Wine: I’ve been known to savor a sip in solitude, in those quiet after-dark moments out by the fire or curled up on the couch with a good book. I know what I like and rarely wait for a gathering to decant my favorite vintage. However, no offense to my inner wineaux, I find that I enjoy wine much more when in the company of others.
As with many things in life, wine is better paired with food and shared with friends. One of my favorite opportunities to prove this theory comes along every month or so when the Women’s Wine Council convenes to taste and review wines. Led by IFWTWA board member and media guru, Linda Kissam, the Women’s Wine Council is comprised of writers and “civilians” who sample and rate 6 wines provided by a winery or distributor for our review.
On one such evening, our group gathered to render our thoughts on Le Cuvier Wines. Every winery has a story: to understand Le Cuvier, you must understand the nature and philosophy of Elliptical. Read more HERE.
Each member of the Women’s Wine Council is typically tasked with bringing a dish that she believes will best pair with the wine that Linda assigns. Not so with Le Cuvier. The owners know their wine so well that they created recipes especially suited to the varietals they offer. Not ones to argue with the winemaker, we dutifully followed the recipes to the last teaspoon and ounce.
- Rose ($28) – This multi-vintage Rose, a blend of Grenache, Counoise and Mourvedre, had quiet raspberry on the nose which opened to a tart raspberry on the palate. Fruit filled, but more dry than sweet, the Rose was perfectly paired with our one “wild card” dish: cream cheese won tons. The crispy shells and creamy filling were balanced beautifully by the crisp wine. As a side note, I highly recommend cream cheese won tons at your next wine tasting as they proved to be a hit with most of the wines that we tried.
- Ultra Reserve Chardonnay XL ($50) – Although its vibrant yellow color had us concerned that it would be overly oaky, the tropical notes and fragrant jasmine on the nose enticed us to continue. Wonderful sweet-bitter orange peel, caramel and ripe mango on the palate made this a hit with the entire group. As suggested by the winery, it paired perfectly with the Curry Spiced Hummus.
- 2007 Sangiovese ($50) – The unique “leafy” nose had us imagining enjoying this wine right out among the vines. We could almost feel the earth beneath our feet as we savored the wine’s ripe black cherry flavors.
- Pentimento ($46) – This blend was a great match for the Sun Dried Tomato & Pesto Goat Cheese Spread, but was also very lovely on its own. Hints of aromatic herbs (most notably lavender) on the nose gave way to flavors of raspberries, black cherries and a bit of vanilla.
- 2008 Syrah ($45) – This rich, dark wine was all the things we love about Syrah. Dense fruit with violet and rosemary tasted decadent and delicious. The Caponata (a Sicilian eggplant dish) brightened up the wine and a mushroom dish brought out earthy, almost meaty flavors.
- 2008 Zinfandel ($38) – With smoke, earth and fruit in perfect harmony on the nose and palate, this wine was my favorite of the evening. Raspberry, cherry and plum flavors would pair well with ribs or other grilled meat. The surprise hit of the night was the winery’s suggested pairing: Savory Bacon & Spice Dark Chocolate Brownies. The combination of salty, savory and sweet make the brownies irresistible, especially when enjoyed with the Zin.
It comes as no surprise to the Women’s Wine Council that Le Cuvier sells out of their wines every year. Most of their wines can be purchased at Tastes of the Valleys in Pismo Beach where almost EVERY wine is available by the glass (almost 650 wines)!
Although Le Cuvier is known as one of the “Far Out Wineries” and is decidedly off the beaten path, their wines are well worth the trip next time you are in Paso Robles.
After working in all aspects of the food and beverage industry for 20 years, Corie has developed an adventuresome spirit and palate. As an avid home cook and a member of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, she keeps an eye out for new trends in food, wine and travel so she can share her discoveries with her readers. In addition to her own Blog, www.LifeHalfFull.co (Balanced Living in a Slightly Off-Kilter World), she is a freelance writer, contributing food, wine and news articles to several on line and print publications.