The Whiskey tasting was held at the Westin Grand with Bruce Campbell of the Scotland from Home campaign. A funny guy who tries to convince the world that he can make as good a whiskey as the pro’s in 5 minutes. Obviously this is impossible, and as such the time honoured tradition of making whiskey is seen as the only way. A smart, tongue in cheek campaign.
We tasted through a bunch of whiskey’s and some ‘lucky’ attendees got to taste some of Bruce’s special brew. On the left here you can see Gentleman Chris Rawlinson taking a glass. His reaction to this ‘instant whiskey’. *cough* *splutter"* “Jaysus!”. I am not sure if the 20 mini burgers he went on to eat was an effect of the Campbell Classic.
It was a fun little event, and the comedy from Bruce helped break up the tasting and kept everyone from nodding off. There was some swag as well. Although most of mine was hijacked by the restaurant staff when I got back to work. I managed to hold on to the bottle of Johnny Walker. Whoring FTW.
From my barstool
I like the place. It offers 100+ wines by the glass, which are dominated by local wines with a few international offerings. It’s not exactly a bargain spot, but the selection is good. I will write up a proper review next week with a tasting of some of the wines along with prices.
With a glass of Mullineux White 2009 in me I was off to Anatoli in Greenpoint for a dinner served with some Nederburg wines. I hadn’t tasted through Nederburg’s wines in awhile so I was looking forward to giving them a swallow. Anatoli is a Turkish restaurant run by Tayfun Aras who has become good friends with Nederburg wine maker Razvan Macici of Romania. They found that they had many national dishes in common, so the idea of having a dinner prepared by Tayfun paired with wines by Razvan came about.
We started with the Nederburg Winemaster’s Chenin Blanc 2009 which was made from Durbanville and Darling fruit, with a portion barrel fermented. It started off a little sweaty but this soon blew off. The nose gave some rich pear notes with a touch of toasty oak. The palate was full of tropical fruit and some buttery flavours underneath. The oak gave a creamy edge but the acidity was fresh and bright which balanced the wine nicely. I was slightly disappointed when the wine warmed up a little as the alcohol started to rear its head a little aggressively. The wine was paired with meatballs in a walnut sauce which was spot on; the food enhanced the fruit flavours of the Chenin and the nuttiness of the sauce worked with the creamy texture of the wine.
Next up was the Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling 2010 with a mezze platter. This wine is very young and rather tight and shy. The residual sugar of 7.2 g/l is mopped up by the puckering acidity. This created a light footed sweet/sour experience on the palate. Despite its youth and lack of complexity (at the moment) this the acid sweetness aspect makes for a scrumptious little number.
The main course, riblets served with courgettes stuffed with burghul and tomato, was served with wines I have been wanting to try for some time; the Ingenuity White 09 and Red 07. The white is a blend of 8 different varieties. You ready? Here they are: Sauvignon blanc (30%) from Groenekloof and Durbanville; Chardonnay (25%) from Durbanville and Paarl; Semillon (15%) from the Philadelphia area; Chenin Blanc (15%) from Darling and Stellenbosch vineyards, Nouvelle (6%) from Paarl; Riesling (5%), and a splash of Viognier (2%) and Gewürztraminer (2%) from Durbanville and Paarl. All are vinified separately and then blended.
Whoah! four and a half lines of components. The reason I went through the painstaking task of copying and pasting them here is that you can feel the wine is made from all of this. I am not saying I could have picked all 8 blind, but the wine has a ‘this-way-and-that’ character. It is fresh and rich, floral and grassy, tropical and taught. I found a slight nittiness, with some sweet apple on the palate as well as floral peachy flavours and a wonderfully refreshing acidity. I really liked this wine. It wears it’s tutu with stripy leggings, Doc Martins and a tweed blazer , but still manages to be cool, sexy even. My wine of the evening.
The red impressed me less. Nicknamed the Italian it’s a blend of Sangiovese (45,5%), Barbera (45,5%) and Nebbiolo (9%) grapes. I enjoyed it, but it just seemed less characterful than the white, a touch flat. There was some sour cherry and leather on the nose which followed through to the palate. The tannins were fine and the acidity refreshing. This all sounds good. I’m not sure what it was that didn’t sit right with me. I tasted and re-tasted, and was simply underwhelmed. It packed a punch, but a somewhat sluggish one, it needs to do some skipping, get lighter on its feet, but still be as big and bold.
Finally there was the Wine Maker’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2009 which was poured generously, and drank even more so by me. I love sweet sticky wines. This one has all the dried apricot, apple and honey goodness that makes NLH’s so decadent and dastardly delicious. It’s not shy with 220 g/l of residual sugar but is well balanced by the acidity. Young, tasty and sticky. A vinous Lolita perhaps. Come to think of it I have the right initials for that comparison.
I finished off the evening back at French Toast with a glass of LBV 2005 Port from Dirk Niepoort whom I shall be writing about in the next instalment of “Harry drinks through Europe” as I spent a week with him in the Douro.
The evening was finished by trying to tell my fortune from the grounds left over in my cup of Turkish coffee. The cup is turned upside down onto the saucer and left for a minute before being righted, and the patterns on the side are supposed to give you a glimpse into your future. I got a man with a beard. Hmmmm, it is Movember.