Showing posts with label wine matching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine matching. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Getting to know Lugana and Valpolicella wines

Lugana & Valpolicella at Savoy Grill London

Onwards with my wine education, I was recently introduced to the Italian wines of Lugana and Valpolicella over dinner at the iconic Savoy Grill in London.

Lugana wines are relatively unknown in this country, but the Consorzio Lugana D.O.C. is making an effort to raise their profile here in the UK.  I was invited to a delicious meal at The Savoy Grill to get to know about Lugana and Valpolicella by UK Sommelier Association.

Lugana is located in northern Italy, in and around the territory of lower Lake Garda. It's a gorgeous place, I've seen pictures, with vineyards ringing the lake and the Italian Swiss Alps in the background. They mainly produce white wines made with the Turbiana grape, which is a variant of Trebbiano. The wine is classified into five designations, 'basic', the Superior, Riserva, Vendemmia Tardiva and Spumante.

The 'basic' Lugana D.O.C. makes up 90% of the production and gives wines that have an intense and delicate bouquet with notes of almonds, white flowers and citrus. On the palate, it is dry, fresh and refined.

Lugana & Valpolicella at Savoy Grill London

At the Savoy Grill, our first course was Fresh Crab Avocado Salad with crème fraîche and was paired with various Lugana whites. I found the wines to be smooth and elegant, a far cry from your usual Pinot Grigio.

Our next few courses were matched with wines from the Valpolicella DOC. Valpolicella is also located in and around Lake Garda as well as having proximity to Verona and Venice.

The UK is one of the top markets for Valpolicella. It's commonly found in your local supermarket, but there is much more to it than that.

The wines are divided into three separate categories. There is the  Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso and  Amarone della Valpolicella.  The sweet red wines  are known as Recioto della Valpolicella. The main grapes used for the blend are Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Each wine is made in a distinct style, and they vary wildly from light and fruity to dark.

The Valpolicella Classico is a blend of the three grapes and is vinified in the usual red wine making method. Ripasso is made by macerating the wine with fermented marc (grape brandy) and dried grapes that have already been used to produce Amarone and/or Recioto. Amarone is made by drying the grapes for up to 3 months before being vinified into wine. Finally, Recioto is a sweet red wine perfect for dessert.

These are gastronomic wines, mostly being strong and robust, they need dishes that can stand up to their intensity.
Lugana & Valpolicella at Savoy Grill London
The second course was Steak Tartar with Caviar, slow cooked egg yolk and Parmesan cheese. It was paired with Valpolicella Classico and the Valpolicella Ripasso. The wines were real powerhouses with a long finish, smooth tannins with balanced acidity and structure.
Lugana & Valpolicella at Savoy Grill London
The main was Venison Wellington with Salt Baked Celeriac and bitter chocolate sauce. It was paired with the Amarone della Valpolicella. The wine has an illusion of sweetness, being full bodied with hints of dried fruits, firm tannins and high acidity. Be careful with them because they are ka-pow!

Savoy Grill London
Black Forest Trifle with pistachio brittle at The Savoy Grill 

Lastly, we had the Recioto della Valpolicella which are the sweet red wines of the region matched with Black Forest Trifle with pistachio brittle. The dark chocolate and sour cherries of the Trifle were reflected brilliantly in the dessert, a fabulous way to end the evening.

Wines Tasted:
Consorzio Lugana
1) Lugana 2016 Bio, Az. Agr. Marangona
2) Lugana 2016, Conchiglia, Az. Agr. Citari
3) Lugana 2016, Az. Agr. Bulgarini
4) Lugana 2016, Vigneti Villabella
5) Lugana 2016, Gruccione, Az. Agr. Nunzio Ghiraldi
6) Lugana 2016, Limne, Az. Agr. Tenuta Roveglia
7) Lugana 2015, Brolettino, Az. Agr. Cà dei Frati
8) Lugana 2015, Fabio Contato, Az. Agr. Cà Maiol
9) Lugana Riserva 2014 Molceo, Az. Agr. Ottella
10) Lugana Superiore 2011 Madonna della Scoperta, Az. Agr. Perla del Garda

