Friday, November 28, 2014

The Power of the Four P's

The Power of the Four P's

Carol Klein's Wine Tasting, Saturday, November 15th

All women, all about food and wine, fun, and camaraderie. Best described with Four P's: passionate, poised, particular, and all around pleasant. The Four P's also happens to be the local's nickname for Ireland's Four Provinces Pub & Restaurant in Falls Church, the main watering hole for all the gals where gossip flies over booze bonding, frivolous fare, and all around fun times! Carol Klein invited me over to host a wine tasting and food pairing seminar, as her girl friends are passionate about wine and even more particular about their food! After providing me with a list of wines, I gave them a list of suggestions to pair with the wines. A number of the women pitched in and made delicious hors d'oeuvres. Below are some of the perfect pairs we discovered on that frigid, fall day.

Perfect Pairs to Share:

  • Endive with fresh chèvre, mandarin orange, and almond slices

Paired with E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2012. A blend of Viognier and Marsanne that truly shows off the Viognier. Aromas of peach, apricot, white flowers and a bit of spice. But truly, the magic here was the orange zest burst followed by smooth viscosity all melding with the Endive crunch and citrus punch from the oranges. Explosion of pit fruits and mouth watering freshness.

  • Salmon creme fraîche on cucumber with sprinkled dill

Paired with Trader Joe's Blanc de Blanc Brut and Ameztoi Getariako Txalolina 2011
The easy pair was the bubbles and the key ingredient: cucumber, which is light, refreshing and aromatic. The effervescence of the sparkling makes for a clean pairing, simply a wash that lightens the oiliness of the salmon, compliments the creaminess of the creme fraîche and swirls the cucumber aromatics around your mouth and dissolves the herb garnish.

The Ameztoi Getariako Txalolina was the unique pairing. I've never had this wine and I still cannot pronounce it! At first, I thought it was Greek, but it's from the Basque country in Northern Spain bordering the Mediterranean. You can taste the sea, plus it's a prickly wine that gives tactile sensations. I wouldn't drink it every day, but I can see it as a perfect spritzer sipper in the dog days of summer, and paired with cucumbers it's a match made in heaven for a palate cleanser, so no need for sorbet.

  • Tandoori Chicken with Cilantro Sauce and Sweet Chutney Sauce

Paired with Errazuriz Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley, Chile 2011. God this was good. Straight up awesome pairing. Carmenere always presents a challenge because of its variety of spices. Some people describe Carmenere's aromas to be an amalgamation of Indian spices like cardamom, turmeric, cumin. Others describe Carmenere's smell as fresh churned earth (not so appealing in my opinion), but definitely cool to gardeners who love digging in the dirt. Depending on the ripeness level and the talent of the winemaker and viticulturist, Carmenere can sing. Errazuriz is top of the line, and for $15-$17 on the shelf, it's a steal. So I suggested we use this for a festive, fall lineup during our afternoon soirée. Due to the Indian spices I've always picked up in Carmenere, I asked the hostess to bring an authentic Indian dish. She brought Tandoori chicken with the dipping sauces. The fruit in the Carmenere nicely complimented the spicy and sweet sauces, which in turn toned down the spiciness of the Carmenere.

  • Trader Joe's dark chocolate cocoa dusted truffles

Chocolate Box Sparkling Shiraz Australia NV
The Sparkling Shiraz proved to be pure decadence. The deep, rich folds of Shiraz juice, layered in
chocolate nuances, raspberry jam, and peppery spice, enveloped the bittersweet tones of the cocoa while the bubbles whipped up the entire magical concoction into swirls of chocolate ecstasy. Plenty of moaning was going on at this point, and only continued to part two:

  • Dark Caramel Chocolate with Sea Salt 

Castello di Amorosa La Fantasia Rosé Napa Valley 2009
Step into pure fantasy for sure with this wine. On the lighter side, but beautiful ruby red in color, slightly effervescent, syrupy sweet but not cloying with just a hint of salt crunch to add texture and accents to the chocolate flavor. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good.

 Thanks ladies, my Four P's crew, for such a wonderful afternoon!