On Wednesday 14th November, a few members of the Majestic Marketing team took the daunting elevation to the 31st floor of One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf to host a 5 course food and wine matching dinner.
We love food and wine matching, it’s like playing cupid, but without the bow and arrow or the distinct lack of clothing – ‘Ah, Mr Barbera D’alba, you must meet Mrs game terrine? Doesn’t she look resplendent in rocket.’
Once we’d peeled ourselves away from the floor to ceiling windows overlooking London, and more specifically the Millennium dome, it was down to business. Palettes had been cleansed by frothy Prosecco La Marca Cuvee and waiters were serving the aforementioned terrine to the guests. It was dished with parsnip beignets and winter truffle.
The wine we chose for this course was Barbera D’Alba 2011 ‘Mommiano’ Marco Porello. This starter required a wine with really good acidity to cut through the fatty meat and the rich creamy beignets, yet because of the subtlety involved we didn’t wish to have too much tannin. This superb, rich, soft Barbera from northern Italy was spot on. The flavours of red berry fruits matched very well with the game, and it had a rustic disposition that chatted to the truffle.
The second course was spiced soft shell crab, buckwheat noodles and mango, which went very very nicely with Riesling ‘Les Princes Abbés’ 2009 Domaines Schlumberger. Spice is difficult to match, especially with a dry wine, yet we felt this Riesling had the body and concentration to hold its own. The wine had a lot of tropical fruit which took care of the mango, while a real zesty, dry minerality highlighted the battered crab. Luckily the dish was spiced by a subtle hand and therefore didn’t overpower – anything more and we’d have needed a sweeter bottle.
Course three was roast partridge served with celeriac, curly kale and elderberries. This went hand in hand with Gevrey Chambertin 2010 Domaine Paul Crozier. Like with the terrine, this hunters dream needed a wine with soft tannins. We paired a Gevrey Chambertin as it’s a classic Burgundian Pinot Noir. An inspired choice, it showed an earthy note which bolstered the gamey flavour, a vibrant red fruit in youth that sang with the elderberries and a beautiful silky texture which intensified the luxurious feel of the bird.
Course four, in traditional French fashion, was cheese. ‘Saint Maure’ Goats cheese to be precise, served with pine nut crackers and pickled beetroot. It was ruminated over with Sancerre 2011 Domaine Vacheron. A simple rule for matching wine and food is to choose both from the same place. There are numerous examples, but few that work as vividly as Sauvignon Blanc and goats cheese from the Loire Valley. The minerality and body of the Sancerre went so well with the corresponding character in the cheese, both coming to life under each other’s auspice.
The fifth and final course was moist clementine cake with a citrus salad and cardamom ice cream. The wine chosen was ‘A Sticky End’ Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2010. The trick with desert is finding a wine with comparable sweetness, and for citrus deserts such as this there are few better pairings than a noble Sauvignon. It had lashings of acidity to complement the citrus sponge, a medium sweetness which held the dish and wine in harmony, and a concentration of rich, pure, tropical fruit flavour that provided a delicious counterpoint to the cardamom ice cream.
The dinner was an excellent representation of how the right wine can really enhance even the most complex dishes. At Majestic this is what we do, so if you’re after the perfect pairings for your dinner party our store staff will be more than happy to suggest some ideal bottles.
Oh Yes, I’d love a coffee thanks…