Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maybe I made the wrong choice?

Tonight was the Loire Gourmet dinner, and I must say that Im not really very happy about it. To start with I have a stinking cold, so I have generally been unable to smell anything other than the thick green snot that is cloging my aching sinus's (sinii?). Last year when we planned this calendar, I had costed the dinner based on a preliminary selection of the wines from Yapps list. I always try to overcost the dinners, that way Im allowing for any price increases, tax changes etc that come in to play, especially when you consider that these events are planned nearly a year in advance. In fact Im working on next years calendar now. About a month ago I first discussed the wines that I had considered showing with our account manager from Yapp, and we made a few tweaks, adding a new wine that they had sourced to the line-up and swapping out one of the reds that she felt wouldnt do justice to the evening. Now overall I was quite happy with the selection. We started out with a Cremant de Loire Rose which went down quite well with most of the folks. The first wine with the meal was a Muscadet, which overall got a good reaction, except from the "foodies", the folks who I know are quite into their food and wine. Part of me wonders whether this is a snobbery/perception issue, because certainly Muscadet had its boom in the eighties before becoming naff and unfashionable, not to mention that the market was flooded with some quite poor examples. Have the foodies dismissed it based on its history? It seemed to me that those people who were experiencing it for the first time really seemed to enjoy it. Who knows for sure.
We then went on to a Reuilly, which was possibly the most popular wine of the night. Much more aromatic and packed with flavour it certainly seemed to be going down well. The first red was a St Nicholas de Bourgeil which wasnt very well recieved when it was poured, but with the food (Lamb with spiced aubergine) everyone raved about it. The second red was a Menetou Rouge which we served slightly chilled (half an hour on ice, ten minutes off the ice) which it seemed people didnt get. We had some interesting debate about the temperature red wines should be served at. Again I wonder at the perception of temperature issue, and I feel that we did the right thing there, I was happy with the temperature it was served at. Then we come to the dilemma.
When we worked out the wines for tonight, I had a choice for the dessert wine of a Vouvray Molleux or a Jasnieres. I chose the Jasnieres as it was that bit more obscure and I thought it was something people wouldnt really get the chance to try. The variation between bottles was quite alarming, and Hannah wasnt very helpful when she said that the producer was a bit of a maverick who pretty much did his own thing and wasnt really bothered about the fact that there was so much variation. Nice to know AFTER it was poured!!! Perhaps it would have been more helpful to know BEFORE we chose the bloody wine!!! But then its always easy when you have 20/20 hindsight. Next time I shouldnt try and be the smartarse, and just stick to the conventional.


Alex said...

I don't know - some people go to those types of dinners to try new and different things, and so would be disappointed to turn up to a flight of Sancerre & Pouilly Fume. Stick to the unsafe!

grazza said...

Maybe it was my cold, but it seems that I was suffering from a big dose of self-doubt on the night. While I still personally dont feel that the evening was a good one, the guests all seemed to enjoy it and the feedback was all positive, and ultimately I guess that is really all that matters.
The self-doubt is not really helped by the fact that at the moment I am struggling to come up with new and interesting ideas for next years gourmet calendar. Any help?