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Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social
New world wines are sometimes criticised (usually by the French!) for overwhelming subtle Michelin-starred food but award-winning blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff of Cooksister found much to admire when she attended an Errazuriz food, wine and photography evening at Pollen Street Social.
"We kicked off with three amuse-bouches on which to practise our smartphone photography" Jeanne reports: "soft cooked Italian egg with tomato fondant, mushroom purée, potato foam and bacon powder, venison terrine crostini and a spoonful of lobster, apple, fennel and avocado which went particularly well with the Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc we’d been handed on arrival - the food brought out a pronounced gooseberry flavour in the wine which was quite delicious.
This was followed by another round of amuse-bouches consisting of puffed pork skin with seaweed salt, parmesan biscuits with smoked tomato chutney and fennel seed crackers with ricotta - with the intensely flavoured biscuits and smoky chutney being my runaway favourite.
With our delicately beautiful starter of Colchester crab salad rolls with coriander pineapple, shiso leaf, compressed fennel and espelette pepper we sampled the 2013 Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc again (13% alc, RRP £12.49) - a clear pale yellow with a hint of green; a rich nose of gooseberries, cut grass and green tomato; and a palate of tropical fruit (guavas, passion fruit) but well balanced by good structure and acidity andAconcagua Costa single vineyard wild fermented Chardonnay 2011 (13.5% alc, RRP £15.99). This wine spent 10 months in oak and it certainly shows in the rich golden colour! I loved the opulent nose of apricot and creamy vanilla scents and the rich mouthfeel. Nevertheless, the palate is not over-oaked nor as overwhelmingly creamy as the nose might suggest but rather balanced and elegant with notes of citrus and minerality to match the ripeness.
The Chardonnay was definitely my favourite match with the crab rolls, having enough complexity to stand up to the more strident flavours of the dish without overwhelming the more subtle ones.
For our main course we had perfectly pink Lake District rack of lamb, a fritter of braised lamb shoulder, fregola pasta in basil, olive powder, artichokes and more of that fabulous smoked tomato chutney. To match this, we tried two of the estate's reds:
· Aconcagua Costa wild fermented Pinot Noir 2011 (13.5% alc, RRP £24.00). An odd, slightly foxy or wild nose, but with good colour for a Pinot Noir, the wine was less full-bodied than I had expected, with a subtle spiciness soft tannins. It made a good match for the lamb though, emphasising the subtle gamey notes in the meat.
· Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Syrah 2011 (14% alc. RRP £19.99) This was by far my favourite red wine of the night with its deep inky purple colour and rich dark berry nose reminiscent of Ribena for grown-ups. The palate was equally lush and appealing, full of the autumnal flavours of ripe blackberries and blackcurrants, but with soft vanilla notes and hints of Christmas spices with a long finish. For me, though, this was a sipping wine rather than a food wine as food took the edge off the lush fruitiness and made the finish seem shorter.
With our cheese course of three cheeses (a Camembert-style cheese, a hard cheese along the lines of a Comté, and a third creamy soft cheese) together with crackers and homemade chutney we were served two of the estate's premium red blends:
· Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2008 - 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc 6% Syrah (14.5% alc. RRP £50). This was in total contrast to the heavy, perfumed Syrah - a far lighter colour and palate full of ripe red berries as opposed to dark berries, with peppery notes and lovely balanced tannins. It seemed a lighter wine than the Syrah, despite its higher alcohol and although I liked it, I did not think it was a great match for the cheese, which seemed to emphasise the wine's acidity.
· Kai Carmenère 2010 - 96% Carmenère, 4% Petit Verdot (14.5% alc. RRP £90) This had a deep, velvety purple colour and a nose with vegetal hints but also dark red fruits and fig preserve. On the palate, there were grippy tannins and good structure with restrained fruit and flavours of Christmas cake. I found this to be an outstanding match for the cheese which seemed to bring out lovely fresh fig and peaty whisky flavours in the wine. Lovely as it was, I do have to wonder who this wine is aimed at, with a price tag of nearly one hundred pounds?
As we sat around finishing the last of the wine, we were served a wonderfully light and refreshing dessert of mandarin sorbet topped with yoghurt cream and kafir lime shavings; and those of us who had the shortest journey home and could afford to linger the longest were also rewarded with glorious little warm financiers with a centre of raspberry jam, fresh from the oven."
DISCLOSURE: Jeanne attended this event as a guest of Errázuriz Estate and R&R Teamwork. All opinions are her own.
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