Monday, June 8, 2020

5 Wines to Try During Quarantine: A Sommelier's List with Food Pairings

Wine is one of the most essential of non-essential things during quarantine. Wondering what wines you should buy? I have compiled this small list based on wines I tasted and loved while working as a sommelier in the UK. They are little gems that you can easily pair with the food. Indeed, you will find a list of suggested pairings. 

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

1) Occhipinti SP68, Italy.
Natural wine from Vittoria (Sicily) made with Albanello and Zibibbo grapes. Fruity and mineral in the mouth, with hints of camomille and grapefruit. Fermented and aged in cement vats, this wine pairs perfectly with seafood and young cheeses.  The producer is Arianna Occhipinti, a young woman inspired by the principles of biodiversity and the full expression of Terroir.

Occhipinti SP68

2)Petritis Kyperounda, Crete.

Light-bodied white from Cyprus, made at one of the highest vineyards in Europe, up to 1400 metres above sea level. It is made with the indigenous grape Xynisteri, in the Troodos mountain range. High in minerality, this wine has a long finish and a great complexity: in the mouth offers hints of peach, acacia flower, citrus and orange peel. The high altitude gives rise to high acidicity and a touch of oak aging provides some spicy notes, like white pepper. Suggested pairings: seafood pasta, octus, salmon crostini. Great aperitif wine!

Petritis Kyperounda

3) Domaine Comte Peraldi Ajaccio, France.

Extremely complex, light to medium bodied red from the French island of Corsica. Made from the indigenous grapes Sciaccarello and Nielluccio; blended with Cinsault and Carignan. Smooth and persistant, this wine is characterized by aromas of almonds, berries and spices like black pepper. Made in a terroir composed mainly of granite soil, it pairs well with goat cheese, charcuterie and red meats. Keeps well in cellar for up to 12 years!

Comte Peraldi Ajaccio

4) Le Prieuré Chateau Ksara, Lebanon.

More than 150 years ago the Jesuits founded “Chateau Ksara” in Bekaa valley (Lebanon), planting vines at high altitude. Today this winery is the oldest and largest winery of the country, producing around 3 million bottles per year. “Le Prieuré” – loosely translated as “the monastery” – is arguably their most iconic and representative wine since its main grapes (Cinsault and Carignan) were the among the first to be planted by the Jesuits. A true taste of Lebanese terroir, this wine has spicy notes of clove and herbaceous hints of bell pepper and spinach in the nose. Smooth and medium-bodied, this wine pairs perfectly with spicy charcuterie and red meats.

Le Prieure Chateau Ksara

5. Kuyen Antiyal Valle de Maipo, Chile

Chile is often associated with Carmenere but there are many interesting other grapes grown there.  I recently came across the Kuyen, a very rich blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Petit Verdot. It is a full-bodied red from Maipo Valley made by a small and eco-friendly winery that grows certified organic grapes. Spicy, with notes of black pepper and lots of ripe red fruits like cherry. Also, hints of licorice and dark chocolate in the mouth. This wine has a good ageing potential and can pair well with a rib-eye steak, lamb stew and pork tenderloin. Highly recommended, especially for a dinner with spicy and meaty dishes!

Kuyen Antyal

Here you have it: 5 wines to try during your quarantine that can impress your friends and family. Enjoy!
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada