A casual conversation
The scene: A husband and wife are sitting on their porch chatting about their wine and food requirements for the week.
Wife: “I am thinking that chardonnay would be perfect with fruited curry-chicken salad for Monday evening.”
Husband: “I get plenty of the polyphenol known as catechin in my cups of tea, but it is a fact that chardonnay seeds contain relatively high levels and, in small doses, it is believed that it does deter tumour development and shows promise regarding Alzheimer’s.
“How about a bottle of Chateau St Jean 2015 from California? It only costs $22.25 and the Wine Enthusiast rates it 90/100 and goes on to say: ‘Spicy and oaky in a delicious measured way, this full-bodied and nicely balanced wine backs up the toast, butter and bread dough aromas with generous ripe apple, pear and toasted-almond flavours for a complex and complete picture’.”
Wife: “Sounds good and did you know that merlot seeds provide the same catechin benefits? And so on Tuesday how about a roasted pork loin rubbed with garlic paste and rosemary from our garden? I really like the Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot from Sonoma, especially their 2014.”
Husband: “Their winemaker describes it in this way; ‘The 2014 vintage displays lively spices and ripe berry nuances. Aromas of red cherry, dried flowers and bay leaf fill the senses. The palate is full of wonderful fruity complexity, combining a mixture of raspberry, black cherry and red cherry. Undertones of toasty notes and dark chocolate come forward, with silky and smooth tannins. This beautiful wine has excellent structure and balance with a lush and rounded quality that lingers sip after sip.’ Think I will include a bottle at $29.45.
“Another one to consider is the Franciscan 2014 Merlot from Napa Valley as it has incredibly rich aromas, with intense blackberry and black cherry, accented by vanilla-toasted oak with hints of cassis. Supple and ripe blackberry flavours, black cherry and hints of toasted oak and vanilla fill the mouth with a full mid-palate and a long, round finish. $36.10.”
Wife: “It seems as if we are on a health kick, so I am thinking of that subgroup of condensed tannins known as procyanidins. I find it particularly interesting that they can moderate the production of the peptide endothelia — one that has been linked to heart disease. I have heard that petite sirah has quite high concentrations.”
Husband: “Well, as a triple bypass survivor, I am all for that! Maybe we could splurge for Friday night. You can pick up a couple of tenderloin beefsteaks for the barbecue and I will grab a bottle of 2012 Stags Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah as I also am a fan of this cross of the peloursin and syrah grape.”
Wife: “I recently read a Canadian review by Natalie Maclean where she gives it a 92/100 and refers to dark berries wrapped in smoke and dark spice with voluptuous layers on the palate — perfect with barbecued steak. This should be for the weekend as I think it costs $58.05.”
Husband: “I find it interesting to chat about a few of the 5,000 or so chemical compounds that are found in wine and, when you mentioned procyanidins, I thought of Piedmont’s wonderful nebbiolo grape known for fine Barolo and barbaresco.
“So many good memories of us driving among those fog-drenched hills topped with spectacular and ancient Roman towns. Maybe I should pick up some Brie or goat cheese? Or, of course, a chunk of Parmigiano would just sing with it.
“Manual Marchetti was so good to us at his winery and as they were one of the very first to designate single vineyards on their label, I am thinking of his Marcarini 2012 Barolo Brunate, as it has a magnificent garnet red colour with intense ruby-red reflections, of correct intensity and tonality.
“The nose is composite, rich, full and persistent, with hints of vanilla, sweet spices, tobacco, mountain hay and underbrush. It finishes with impressive taste sensations that reveal the wine’s imperious, noble, warm and velvety character, and the flavour is long and intense. It sells for $62.75.”
Wife: “But Manual told us that the Brunate vineyard was considered masculine and so I was hoping that you will consider a more feminine barbaresco for me. Can you think of anything from our friend Pio Boffa who runs the Pio Cesare winery founded by his grandfather?”
Husband: “Certainly my dear, and I will be sure to buy his single vineyard offering — Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Bricco 2011. James Suckling rates it a fabulous 96/100 and comments: ‘Lots of dark berries and flowers plus hints of fresh mushrooms. Full body with ultrafine tannins and a finish that lasts for minutes. Dense and racy. Perhaps the best Il Bricco ever.’ $103.30.”
Wife: “Well I am off to the kitchen. Why don’t you bring your glass of wine and we can discuss the benefits of 3,5,4, trihydroxy-trans-stilbene (resveratrol to most of us) as it certainly is the best known substance in wine that is linked to studies about health and wellbeing.”
•This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm</i>