Consorzio Valpolicella


1) Az. Agricola Montetondo - Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2014
2) Az. Agricola Meroni - Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2010 "Il Velluto"

Valpolicella Ripasso

3) Corte Merci - Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore Ripasso 2015
4) Tenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve - Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore Ripasso 2014
5) Benazzoli - Valpolicella DOC Superiore Ripasso 2013

Amarone della Valpolicella

6) Vigneti di Ettore - Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2013
7) Cantina Valpantena - Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012 "Torre del Falasco"
8) Crosarola - Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012
9) Villa Rinaldi - Amarone della Valpolicella DOC 2003 "Corpus" (my favourite!)

Recioto delola Valpolicella

10) Villa Crine - Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG 2014 

Thanks to UK Sommelier Association, Consorzio della Valpolicella and  Consorzio Lugana DOC  for the opportunity to savour such delicious and elegant wines.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

France, Languedoc-Roussillon: Stylish stays and amazing eats with Pays d'Oc wines

As part of my Pays d'Oc wine adventure, a meal at Michelin-starred restaurant La Table de Saint Crescent and at Domaine Gayda happened to be on the cards as well as a very stylish stay at Château St Pierre de Serjac in Puissalicon and a quirky overnight at a barge/hotel.

A Michelin meal at La Table Saint Crescent

The restaurant La Table Saint Crescent( part of a former oratory from the Middle Ages) opened its doors for the first time in 1995 after a major refurbishment.  The imposing building is located on the outskirts of Narbonne, a town full of history, along with the Canal de la Robine.

Since 2008, when Chef Lionel Giraud took over the management of the kitchen, we were told that over the years the place has been continually refurbished, but always in keeping with the building's architectural history. The dining room is modern, light, airy and elegant. The service was when we visited was exceptional and very knowledgeable.

Our dishes and wine were perfectly matched with Pays D'Oc wines below:

Pays D'Oc wines served with our meal at La Table Saint Crescent

Mackerel in three citrus potato - liquid centre explosion of citrus juice

Dry olive, fruits and citrous sphere that was another fun explosion eat!

Crisp tapioca very finely sliced  monkfish chicks , sesame oil, wood vines on top

Pays d'Oc wine with our starters

Fish soup  - I loved it!  Super filling, very tasty and so pretty

Well, what can I say I ate almost all before taking the picture It was amazing!  Celeriac remoulade coffee from Ethiopia nuts mushroom and mustard leaf croutons

Lobster, Cabbage,  local fortified sweet red wine (Banyuls) reduction - This dish was paired with a full bodies red wine from Pays d'Oc -  - Yes, seafood and red wine and it worked a treat!
Palate cleanser : citrous meringue - refreshing and I thought that was dessert ....

Dessert: Light citrus ice cream with chocolate crumble and dark chocolate mousse berries and edible flowers - Chocolate is always a good idea!  a beauty of dish and delicious!
I really enjoyed this Michelin meal - highly recommended.  
La Table de Saint Crescent in Narbonne
T: +33 4 68 41 37 37

Dinner at Domaine Gayda in Brugairolles with Pays D'Oc wines

Located about 20km from Carcassonne, Chef Jean-Christophe Gille is serving delightful food in a very welcoming atmosphere with stylish decor and stunning views of the organic vineyards.   We were taken around the cellars by  Tim Ford, co-owner of  Domaine Gayda,  and his fabulous wife, Barbara.  We heard so many interesting histories of how they met, how Tim end up in Africa and Barbara eventually followed him.  I could've stayed at that table hearing the history of the Domaine and their own stories for days. It was a great dinner with fantastic food and great company.  I love learning and hearing the behind the scenes facts and anecdotes from the  wine producers.
The restaurant is beautifully decorated, quite modern and very spacious. Service was cordial. I was told they have a huge New Years Eve party every year. 

