It’s not everyday you get to have dinner with a sixth-generation Spanish Vintner as renowned as Bodegas Osborne, but as unlikely as it seems, here I am graced with Rocio Osborne’s presence. Despite the fact that she’s the brand ambassador of her namesake wine, she’s supremely humble and friendly. In fact, she’s floating around like a gracious host and ensuring we’re having a lovely evening. And how could we not: Spanish wines are flowing and so too is the phenomenal Spanish food, courtesy of Chef Stuart Cameron and his staff at Patria.
It’s not everyday that I taste numerous wines and are captivated by each one… but here I am, unabashedly gushing about everything I savoured. It’s not only the grapes in the wine, there must be alchemy in the mix as well.
The evening begins with a trio of appetizers: Pan Con Tomate, 36 month Acorn- Fed Black Hoof Iberico Ham and Pimientos De Padron. We pick up the wafer thin meat and greedily eat it with the bread. The char on the peppers makes them a snack-attack sensation. To pair with our beginnings, we sip on Solaz ( a blend of their Cabernet Savingnon and Tempranillo). It’s a deep cherry colour with a clean taste. It’s light on the palate with soft tannins. It’s a great everyday, casual wine and fits perfectly with our appetizers.
To follow, a salad comprised of fennel, radishes, manchego and crispy artichokes. As well, fat nuggets of Spanish octopus that sit atop of thin potato coins & are finished with paprika and olive oil. Iberico Pork Flank in this trio steals the show. It eats like a steak with its tender, sweet flesh. It goes well with our Montecillo Crianza. It’s a smooth, mellow wine with a brilliant cherry colour. In order for it to receive the Crianza designation, the wine must be aged at least 1 year in oak bottles followed by another year in the bottle. What results is an oaky- licorice finish. The acidity in the wine provides a vibrancy on the tongue. It’s the ideal accompaniment to the pork we’re enjoying.
Then the mains are paraded out. They included Patata Bravas Con Huevo Frito, Wood Fired Rib Eye smeared with roasted garlic and Fresh Gulf Shrimp with garlic and parsley.
The Spanish style potatoes are nuggets of crispy delight in the mouth. It’s like an elevated hash resplendent with a runny egg yolk and spicy tomatoes. That swoon-worthy rib eye is succulently juicy and hearty. The stuff of dreams. A gorgeously charred crust and a soft pink flesh has everyone clamouring for more. The Gulf shrimp pop with brightness and helps to quell the richness of the steak dish. To stand up to this bold food, enter the Montecillo Reserva. Made with 100& Tempranillo grapes it a wine with spicy notes, vanilla and black fruits. It has a great structure that complements red meat.
The next wine does not have a food accompaniment. It’s decidedly special. The Montecillo Gran Reserve Seleccion Especial 1994 is a gorgeously robust wine. With legs for days, it is incredibly complex. At first, it was overwhelming to my taste buds, but eventually you can pick up the multilayered beauty of the wine. In particular, the musky-oaky sentiment. But, it hasn’t lost its red fruit aromas. It’s depth and long finish make it ideal for long term cellaring as well. While every other wine I’ve mentioned is available at the LCBO, lamentably– this one is not. However, you can visit their website and order online by the case.
The evening draws to a close with two sweets and savouring sips of the Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva. The dark amber colour is alluring; as well, the creme brulee notes and coffee on the palate. It’s not a tame drink by any means! To pair with we get classic churros with dulce de leche as well as Coffee ice cream layered with nut wafers, spice cream, black olives and marmalade. I adore the saltiness of the olives. It plays so well off of the Reserva and the coffee ice cream.
Since 1772, as one of the oldest family of businesses in the world, Osborne Winery still prides itself on bottling the finest Spanish wines. They first began with sherry and expanded into red and white wines. Today, they continue to produce authenticity and quality. If you haven’t tried their wines before, I urge you to do so.
Photos by Tiffany Leigh