Foreign Affair Winery at Crossings – November 23, 2019

This event was a four course dinner with wine pairings – wines introduced by Ed Haddon, sommelier from Foreign Affair Winery, and food courses described by Chef Ben – apologies, no last name!

The evening was thoroughly enjoyable.

Over the course of the tasting Ed shared information on Italian style wines – appassimento, ripasso and recioto (sweet wine).

Appassimento technique – talked about Amarone and the drying of the grapes prior to making the wine. How to keep the grapes from rotting while drying – the first attempt at Foreign Affair was harvested too slowly, handled too much and piled up when stored. It all rotted. Today plastic trays go to the vineyard, grapes are hand harvested to these trays in a single layer and the trays are taken to drying sheds. No-one touches the grapes after picking, fans keep the air circulating in the drying sheds. White grapes dry a month to 6 weeks. Big red grape varietals may dry for a year.

Ripasso wine is “a poor man’s Amarone”. The skins from the appassimento wine are added to a fermentation of less robust grapes.

1st Course – Amuse-bouche

Crostini topped with bacon jam, cranberry, brie and a sorrel leaf – delicious combination of flavours – kind of lemony, super vibrant.

Accompanied by 2018 Conspiracy Bianco – $17.95 – a riesling, nice and fresh.

80% reisling and 20% sauvignon blanc. The skins came from the sauvignon blanc appasimento.

2nd Course – Appetizer

Seasonal soup – carrot, ginger, parship, spice (perfect for the early snow and cold)

Two wines – the first a 2017 Unoaked Chardonnay – 10% appasimento – remaining wine fermented in stainless steel tanks – $23.95 – acidic, lean – nicely cut through the richness of the soup – the second a 2018 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – $26.95 – (10% appassimento with 1 month of drying time, remaining wine aged 9 months in French oak barrels) stood up to the intensity of the soup.

A complement wine – equal weight as the food – would be the oaked chardonnay with the rich soup. A foil wine is a contrast and can also work well. The unoaked chardonnay is more acidic and instead of matching it cuts the richness of the soup.

3rd Course – Entree

Pork tenderloin, prosciutto, squash risotto, maple bourbon demi glace.

Two wines – both Bordeaux varietals – the first the 2017 Conspiracy -$23.95 – (made ripasso style – skins and lees of the appassimento red grapes) – still making this wine in April – the second the 2016 Dream – $29.95 – (partial appassimento – a Bordeaux style blend – merlot cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon). No two years are the same varietals or proportions. Base the blend on the strengths and weaknesses of the varietals in the year the wine is being blended.

Both wines paired well with the pork but the Dream was a more complex, interesting wine.

Interesting to see the difference in the glasses between the white wine and red wine offerings. Ed suggested we try a little red in the white wine glass and compare with the same wine in the red wine glass.

4th Course – Dessert

Butter tart – fig, pecan, maple, bourbon, dulce de leche, spice

2016 Marisa (Recioto style) – $49.95 – riesling grapes set aside to dry for 70 days. Fermentation is stopped when the desired sweetness and acidity is reached. Not as sweet as ice wine. Great pairing with this tart.

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