Saturday, December 13, 2014

Finding Joy in Red Wine

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

A family emergency took me back to Ontario last week. Despite the melancholy feel over the visit, I decided to try and find small joys through my loved ones while there. I held my new baby nephew for the first time, did some of my favourite things with my best friend, and spent some quality time with my Dad. And when my father and I get together, wine is almost always involved!

He wanted to restock his cellar for the upcoming holidays. We set out to three of his local LCBO stores, and together, going off his palate preferences, we purchased 15 bottles and tasted a few of his choices. These were some of the hits:

1. Cantina del Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore 2011
Flavours of ripe cherries, resin and tobacco with a hint of spice on the long finish. The soft tannins are well-structured and combine with focused acidity for a rustic, full mouthfeel. A classic Italian Dolcetto that pairs well with steak and other red meats. Decanting the wine 1-2 hours before serving will allow the red fruit flavours to really shine.

2. Montresor Capitel della Crosara Valpolicella Ripasso 2011
A sultry blend of stewed cherries, raspberries and chocolate. Smooth and structured tannins create a well balanced body with a long, lush finish. Excellent on it's own or paired with mild charcuterie, kalamata olives and mozzarella cheese.

3. Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Deep purple in colour, with notes of blackberry, plum and a white pepper finish. A hint of green olive mid-palate and silky tannins add complexity. A great wine to share with friends over foods such as gourmet pizzas.

When I returned home, I was asked to sample a wine for a 40th birthday party, which was the Bodegas Los 800 Priorat 2010 from Spain. An intoxicating bouquet of dark cherries, cloves and mocha lead into a rich, complex body with silky tannins and a graphite backbone. The long, spicy finish lingers long after your glass is finished. Pairs well with roasted meats like Beef Wellington.

It is inevitable that we will experience sorrow in our lives. How we get through the pain is up to us. Finding and experiencing these small joys is what has helped me get through it all this past year. Family, friends and good wine are all the joys I need to get me through anything.