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The Polus diet


There are diets, and there are diets. I suppose that everyone is familiar with the classic food pyramid, that we were thought in school, containing greens and vegetables on the bottom (widest part that is, no derogatory meaning implied here), and oils and proteins on top.

Let’s be honest here, when serious wine is involved, the culinary priorities change radically. This is not to say that wine must be paired with unhealthy foods, it’s just that some foods match better with some wines, due to their natural affinity. It’s difficult for me, for example, to imagine myself candidly munching a shrimp salad with a larger-than-life Australian Cabernet, to give you an extreme pairing.

So, the pyramid below matches perfectly my wine-pairing habits. Bread goes with everything, the crustier the better, and is perfect to chew in between wines, to get rid of a lingering aftertaste. Proteins are a must too, and the rule of thumb would be more protein for the tannic wines. Cheeses always come handy, along with or instead of meats and cold cuts. I usually try to avoid pizza, as I can often build my own interpretation of bread-cheese-meat-sauce dish.

Therefore, for a muscular, young and suculent Tempranillo, what better match than a lasagna?

Finca “ La Llana” forms part of the estate belonging to the Bodega Loli Casado, a small family-owned producer in Rioja Alavesa, Northern Spain, that is also producing their own olive oil! Wine-wise, they are producing all the three quality ranges allowed by the Rioja DOC rules: Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva. In 2005 they started experimenting with producing single-estate and single-variety wines, instead of the traditional blends. For this, they used their oldest vineyards (up to 75 years), like the case of this 2011 Polus, 100% Tempranillo from Finca „la Llana” vineyard.

2011 Polus, Bodega Loli Casado, Rioja

2011 Polus, Bodega Loli Casado, Rioja

Polus is their top-tier wine range, and comes in different styles: various blends of Tempranillo, some single-variety wines made of Tempranillo and Graciano, as well as a sweet and a white. I have acquired this bottle of Polus during my visit in Rioja as part of the #DWCC. It was available at one of the most impressive wine stores I have ever visited.

Spanish wine

Spanish wine

This particular Polus is a 100% Tempranillo, made from grapes manually selected from 75-year old vineyards, followed by crushing and fermentation in open French-oak barrels, with manual pigeage, and then malolactic fermentation with lees. The maturation takes place for 12 months in new French oak barrels, followed by another minimum 12 month of bottle resting.

Polus 2011

Tempranillo and lasagna

 It has a deep dark ruby red color, very young and lively, and a bouquet of forest fruit, in which tangy blackcurrant and softer blackberry notes blend with a slight smokiness.  On the palate you get fresh, acidly tangy dark forest fruits, together with the typical chewy tannins, dense texture and peppery finish.  Its medium body and potent tannins are nicely balanced by the clean fruitiness and the acidity.  

The Polus diet demands something rich in carbs, but also protein, flavorful but not overwhelming, and ideally without hard red meats. For me, a good companion was a homemade lasagna with smoked salmon. It provided enough chewiness to put to work those young tannins, while the proteins and the fat in the cheese and bechamel sauce paired nicely wit the fruity aromas. The subtle smokiness from the salmon was a bonus.

So, what’s your wine-pyramid?

7 comments on “The Polus diet

  1. adapukka
    20 Noiembrie 2013

    You know that old popular saying: one glass of red wine/day it’s pure healthy?

    • Mihai Oprea
      20 Noiembrie 2013

      I think you can go as far as half a bottle without worrying🙂

  2. slowaholic
    20 Noiembrie 2013

    This wine pyramid is sooo unhealthy, it scares me.😀
    I don’t have one. I very rarely drink wine. Not because I don’t like it, though.

    • Mihai Oprea
      20 Noiembrie 2013

      It’ s scary only if you apply it every day… i use it more like 1-2 times per week.

      • slowaholic
        20 Noiembrie 2013

        As long as it makes you happy and doesn’t make you ill, it’s ok. All good things in life are either immoral, illegal or fattening.🙂

        • Mihai Oprea
          20 Noiembrie 2013

          Very true🙂

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