Wednesday, December 28, 2011

shellfish and sparkling rosé






NV 13th Street Cuveé 13 Brut Rosé | VQA Niagara Peninsula


NV Moutard Père et Fils Brut Rosé de Cuvaison | AC Côte des Bar

A dream come true.

My friend had told me that the best fishmonger in Toronto also brings in canned Spanish tapas seafood. So I got some cans of sardines (whole), octopus, and squid. Flavour, texture, all unremarkable, but the quality of the ingredients is very high. Then, onto the real food. A dozen Kumamoto oysters from Washington State, shucked and with lemon (and only lemon!). Then, live abalone, steamed with ginger and green onion. Perfect in texture and flavour. Various clams and cockles (berberechos), both cooked in wine and in steamed eggs. Finishing with the most amazing, rich, luscious sea cucumber and bamboo shoot. Divine.

And with it all, a pair of pink sparkling wines, one from Niagara, the other a rosé Champagne from the region of Aube. Well chilled, we started with the 13th Street. Cork off with a satisfied sigh, they use the traditional Champagne grapes here, but also add a touch of syrah. Beautiful deep pink in colour, persistent foam. Ripe fruit, red berries and all that. Dosage a bit evident, fragrant. Round on the palate, finishes tight and quite structured. Very well made indeed.

I adore rosé Champagne. A bit more expensive (pinot noir is not cheap), this particular bottle from Moutard is a Rosé de Cuvaison, referring to the method in which colour from the pinot noir is extracted. The majority of rosé Champagnes are made by simply blending in a low (5-15%) of pinot wine in to the white wine, to give it its colour. This method, by cuvaison, means that the grapes are macerated with its skin, and removed once sufficient colour has been extracted. No opinion on which method is better - like all good things, it's simply different. And this wine was spectacular with our bounty of the sea. Rose petals, dried fruits on the bouquet, beautiful structure. Dry and very long. Indeed a fine wine, absolutely delicious and singular in expression.

As shellfish is for the ones who truly adore food, rosé Champagne is for the true wino.


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