RKS Wine: The Penniless Pensioner’s Engagement Party: Wine Planning: Another Set-Back; The Canapés

PP has suffered a set-back. In addition to not being able to access his Panamanian bank accounts the publisher’s advance cheque for his upcoming book “Fall from Grace” bounced due to bankruptcy of the publisher. So here he is with a looming wine bill for the engagement party short on cash. But PP always surprises and he says he has a “few” gold bars in a safety deposit box he was planning to keep for a rainy day. So he urges me to go classy but cheap! There are some thirty people invited but he rolls his eyes and tells me they all drink like lushes. I’ve got a bit of bad news myself as the wine consulting contract had a schedule of events the contract applied to and it includes both the engagement party and the wedding but I thought it only applied to the engagement party. PP guffaws and says I should have read the contract and assume nothing. He is right.

So for the canapés of Wagyu Beef Sliders, Mulmur Hills Lamb skewers, stuffed cremini mushrooms topped with gremolata and cold Vietnamese vegetable spring rolls. I am thinking we can get away with a lighter red wine but knowing about these events as I have consulted to many corporate events there will be need for some white wine. But let’s deal with the white after the red.

Will the Stratus Wildass Red 2019 Merlot do the trick?  On the nose it conveys an impression of lush and plush like a good Merlot from the Rutherford Valley in California. It positively glows with cherry, blackberry and cranberry. It could be equally plush and lush on the palate but it is low on tannins and nice and smooth with a personality of agreeableness. Not too heavy and not flimsy. Just right for the canapés and considering the dipping sauce for the Vietnamese Spring Rolls it might suit that canapé. Back to the palate there is some light cherry and loganberry jam and a short finish that will not overpower the canapés.

PP and I strategize that while this is not a great wine the opening toasts might dull the tastebuds and the risqué name of the wine might gain a few nods from the artsy fartsy guests as PP refers to them as. This PP is more deceptive than I thought. Perhaps there is a bit of Bernie Madoff in him?

(Stratus Wildass 2019 Merlot, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratus Vineyards, Nagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 376822, 750 mL, 12.6%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).

South Africa is attractive due to its low labour and land costs so its wines are what you might call a bargain. However, bargain in my mind means a low cost and a quality wine. South Africa has a reputation for its white Chenin Blanc. Considering the canapés it might suit the Vietnamese cold spring rolls but not the others. However there are always white wine drinkers in the crowd. PP thinks Chenin Blanc has a ritzy French name that might pump up the guests. And if there is any left over it will suit the main course!

Solid aroma of pear, apple, guava and quince jam from this Simonsig 2020 Chenin Blanc from the Stellenbosch. On the palate a solid body that just might stand up to the stuffed Cremini mushrooms. Notes of grapefruit, lime and applesauce. A bit of a brackish finish mixed in with sweet white grapefruit.

(Simonsig Stellenbosch 2020 Chenin Blanc, W.O. Stellenbosch, Simonsig, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $13.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 610907, 13.5%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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