While we often see the term reserva or riserva promptly displayed on bottles of wine we rarely give it a thought, as to what the term really means. Does it indicate a better wine? And does Gran Reserva mean the content of the bottle is even better?
The wine experts from Arion Wine Company educated and entertained a number of bon vivants this weekend at a Reserve dinner party, at Ventanas del Mar Restaurant, answering all questions, and pairing a careful selection of reserve and grand reserve wines with the exquisite cuisine of executive chef Jim Rooseman.
As it turns out in Spain and Italy, “reserva” and “riserva“, are regulated terms controlled by law, ensuring that the marked wines enjoy some additional aging. In Portugal the same term indicates that the wine has an alcohol level of at least 0.5 percent above the regional minimum, and that it was made from a rated vintage. In South America, Chile for example, the term “Reserve” indicates that the wine has an alcohol level of at least 12% percent or more, and in Argentina, South Africa and the United States of American, surprise, the term has no indication at all!
Nevertheless, Chef Jim’s menu paired greatly with the wines selected among them Nederburg 2010, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa, with a Goat Cheese appetizer, served on a bed of arugula salad, escorted by spiced walnuts, apple julienne and French honey vinaigrette, followed by Veramonte 2009, Chardonnay Reserve, Casablanca Valley, Chile, paired with a Tuna and Salmon duo of sliced seared black peppered tuna loin escorted by a smoke salmon surprise, filled with salmon tartar and ginger infused cucumber.
The third course poured Castellani 2006, Chianti Reserve Tuscany, Italy, matched with a Carpaccio of raw thinly sliced tenderloin with warm mushrooms, duck liver curls, pine nuts, truffle cream cheese and port reduction, chase by Salentein 2009, Malbec Reserve, Uco Valley, Argentina, presented with Beef Tenderloin with bacon and sweet onion comfit, served with truffle mashed potato and red port sauce.
The terrific dessert pitched a Kendall-Jackson 2006, Late Harvest Reserve, Chardonnay, with Chocolate Perfection, a cup cake filled with dark liquid chocolate, harmonizing with a poached pear.
Ventanas del Mar Table Haut set outside in the tropical veranda, enhanced the unforgettable experience even further.