Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chivite Gourmet

Tonight is the Chivite Gourmet night, and two weeks ago it was looking a bit grim. We were facing the prospect of doing a gourmet night with 16 covers, only ten of which were paying. Through a hefty dose of luck and some perseverence weve managed to get 45 bums on seats tonight, of which 12 are freebies. Im happy with that.

Marife Blanco from Chivite has flown over from the Pro-Wein festival in Germany today to host the evening. Ive literally just finished decanting the reds and got changed, and Ive got to get back as the first guests have started arriving.

We are starting off with the Gran Feudo Rosado, which is 100% Garnacha (Grenache). Almost a flourescent pink in colour, this is Spains best selling Rosado. Light, fruity with rosehips and raspberries on the nose, its very dry with a hint of a spicy finish. I can guess that this would be great drinking ice cold on a hot beach with the sun blazing down on you.

The first course is being paired with the Gran Feudo Chardonnay, a fresh style of white, stainless steel tank fermented, from Navarra. The nose would suggest a touch of oak about it, but Im going to put that down to the wines maturity (two years old). Thats going with a Paella Negra (Black paella - coloured with squid ink), mussels, clams and spiced squid. with a lobster bisque.

The intermediate course is a carpaccio of tuna with a salsa of cucumbers, pepper and mediterranean herbs served with a hot red pepper gazpacho. We are pairing that with the Vina Salceda Rioja Crianza 2002. Ripe red fruit on the nose, this put me more in mind of a Beaujolais Cru - a Morgon perhaps than a Rioja. I had to really sniff the wine to find those raw meaty aromas I usually associate with Rioja. I reckon this is going to be the best match of the menu.

For the main course chef has paired an Assiette of Veal - braised cheek, tongue, pan fried sweetbreads and roasted fillet, with creamed ceps, with the Coleccion 125 Reserva 2000. Tempranillo with a dash of Cabernet and Merlot from the Navarra blended together. After double decanting this one, I reckon they should meld well together.

Weve stuck the Conde de la Salceda Rioja Reserva 2000 with the cheese course - a poppy seed tortilla with manchego cheese. This wine is my favourite of the wines tonight. Rich, opulent flavours, with a meaty backbone and spicy tobacco notes. But still fresh with fruit, and a good clean acidity at the finish. That Manchego cheese dont half hum when its melted!!

We finish the evening with the Dulce de Moscatel dessert wine, served with a vanilla panna cotta with ginger crisp and tropical fruit. Weve got mango, plums, melon and pomegranite seed all in there, with a pineapple ravioli and passionfruit. The wine is like opening a tin of fruit cocktail - grapey fruit flavours with an almost syrupy quality to it. Fresh and simple with enough acidity to clean right through the creamyness of the panna cotta. I dont like dessert wines, but this is gonna be such a winner. Even cheffie loves it.

So thats it, should be good.

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