Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Restaurant Chain Wine Programme | EARLS

Yesterday I got a sneak peak at several new Earl’s menu items and a tasting of their new collaboration house wines “Little Rascal Next Door ” made in the Okanagan’s by Cedar Creek Estate Winery. This is the first time in the 32 year history of the chain that a BC winery has been involved in the development and production of Earls brand house wines. 

Rocket Salad
Earl’s wine programme and wine club is spearheaded by George Piper, the in-house wine buyer for the last twenty five years, as well as local wine writer Anthony Gismondi, and food and travel writer Kasey Wilson. The Earl’s wine programme is heavily new world oriented with a focus on Chile, Australia, and BC along with a small selection of French and Italian. The wine list is flavour focused and marketed and all wines are one price. A small reserve programme is heavily dominated by BC and Californian selections.

The ‘Little Rascal Next Door” house wines are a Cedar Creek creation. The red is a five varietal blend (35% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Pinot Noir, 16% Cab Franc, and 5% Syrah). The white is a six varietal blend (31% Gewürztraminer, 28% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Gris, 8% Riesling, 7% Erhenfelser, and 3% Viognier).

Wine and food pairings were a combination of current and soon to be added menu items.

Rocket Salad with citrus dressing, beets, pears, goat cheese coulis, and candied pecans

Wahoo Taco
Cedar Creek Winery Riesling
Straw-yellow with lime and lemon sorbet aromas. Light-bodied, crisp acidity, and lovely long flavours of lime, lemon, apple, and subtle floral blossom notes.  The wine is reminiscent of an Australia Riesling. This Riesling paired very well with the rocket salad but excelled with the wahoo fish taco. 

Little Rascal Next Door White 2011
Straw green with aromatic aromas of honeysuckle, banana, and mango. Light to medium-bodied, well balanced, and full of orange, melon, subtle rose, ginger, papaya, and banana notes. Excellent food and aperitif wine. 

 Fish Taco with grilled lime and coriander marinated Wahoo, mango and avocado salsa, and Valentina crema. 

Cedar Creek Pinot Gris
Straw green with grapefruit pith aromas. Medium-bodied, with flavours of grapefruit, apple,  subtle mineral, and citrus pith notes. Good texture and balancing acidity. The body of the wine was a reliable choice to pair with the richly textured Wahoo but the Riesling outshone with its structure and flavours.

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio with deviled eggs, crispy capers, and pickled red onion

Rascal Next Door Red 2011
Deep cherry colour with aromas of blackberry and savoury herbs. Medium-bodied, soft tannins, easy drinking structure and food friendly cherry, plum, and olive, and pepper flavours.

16oz Rib Eye

Signature Earls Rib Eye, 16oz bone-in Angus with a wet rub( olive oil, gluten free soya sauce, garlic, lemon juice,fresh herbs, and ground porcini.

Cedar Creek Signature Merlot 2007
Ruby purple with herbal notes and sweet spice and oak resin on the nose. Medium-bodied, good concentration, and lush flavours of plum, sweet spice, oak, subtle mint, and hints of cocoa.

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