One of the things we love about our local Willow on Wascana restaurant is the inventive tasting menu and wine pairings. When we heard they were holding a special “Night in Catalan” event featuring a Spanish winery, we were instantly all for it.

The vineyard at Suriol winery has been around for centuries, with the Suriol family farming it since the 1800’s, later owning it and finally selling the wine it under the family Suriol brand since the 1980s. Distinctively, the organic wine is aged in chestnut barrels (it gives no flavour – ensures the flavour comes from the grapes and not the barrel) and pesticides are not used. It was fascinating hearing about the motto of winery (you have to study all the rules to break all the rules) directly from the owner, Assis Suriol. We loved many of these distinctive and interesting wines, and ended up buying four bottles to take home and enjoy in the future.

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We were greeted at the door with a lovely Cava – this sparkling wine brought back a lot of great memories of our honeymoon in Barcelona and reminded us why we love Cava so much! We also got to enjoy a spectacular prairie sunset!

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As we were seated for dinner, our first course began with a very interesting white wine – the 2015 Els Bancals. This unfiltered white was lightly floral and unfiltered (meaning it was cloudy). With only 1300 bottles made, the 8 bottles available for sale were snatched up quickly! The wine paired perfectly with a lovely warm bean salad with smoked paprika and lemon gremolata.

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Our second course was a trio of toasts – oyster mushroom with broken egg, spicy lamb sausage with capers, and anchovy with chilli, arugula and toasted almond. The lamb toast was nice and spicy, but the anchovy toast was our favourite, wonderfully salty and balanced.

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The pairing of the 2012 Cava Rosat was incredible. New to a rose cava, we learned it was aged for 15 months without added sugar, and was a fruity and fresh wine that is naturally palette cleansing. We immediately ensured we had a bottle of this set aside for us to take home!

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The third course of pan fried sweetbreads was a bit of a let down, as the lemon polenta was a bit over done and the accompanied bacon jam overwhelmed the other notes of the dish. Perhaps it was because sweetbreads are not my favourite. It was paired with a lovely red wine, a 2015 Mataro.

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The main course of the night was a fantastic Romescada dish of mixed seafood and pickerel in a toasted almond and heirloom tomato broth with sourdough bread. Absolutely delicious! The surprise was that this was paired with a white Cava Collita 2001. It had honey tones and a deep golden colour, and was oxidized (so less fizzy). We also instantly snapped up this original wine to take home!

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Our final course of the evening was a fresh rhubarb and orange tart with lemon ice cream and balsamic glaze, paired with a Dolc dessert wine. What a wonderful end to a special evening!

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Along with the Cava Rosat and the Cava Collita, we also purchased another bottle of white and red – and we look forward to savouring these special wines in the future (while reminiscing about a great night and a region of spain we love so much).

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