We were really surprised at how quickly our first Third Thursdays event, ‘Spot On,’ filled with over two dozen guests. There were so many requests for another one that we’re repeating it again in April, and it’s already completely booked as well!
We had a really fun evening for our first outing, and it was great working with Lenny White, wine director of Waterstreet Cafe and Aqua Via. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue with our guests, and it was all I had hoped for in anticipating a successful evening.
I think the big surprise of the night was Picpoul, “the little stinger,” which few in the room had ever experienced. But it’s not surprising, as there probably aren’t even ten bottlings on the planet.
The positive response to the wine was very rewarding, particularly considering it’s racy, high acid profile. Paired with a Bruschetta Catalan, I would have though everyone would prefer the rich character of the Roussanne, but the Picpoul seemed to end up the favored wine.
The second course, a pork pate with cherry compote and ground mustard, was a great foil for comparing Syrah produced in French oak and American oak. It pleased me to see that, on the whole, the majority of participants preferred the French oak version. Not that I have anything against American oak, after all, the barrels are virtually half the price of a French barrel. I simply relish the subtlety of French oak, and the complexity achieved simply from one forest to another, like say, Allier vs. Bertrange.
The last course featured the intrinsic differences between two grapes, Mourvedre and Tempranillo. The feature was lamb, personally my favorite red meat. Topped with a pistachio-olive tapenade, the dish clearly brought the best out in both wines, and not surprisingly the room was split on which was a “favorite” pairing. Over time, I’ve learned that vine age really is a factor in advancing the quality of a wine. The Mourvedre was from the 2008 vintage, from vines planted in 2002, so considered to be eight year old plants. Contrasting that, the Tempranillo, also a 2008, was from vines half the age, yet I was happy to see how well it showed, being something like a baby in diapers in comparison.
So thanks to all of our guests for a very enjoyable evening, and again to Lenny! We’ll be moving on with our May Third Thursdays. I’ve actually not made a decision yet as to the specific topic, but we have quite a few choices. I only wish we had even more space, but regardless, the courtyard is a very special venue, beautiful in its architecture and ambience. My kind of place!