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Sunday, January 28 rounds out the month with a superlative selection of wine and food to accompany at Fork and Cork Grill in Kitchener.
This episode of Fork and Cork’s five-course, five-wine “Uncorked” series features 13th Street Winery and Noble Estates Wine and Spirits — and the food of Eric Neaves and Jonasz Mankiewicz. They head up a kitchen that strives to craft a menu which pushes the boundaries.
“It’s always good, local ingredients first and foremost, but the small scale of the event with fewer than 40 people gives us an opportunity to be a little more intentional with the plating,” says executive chef Eric Neaves. “We bring in some premium ingredients, too. I really like the locally farmed wild boar and venison, but the tuna is Itusmo Yellow Fin that we’re now bringing in now. It’s 100 percent Oceanwise certified. That means small boat, line caught — and most importantly really, really tasty.”
The menu begins with Niagara’s 13th Street Winery sparkling rosé, and their gold-medal winning Gamay Noir, notes Neaves. “We then look to two of their top-selling international wines: a high-altitude Malbec from Argentina and a ‘Super Tuscan.’ Both of these wines have unique stories behind them.” On the plates will be the yellow fin as a tuna tartare with a ponzu sauce for the former and a mushroom and rapini stuffed tortellini for the latter.
Malbec arrived in Argentina from France in the 1860s, where it used to be planted quite widely, says Neaves. “Much of Argentina’s vines were pulled out in the 20th century to make way for high-yield ‘table wine’ varietals, but in the past two decades it’s seen a Renaissance in premium wine production to become essentially their national grape.”
Argentina Malbec is smaller than its French parent and has a deep, rich colour and intense fruitiness. “The high-altitude Malbec’s are particularly sought after as the harsher growing conditions reduce the vine’s yield. In wine making that’s considered a good thing, as vines which produce less fruit usually produce fruit of a far higher quality,” Neaves says who is serving a smoked duck breast salad with blo0d orange and pickled red onions.
Next comes a “hunter’s” plate — a cacciatore — of venison sausage, wild boar and creamy polenta: you can certainly see that as a northern Italian or Tyrol dish perfect for a winter’s evening. As for the “Super Tuscan,” it’s a blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (two distinctly non-indigenous varietals). “The Super Tuscans came about in the 1970s as a manifestation of frustration for wine growers and changing laws surrounding wine making,” according to Neaves.
“The growers had a desire to plant and experiment with non-indigenous varietals in a effort to produce wines of a higher quality. The result is a beautiful red which has all the warmth of that hot Italian summer, but with the addition of a little more structure from the Bordeaux varietals. Since the non-indigenous varietals weren’t permitted by Italy’s appellation system at the time, Super Tuscan was coined as a way of recognizing these as the premium wines that they are.”
The last wine returns to Niagara’s 13th Street and a “13 Below Zero” Riesling, Neaves says. “It’s a dessert wine harvested at an earlier point than ice wine would be, with the goal of being a little less cloyingly sweet.” That makes it just right for pairing with chocolate mousse, pear gelee and spiced chocolate sponge cake.
This Sunday’s five course dinner is $95 per person — which includes taxes and gratuities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (519) 208-0606 to reserve.
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