I went for a glass of wine with a friend last night before a concert and ended up at one of the newer wine bars in Vancouver — Uva Wine Bar, which is part of the Moda Hotel. Italian place, as you can probably guess by the name, and full-on Italian wine list.
It was an interesting experience on a couple of fronts. It was the first time in a long time that I looked at a wine list and recognized few, if any of the wines by the glass! The varietals were familiar, yes, but not the producers. It felt strange but exciting!
As a result, I had to take a chance on a wine…not a big chance, since it was by the glass (although that turned into a couple of glasses, but anyway), but a chance all the same. So I picked an obscure wine I had heard of but actually never tried — Aglianico del Vulture from southern Italy. And my choice paid off!
It was dark purple and, while a little cold (out of one of those fancy wine preservation systems), a series of complex aromas began to arise out of the glass — earth, pepper, black fruit, and some herbs. That was followed by a big wine in the mouth, still fairly tannic, but with lots of earthy, meaty, black cherry flavours. Very, very nice indeed. I wish I had written down the producer (although I haven’t seen any Aglianicos in the stores in Vancouver).
The experience was a reminder that restaurants can be relatively safe, inexpensive way to take a chance on new wines. The worst case scenario is that you are out $10 on something that is average…but the upside is the discovery of a new wine experience!