Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Night Out for Grown-Ups


I hopped off the bus in the downtown core, bottle in hand. I was on my way to a real, grown-up cocktail party in a trendy Centretown condo with real grown-ups who drink wine and talk about real grown-up stuff (when they aren't talking about their kids.)

Rules were simple: everyone bring a bottle, perhaps something to nosh on, and enjoy! I chose a Peller Estates Iced Cuvee for my charming hostess, a gal who loves her some bubbles. She greeted her guests in the hospitality suite, stylish (as always) in a Mad Men-inspired dress, gave a quick layout of where things were and resumed her welcoming duties while we all got acquainted. I poured myself a glass of Cono Sur rosé sparkling and looked around.

It only took a couple of friendly rounds of getting-to-know-you and Six Degrees of Separation before the conversation and laughter (like the wine) was flowing with ease. Folks crowded around the bar or the snack table, or lounged about on leather settees, or flitted between groups to catch snippets of gossip, the latest on the municipal election, or animated dialogue on 80s music.

Turned out to be a great night of exciting vinous discoveries as well, these two being my top faves:

Castillo de Almansa 2010 Reserva (Spain; $12.95; 13.5% abv) - This was my favourite find. Predominantly Tempranillo blend with some Montastrell and Garnacha thrown in. A wild nose of spicy salumi, tobacco leaf, cigar smoke, peppercorn and blackberry jam. On the palate: dry, with firm tannins and a meaty, chewy mouthfeel. A brambly mixture of raisins and stewed fruit with a dusty finish. Impressive wine and a great value!

Kunde 2012 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel (California; #23.95; 14.5% abv) - Not your typical fruit-bomb zin. The aromas spilling out of the glass brought frying bacon to mind, along with suggestions of green pepper, black peppercorn and ripe black cherry. The fruit comes out on the palate with aggressive sour cherry and spicy pepper. Grippy tannins and a lingering acidity stick around on the long finish.

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