If you’re a wine and arrive at the Men’s Wine Council (MWC) , all I have to say is…you better bring your ”A” game. At the Women’s Wine Council, we’d cut you some slack. Maybe we’d give you an extra point or two for a cool label, or delicate bubbles, or even a creative blend. At the Occasional Wine Council we’d be inclined to debate your attributes to see if we could persuade others to better understand a great characteristic or a flaw or two. Not so much at the MWC. A wine needs to stand up, make itself known and have the right price tag attached it, or it loses points and prestige in a Nano minute. Bubbles, labels and creative blending be dammed… this group wants a great nose, a great taste and a great price tag.
Our MWC members come from diverse backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is they know what they like and why they like it. This is an articulate group that circles the bottle line up and food pairings before the tasting begins. They act like they’re taking pictures for their articles and social media, but what they’re really doing is sizing up the competition for the evening. Each has been assigned a wine to pair a dish with. Some of our members are meticulous about their assignment. They think long and hard about what will make the perfect pairing. We have some great chefs – proficient inside the kitchen and outside at the BBQ or smoker. Others take a more cavalier approach cruising the supermarket until a pairing calls their name from the depths of the shelves, cheese case, cookie aisle, or salad bar. Any of the formats actually work.
Today’s tasting is six Demarie Wines; Two white, four red http://demarie.com/?lang=en . The Demarie Wines come from the gentle hills of Roero (an area composed of 23 boroughs in the heart of the Piedmont region, halfway between Asti and Cuneo), famous for its great wines. The distinctive sunny slopes, the special microclimate, and excellent terroir as well as the bond that grows through years of work and experience between the winegrower and his land combine to produce unique prestige wines every year. I liked these wine – some more than others, and I think you will too.
As you read todays reviews of the gorgeous and interesting Demarie Wines, remember these wines have been thoroughly vetted by the MWC team. In essence, they were sent to the Men’s Wine Council Officer’s Training School and some survived as winners. Others maybe not so much as stars, but certainly well-structured wines that deserve a place on your table, patio or Jacuzzi. Also – enjoy the winning recipe of the night from member Tom Plant (see below).
The Wine and Pairs Line Up
- Moscato d’ Asti (Sparkling) , $18.99. Caramelized onion and fig bruschetta (which turned out to be the hit of the night. Member Tom hit a homerun with this pairing. Variety: 100% Arneis grapes. Expect a straw yellow color with hints of, and apricot and chamomile and a bread like or yeast fragrance. This is a sweet sparkling wine perfect as a appertif, Jacuzzi wine or bridal shower offering. It is perfect with hors d’oeuvres and as a celebration wine. Definitely serve cold.
2. 2012 Roero Arneis, $15.99 (White, Piedmont District). Karsten’s Rosemary Pasta in Roasted Garlic Sauce was a bit too strong for this dish, but was a big hit with the reds. Variety: 100% Arneis grapes. Tasting much different from the first wine, this wine whispered its credentials. Some of us felt it showcased much like a Pinot Grigio. I thought it was medium bodied with delicate fruity nuances of chamomile, peach and apricot. Excellent as an aperitif, great with hors d’oeuvres, light, vegetable first courses, fish or poultry. Definitely serve cold.
3. 2009 Nebbiolo D’Alba, $24.99. Smoked venison roast: Variety: 100% Nebbiolo grapes. Lovely deep garnet color with hints of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. Roger’s back yard smoked venison was an amazing pairing. Highly recommend to wow your guests. Also tasty with this wine are pistachios, bacon Gouda cheese, dark chocolate anything, and Tom’s bruschetta.
4. 2009 Barbera D’Alba, 19.99. Smoked venison roast: Variety: 100% Barbera grapes. Wonderful inviting nose of intense strawberry, cherry, and blackberry with a big splash of spice. This is a mature, complex wine that lingers in the mouth. Ken thought the wine , “Pulled the wild out of the venison.” I agree. Also good with dark chocolate, pistachios, the bruschetta, the rosemary laced pasta and hearty yellow cheese. Excellent dinner wine at this price. A nice find.
5. 2009 Barbaresco, $54.99. Variety: 100% Nebbiolo grapes. A great wine that garnered second place. The nose was amazing with its fresh and world of spices. We all loved the violet, rose, cherry and subtle shades of vanilla. This is a wine that caresses the senses. Great with bruschetta, venison, pistachios, salami, and Gorgonzola cheese.
6. Barolo $64.99. Variety: 100% Nebbiolo grapes. This was the number one pick of the night. Everything came together in this wine pleasing the eye, the nose and the palate. A beautiful garnet red with lovely nuances of violets, soft velvety roses, blackberry, cherry and vanilla. This is one of those wines meant for sipping and savoring. Do not rush this wine. It’s meant for memories.
Scott is our resident consumer taster. Rather than writing an article, Scott does social media reports on the evening’s events and makes his pick(s) of the night for overall excellence in wine profile, food friendliness and price point. His picks for this tasting were the white Arneis ($15.99) and the red Barbera ($19.99).
The evening’s big pairing hit was Tom’s fig & onion Bruschetta. Enjoy with his compliments.
Caramelized onion and fig bruschetta
Tom Plant / http://wineormous.com/
- 3-4 ounces of grated tellagio, asiago or (for a milder taste) provolone
- 10 dried mission figs, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise
- 1 goat cheese log
- 1/8 cup dry sherry, marsala or port
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1-2 large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 9 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (3-4 inches long)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- baguette, thinly sliced (for gluten-free, substitute gluten-free crackers or sliced pears)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Crumble the goat cheese into a medium sized oven-safe dish. Set aside.
- Put sliced figs in a small saucepan. Add sherry and a little water to cover. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Set aside. Dried figs will plump and absorb sherry flavor.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper. Sautée, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes, until onions are lightly browned. Removed plumped figs from pot using a slotted spoon and add them to the onion mixture. Stir to combine. Remove thick woody rosemary stems from mixture and heap the caramelized onions and fig mixture on top of the cheese. Cover this with the grated cheese. Make ahead. At this point you can cover and refrigerate the dish for a day or two. When you are ready to serve it, let it sit at room temperature for half an hour before continuing.
- Just before serving, bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until cheese is hot and starting to bubble at the edges. Serve hot, surrounded by baguette slices or crackers. Enjoy!
Head Wine Chix