Sunday, February 7, 2010

Report from ... Wine Writers Circle of Canada Annual Dinner (Sette Mezzo) - February 1, 2010

Each year the Wine Writers Circle of Canada gets together for their annual holiday dinner. Granted it’s usually after the holidays, but it’s still considered our Christmas/Holiday Dinner.

Now at a wine writers dinner what more important: the food, the wine or the combination of both. Well that’s a personal choice. I’m always intrigued by what the writers bring out in public and what statement they are trying to make, if any. Fot the record I brought a bottle of Southbrook 1999 Triomphe Merlot … it took a while to open up, but when it did it turned out to be a nice wine. My tablemate brought two wines, a badly corked Spanish wine and a delicious Marsala (Italian Port-style wine) for dessert (which I subsequently went out and bought a few bottles of the next day). Past President Sheila, hearing of our table’s dilemma, rescued our dry palates by parading over a bottle of Dados 2007 Reserva, a plumy, fruity, spicy red form Portugal. Speaking of spicy, another writer brought over a small tasting of a California 2005 Syrah from Bernat in the Santa Inez Valley … this was a high alcohol monster, loaded with spice and pepper on the nose; the palate produced much of the same, loaded with spiced blackened fruit that exploded in the mouth – lovely.

Another bottle that was brought around was a magnum of Summerhill 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan Valley (BC). The bringer has a lovely story to tell about how she had come to acquire such a beautiful bottle of wine, and it was beautiful on the outside, alas what was inside was corked and not very palatable – no wonder she was parading and passing it around.

The Dinner …

Sette Mezzo (936 Eglinton Avenue West – Toronto) was a wonderful location and a very welcoming host to our party, they closed down the place on the Monday night so our group of 30 were the only ones in the joint.

As a good Italian place should, they started u off with some nice Prosecco and thin crust pizzas – the Margherita version was a favourite of mine. Southbrook’s 2007 Poetica Chardonnay also made an appearance as an appetizer wine. Then came the 4-course dinner:

Antipasto with cheese, prosciutto, grilled eggplant, zucchini and roasted peppers and plenty more on the plate to catch the eye and tempt the taste buds.

Pasta was a mix of Risotto with wild mushrooms and truffle oil alongside a Penne Gnocchi in rosé sauce and pepper with mini-shrimp (would that mean they are shrimpy shrimp?).

Main, the choice was chicken, fish or veal – of which the veal seemed to be the most popular; it was served in a Madeira sauce with soft polenta on the side.

Finally, dessert was a fantastic chocolate Crème Brulee – I think they also offered Tirmisu, but who could resist chocolate crème brulee – to my shock some did. Diner was so good I forgot to take pictures, maybe I’ll remember next year.


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