The meal 
All made in the premisses and look that branded butter
Pea soup and wasabi- light and refreshing

Brandade  and pickled onion - Brandade is a
emulsion of salt cod and olive oil this one had a sharp pickled onion on top - nice touch

Foie gras lentils bacon, Toast and cream horseradish paired with Gayda  Chenin Blanc - The sweet and sour of the wine cut through the fatty and delectable Foie and being a lentil lover I  really enjoyed this dish. Never thought of the combination of lentil, bacon and foie - always learning something different.

Mushroom and  Hazelnuts, cod,  fish eggs and mash olive oil - that mash potato was a dream... not for the fainted hearted.

Local beef, potato fondant, ceps and  celeriac paired with Cabernet Franc- Figure Libre 2015 - the wine cherry, cassis notes and spices. Elegant, full-bodied and perfect pairing with this hearty meat dish.

Apple chestnut cream (Creme de Marron) apple compote  and French toast nice looking dessert!

Cheeses: Comte,  bethmale, ewe coulommiers and quince - I enjoyed the local cheeses.

This place is a wine and food  lovers dream!

Domaine Gayda
Chemin de Moscou
11300 Brugairolles
Phone: +33(0)4 68 20 65 87

Stylish stays in the Languedoc-Roussillon to explore Pays D'Oc wines

Château St Pierre de Serjac in Puissalicon

Who wants to stay in a Château? A majestic Château estate overlooking its working vineyards, it features a hotel, a restaurant, a spa and luxury self-catering properties set in 200 acres of beautiful Mediterranean countryside in the Languedoc, South of France. The property has self-catering properties with private terraces and gardens, and some even come with private heated swimming pools. 

There's also a very swish restaurant and bar in the property serving Pays d'Oc wines too.  A very beautiful , stylish and peaceful place to stay in the region.

An underground cellar in the Chateau - Yes please!

Infinity pool overlooking the vineyard

My room

The view from my room
The restaurant at Château St Pierre de Serjac

Foie Gras, cherry and green apple

Juicy and tender beef tenderloin very nicely cooked for my taste

Alphonsia Maria Barge - chambres & tables d'hotes  in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone

The barge is almost a hundred years old, it's  an authentic Dutch vessel of 110 feet long. It was built in 1913 in the Netherlands and remained in service until 1998.

In its heyday,  it transported cereals along the small canals all over Northern Europe. Over the past 90 years, the ship has gone through various transformations. First, Alphonsia Maria was built as a sailing boat. However, in 1926, the main mast was taken down and replaced by an engine. Nowadays it's been modernised and is privately owned. It's used as unique accommodation with 4 bedrooms owned and catered by Yann LABAT. 

The barge is quite comfortable and very well equipped with all modern amenities. 
If you like quirky and different place to stay with charm this is a place for you! I loved it. 

They provide wi-fi, bicycles, fishing rods, balls of petanque and canoes as well as breakfast and evening meals. There is also a 150 sqm terrace with a swimming pool, solarium, couch and an outdoor dining area.

We had a Pays D'Oc wine tasting on the deck overlooking the Canal Du Midi with a splendid sunset as the background.  What could be more perfect? The local oysters for the aperitif were caught that morning just a few kilometres away. 

 The evening menu costs €28 and includes an aperitif, appetiser, entree,  and dessert (wine and coffee)
 Lunch from €15: Live oyster tasting, from the Bassin de Thau, delivered daily by the producer, salads and a board of prawns.
Transfers to airport or train station from €25.
I stayed in the "Madame Marguerite" room with a modern shower room including an excellent hair dryer! 
(all prices 2017)

Alphonsia Maria Barge
(nearest city Montpellier : 10 km)
t: +33 (0) 695827441

Disclosure: I was a guest of Pays D'Oc IGP. All opinions are my own.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...