Saturday, 23 October 2010
The American Feast at Feast, Gorey 21st October 2010
"Arriving at Feast at mid-preparation time was actually a great time to arrive. I was able to see the restaurant slowly being turned into a scene in North America at Fall. Branches with beautiful Autumn-coloured leaves were carefully placed around the restaurant and the different colours were highlighted by candlelight. While all this preparation was going on, I was opening the bottles to make sure that all the bottles that were to be served were showing well.
Guests ready for their American Feast arrived in small groups and were served a glass of bubbles on arrival. The small bubbles of the Valentin Bianchi Extra Brut Sparkling N.V. were delicate on the tongue and the biscuit aromas came through strongly. Finishing dry, it was such a great complement to the corn fritters (they were soft pancakes style but had a great crunch to them when you bit into them) and the crunchy, mild pepperiness of the chicken wings. With positive reactions all round, it was a good note to start the evening on.
Laurraine from Feast introduced the evening and gave the diners some background as to where the inspiration for the food had come from and why. As the guests were served their next wine, the Frog’s Leap Chardonnay 2007, and their starters of classic Caesar Salad, I started to lead them on their wine journey through the Americas. Starting in Argentina for the bubbles, we moved north to America, California specifically, for the Chardonnay. With this Chardonnay - considered to be the best that Frog’s Leap have made - you could really see their philosophy of letting the wine show itself rather than the winemakers trying to impose characteristics on the wine. It was a bold Chardonnay, perfect to match the dressing and complement the acidity of the anchovies!
Our journey stayed in California for our next two wines. The Seghesio Zinfandel “Sonoma County” 2008 was simply gorgeous! Touching on how challenging 2008 had been for the Seghesio winery weather wise and how they had spent time and energy on reducing the impact of the unevenly-ripening zinfandel grapes at various stages in the whole wine making process, we tasted and could see how their dedication had paid off in the form of numerous awards. The big, fruitiness of this wine was definitely set to enhance our main course of Loin of Venison with American black cherry and chocolate sauce.
The other red wine served to match this main course was the Lyeth Merlot “L de Lyeth” 2007. This wine is primarily a Merlot but also has a portion of Cabernet Franc to boost fruit flavour and Malbec to give structure and tannins. One of my favourites in this price bracket, it certainly showed more of its tannins than the Seghesio on the night but its fruitiness still came through and worked amazingly with the sauce.
Overall, there appeared to be more fans of the Seghesio than the Merlot in the room but there were also a few true Merlot fans who just loved the Lyeth!
The final leg of our journey took us south to Chile where the Valdivieso Botrytis Semillon “Eclat” 2007 is made. The Central Valley in Chile has perfect condition for the development of Noble Rot – moist atmosphere, right temperature – on the 100% Semillon grapes that are used to make this wine. I thought that the golden colour and sweet honey aromas made this wine incredibly inviting and the grapefruit and gentle lemon on the palate came through well to make this a perfect accompaniment for the walnut and pecan praline pumpkin pie with whipped maple cream. I knew I had been in food & wine heaven for the evening and I was sure everyone else had been too!
Huge thanks to Anne and the wonderful team at Feast for a wonderful evening!