth and richness. This style goes back years whereby they keep adding to the original cask. Sounds similar to the way they make sourdough bread. 

In all, a good evening and a great way to taste some excellent wines at fair value. Though tasting eight wines in two hours seemed like a tall ask. A very pleasant ask, but a tall one nonetheless. And indeed so it proved to be. The reds needed to be savoured, and some folks had to leave early to make dinner appointments. Lesson: start earlier next time. This was somewhat assuaged by Yin How offering 20% discount on purchases on the night. My appeal for 25% for IWFS Committtee members was deftly ignored. Well, there need to be some perks to the job? Don't there?

some of the debris...

No comments:

Post a Comment