Saturday, February 24, 2018

Great night of food and wine at first time "Theme-ers", and celebrating Portugal!!

Up until now, our "theme nights" had only been hosted by two different couples; that was all about to change as a third couple has joined our fun and they were about to take their first turn as hosts.

They were, to put it mildly, eager to impress....and they went ALL OUT!! Check out the menus and wine scoring cards!

We had joked all week that the food was just going to be catered by Nando's. LOL. Not quite :)

We've had many great theme nights so far, and food and wine pairings have been very important; less so, this time. These were hard dishes and wines to pair. Some worked well, some notsomuch, but individually each dish was very good. A total of nine courses:

1. Salada a Portuguese - Tomato Salad
2. Pasteis de Bacalhau - Codfish Cake
3. Carne Cuisada - Beef Stew
4. Marmelada Queijo - Cheese with Marmalade
5. Peri Peri Chicken (NO, not from Nando's, completely homemade and INCREDIBLY tasty)
6. Chourico & Batata - Sausage & Potatoes (like a spicy stew, delicious)
7. Cacoula - Pulled Pork Slider
8. Pastel de Nata - Egg Tart
9. Queijo - Selection of cheeses

Oh, and the wine? This is what we entered to.

So, yeah, if they felt like this was an "audition" to see if we would let them continue to host our theme nights, they were certainly going to make it impossible for us to say "no"!

So let's discuss the wine. I'll give the prices where I know them, or where I could find them. The hosts don't remember the prices of everything at this point either.

Quinta Ameal 2016 Loureiro 
Citrus and white flowers on the nose, with a strong, and I mean strong, backbone of minerality and flavors of lemon and lime. Medium finish. This was my first experience with the Loureiro grape, and I'll be intrigued to taste more at the VIWF coming up next week.

Casa Santa Lima 2016 Confidencial Reserva ($15.99 from BC Liquor Stores)
Called "Confidencial" because it is an unknown blend of 10 different grapes. Generally I am not a huge fan of wines that are cheap and combine a ton of grapes, but this one is a revelation. Aromatic blackberry, black cherry, plum and coffee on the nose. Medium bodied, with flavors of red cherry, dark chocolate and just a touch of spice. Medium finish. A real treat at this price.

Caves São João Quinta do Poço do Lobo 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark brown in colour. Aromas of cassis, leather, dark chocolate, tobacco and smoke. Dried cherries, cigar box, black fruit and leather on the palate. I would suggest this has peaked and is on it's way down but it was still very drinkable.

Anselmo Mendes 2016 Alvarinho Contacto ($24.00 at private BC wine shops)

"Contacto" refers to the additional time that the wine spent on the skins. Aromas of quince, buttered toast and perfume. Maybe a hint of mint? Pear on the palate, slightly buttery and nutty. My favorite Portugese white to this point, and it has me very excited to taste some more at the Festival next week. This wine was a big hit with the diners.

The host, Gagan, on the right, and one of the guests, both of whom were YOUNGER THAN THE WINE they were drinking!!
Yes, that's right, one of the next wines was older than 2 of the guests. I feel so fucking old.

Caves São João Portos Dos Cavaleiros DAO 1982 and 1988 (Both around $50 at Liberty Wines)
I wish I could rate these, but I can't remember which is which. I made such a mess out of my notes on these two....I liked one of them much more than the other, but I can't remember which one.

Not to worry, true believers....I took a bottle of each home and will crack them open soon with a big fat steak and review them again.

Quinta De Cabriz 2014 Dao ($unknown but I'm positive it's under $20)

Decanted for 2 hours. What a steal at this price. One diner described the nose on this wine as "AWESOME". I would agree. Blackberry, black cherry and cassis on the nose. Red cherry flavors, dried raspberry, with layers of spice and earth. Really nice. This was rated as #46 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2016.

Caves São João Quinta do Poço do Lobo 1988 and 1996 Bairrada
Despite the 8 years difference, I found these blends to be almost identical. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, earth and mushroom. Black fruit and plums on the palate, with a lovely, long finish. I would give the 1988 a half point advantage, but they ended up with the same score.

No trip to Portugal would be complete without a beautiful Port!

Taylor Fladgate 325th Anniversary Reserve Tawny ($48.99 at BC Liquor Stores)
Intoxicating notes of dried cherries, black licorice, dark raisins and violets on the nose. Dark chocolate, raisins, rum-soaked Christmas cake on the palate. Divine.

There was one more wine served just at the end of the evening, but I'm not going to score it as I only had a little bit and am not sure I would give it a fair number. It's another bottle that I took home, so I will give it a good review when I drink it, and it's almost 30 years old so I will drink it soon!

A fabulous night of food and wine, and it will be nice to have a third couple on board to host from time to time. They did a terrific job from start to finish, and if they were worried that they had to impress us so that we'd allow them to host again, well, they have nothing to worry about!!!

Up next: Last weekend we hosted BURGUNDY night, and I'll do a full report on that sometime this weekend.

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