Oriel Wines bring together wine-lovers and winemakers from around the globe. They find passionate independent winemakers and invest in their craft. Today we review 3 Oriel reds from 2003 – a light and fruity Pinot noir, a medium bodied Cabernet, and a full-bodied Shiraz. I featured this winemaker’s collection for an event in the Brick House Cigar bar and hand-picked each to compliment the food that was served.
Oriel Pinot Noir
Although chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France, Pinot Noir grapes can be grown successfully in many cool climates around the world, including right here in the good old USA. Pinot Noir typically pairs very well with an array of food because it is lighter in style and easily drinkable. I paired the Oriel Pinot Noir with the hot antipast that was served, knowing that it would not only compliment each item in the spread, but it would not distract the palate. It was rich and vibrant in style, with notes of red and black cherries. This particular wine was aged in French Oak, then in the bottle for 12 years, and is a perfect example of a true Pinot Noir.
QUICK TIP: When tasting, always start with the wine that is lightest in body and work your way up to the heavier, fuller bodied glasses. If done the other way around, the fuller bodied wine will easily overshadow the lighter style.
For the red wine drinkers who prefer something medium to full-bodied in style, I chose the Oriel California Cabernet. It is both smokey and smooth, tastes of cherry jam and blackberries. I chose this to pair with the steak. The best meal to pair with a Cabernet is a dish overflowing in protein and fat. This will help tame the complex tannins and mesh with all the rich flavours typical possessed by a Cabernet.
Spicier and fuller in style, Shiraz is the most popular grape variety in Australia. Some of the oldest Shiraz grape vines in the world are found there and lucky for us, 2003 was an extraordinary vintage for this grape. I chose the Oriel Shiraz to appeal to the guests looking for a more fuller bodied vino experience. I would describe this wine as earthy and slightly spicy, with black currant and hints of liquorice. As another wine that has aged in the bottle for 12 years, the tannins are balance well with the acidity and the fruit. A fuller bodied wine like this holds up great with nice steak and whether the guests ate it with their dinner or not, it is enjoyable both with or without food.
I also tasted the 2004 Oriel Cotes du Rhone, which was very dry and full-bodied, and more enjoyable by itself rather than with food. In the end, all the wines tasted from Oriel Wines were great. The styles I chose to pair with the meal were able to appeal to the diverse tastes of all of our guests. The biggest take away of this tasting was the fact that even though these wines were 13 years old, each was either at its prime or could even be aged a little longer. What most people don’t understand is that only 1% of all wine produced in the world is meant to be aged. This also means, 99% of the wine we buy should be drunk right now……….. like….. right now 🙂
So, cheers and Happy Wine Wednesday!