On Tuesday night I was invited to a dinner & wine tasting pairing dinner. It was hosted by Jacob's Creek Wines and they were pairing their Reserve Wines with a tasting menu created for the evening by the executive Chef at The Hempel Hotel. While I LOVE fine dining and consider myself a bit of a foodie... I know absolutely ZILCH about wine. And to be completely honest... I am not a huge fan. My philosophy has always been that I'd rather eat my calories rather than drink them. I do love Champagne and can't resist a good cocktail every now and again, but I usually don't reach for wine.
(Well, unless we're having dinner at the Leather Bottle... where I'm fairly certain they put crack into their house white.)
Not only did I come away from the evening knowing more about wines generally, I came away as a new fan of Jacob's Creek.
The room we were in was cozy. Quaint and beautifully set up. There were big easels with pictures of the different regions that the wines hailed from. Also? We had six glasses out to try 6 different Jacob's Creek reserve wines.
The evening started off with the Chef giving us an overview of the menu and a brief discussion of local/sustainable ingredients he used. I always appreciate that even if it makes me feel a little bit pretentious because I think is honestly tastes better to eat local ingredients and is better for you!
This was Adrian Atkinson from Pernod Ricard who guided us through the wines and gave us the really interesting background story of Jacob's Creek. He was fantastic and patient and answered every dumb question I could come up with...
Like, "You make riesling? I thought only German winemakers make riesling!?*
*Ahem. Turns out that isn't true... Not even a little bit.*
The servers poured our first glass of wine... Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling 2010.
The chef paired with with Roasted diver Isle of Mull Scallops, Smoked black pudding, red onion jam and micro salad. The flavors were amazing and the wine was the perfect accompaniment. Apparently riesling goes well with shellfish and other "clean" foods. WHO KNEW? I thought Rieslings were sweet and went with dessert but turns out this was really dry and not too sweet at all.
The second course was a little slice of heaven on a plate. Heritage Beetroot salad with Staffordshire Innes goat cheese, hazelnut, mustard leaf and it was paired with my FAVORITE wine of the night: Jacob's Creek Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010.
This dish was sweet and bright and fresh. The wine was equally as fresh and exciting. It wasn't too sweet but paired PERFECTLY with the goat's cheese and the sweetness of the beets.
To continue the tour de la deliciousness, the Chef next served up line caught wild Seabass with scottish girolles, jerusalem artichokes & vanilla oil. This was paired with the Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2010.
I don't like Chardonnay.
I still don't like Chardonnay.
This dish was ooookaaayyy- I found the vanilla oil a bit odd but the seabass was cooked to perfection.
Throughout the evening the lovely legit (Seriously legit) bloggers/foodies below kept things exciting by asking questions about the wines. I have to say... I'm lucky to have been included in such a great group of ladies.
Next was my favorite food/wine pairing of the night. Mushroom Consomme with soft boiled quail's egg and glazed chicken oysters, paired with Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinor Noir 2009.
This might be the ONLY red wine I have ever liked (well except this one obscure red from South Africa I had in London once a long time ago.) It was warm and buttery (well that's what I wrote down but I also was semi-drunk at this point so don't quote me on that) and perfect.
The consomme was equally outstanding. Mushroomy, salty... My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
And the yolk, y'all.
And it was at this point that my notes start to make no sense...
I can tell you that the last dish was a close second to the Consomme. It was Organic Rhug Estate Flat Iron Steak with roasted onions, braised leeks, and garlic mashed potato. It was paired with the Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2008.
Much like Chardonnay... I don't like Shiraz. This was spicy and bright, but I didn't love this wine. I'd pick the Pinot Noir over this any day.
*Two of my pretty dining mates*
*And this is how you know you are with a group of bloggers... Everyone whips out their huge cameras and their phones to tweet and snap shots. PS: This is how I also know I'm not a legit blogger. I ain't got no fancy camera to whip out. Just my iphone. And all it's 8 mp of glory.*
We ended the night with a selection of British and Continental cheese ad a glass of Jacob's Creek Reserve Cabernet 2009.
To be fair I only had a sip of the wine but it was lovely! I was stuffed and a little um, hazy. And I'm unclear on whether I liked the cheese. I mean... It's cheese. What is there not to like?
Note to self (and those of y'all who might want to do a similar dinner/tasting):
DO. NOT. DRINK. ALL. OF. THE. WINE. IN. EVERY. GLASS.
All in all it was a FANTASTIC evening and I learned SO much about wine generally and Jacob's Creek. I surprisingly really loved most of the wines. Who knew!
(I would share all my new found wine-owledge with you but, um, my auto-corrected notes on my iPhone are all sorts of incomprehensible. So just trust that now I'm a wine genius.)
(File Under: More Reasons I'm not a Legit Blogger.)
At £9.99 a bottle Jacob's Creek is affordable and simply dang good.
My picks are the Riesling, Sauvignon Blan and Pinot Noir.
Definitely give them a chance.
You will thank me.
(PS: The invisible bathrooms mentioned in the title? Well lets just say that it took pushing what appeared to be 4 different walls to find the bathrooms. The Hempel hotel is obviously too cool for me. I obviously need both a plastic sign hanging from the ceiling in addition to the little lady plaque on the door. This was ALL SORTS of awkward.)
*Many thanks to the pretty Alice from Weber Shandwick for inviting me and for Adrian Atkinson for being so amazingly knowledgeable and fun. Disclaimer: Although the dinner and wine were completely complementary all opinions and suggestions are completely my own.*