Showing posts with label Leslie Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leslie Williams. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What to drink with Sushi? Answers At L’Atitude Event

What to drink with Sushi?
Answers At L’Atitude Event
Miyazaki magic


Cider? Wine? Sherry? Champagne? Which would win? These were the questions as this fun event, involving matching Sushi with various drinks, kicked off in the marvellous L’Atitude Wine Cafe in Cork last Wednesday. In the end an atypical Loire Sauvignon Blanc got the nod from the audience.


There was already one champion on the table as we entered and that was a plateful of delightful Sushi, skillfully prepared by Takashi Miyazaki, Cork and Ireland’s favourite Japanese chef. And what does the maestro himself drink with it? Well, saké, of course, after a beer or two! Saké, a natural match, wasn't in the line-up the other night. The omission was deliberate and that gave the others a chance.

Takashi (in front) with (l to r) Beverly, Leslie, Pascal, Paddy and Susan
Takashi had Seared Salmon (sesame oil added before the searing), Cured Salmon (tasted somewhat like the very best Prosciutto), Sea Bass (with salmon roe on top) and “Plain” Salmon (with green chilli, pepper, and salted to give it “a kick”) in his sushi selection.

Beverley of L’Atitude kicked off proceedings with a bottle of Cockagee Cider in her hands. “This is the champagne of ciders”, she declared. “I just love it. It's incredible, not overly tannic. A fine cider for some very fine sushi.”

And then came Leslie Williams, words flowing like bubbles at a West Ham game as he lauded the Devaux Rosé Champagne, made mainly with Pinot Noir grapes. “Its richness, that hint of sweetness, would work well with the sushi.” If in doubt, not that Leslie had any doubts,  “it has to be champagne”.
L'Atitude, No. 1 Union Quay.
And then, with hands in motion, Pascal introduced his natural wine, a Loire Sauvignon blanc by Alexandre Bain. “He makes wine like his grandfather did, not like his father did, and is the only grower in the area to allow malolactic fermentation. It is rounder, richer, creamier than the standard Pouilly Fumé. It is listed in a three star Michelin in Paris and paired with raw fish and pickled ginger!” The words plus, we believe, no little “practice” with Takashi, paid off in votes.

And then Paddy Murphy took up the cause of sherry. What else? His Manzanilla (La Guita) - “really a wine in its own right”- was bone dry and light with a saline character and paired with the sushi “should enhance the umami”. The Don Zoilo Amontillado was, said Paddy, “the king of sherry..with a slight richness, yet bone dry..savoury..tangy… should pair well”.  Indeed, both styles went down very well indeed among the voters but the two-wine strategy split the vote; both did well but neither got enough to win.
The noteworthy Champion
Susan Boyle sang the praises of her St Brigid’s Pale Ale and pointed to the hop bitterness “a key ingredient for this matching, not in any of the previous drinks”. She listed other local ingredients: barley and honey from their own hives. “It may be an unusual choice but I think it works particularly well. I’m saving the best til last so tick that little box!”

Ottolenghi tasted the beer at the recent LitFest and said it was “the bee’s knees”. Susan wasn't the only one to name-drop. In the end though, the audience went with Le Caveau Sauvignon blanc.
Two Many?
Really though, there were quite a few winners on a very enjoyable evening, including the punters. Well done to L’Atitude for their irrepressible enthusiasm and bubbling invention, to the five presenters, to our MC Colm McCan (he said he was using the south facing clock on Shandon Tower as a time-keeping aid - visitors had to be told that Shandon is known as the four-faced liar), and of  course to Takashi Miyazaki (whose famous must-visit takeaway is at the corner of Barrack Street and Evergreen Street).


Monday, May 23, 2016

Irish Craft Cider. A Litfest16 Event

Irish Craft Cider
A Litfest16 Event
Pete Brown, author of the World’s Best Cider, said the Irish craft cider scene is one of the most exciting right now. The ciders have “high juice content” and the makers “love their apples”. One of the most exciting yes, despite rankling under a very unfair tax regime that would seem to be designed to stifle innovation rather than encourage it.

Take Longueville House Cider Mór as an example. Because producer William O’Callaghan has added a wee spoon of brandy to his basic cider, the tax on Mór is five times the normal. Leslie Williams has raised the general issue many times, saying the current rebate system, which is very good for craft beer makes, is unfair on cider makers. The producers of an excellent wholly Irish product are being punished.

Leslie
So that's the sour notes out of the way. The rest of this panel discussion, the opening one in the Drinks Theatre at this year’s Ballymaloe Litfest, was focussed on five delicious ciders, five quite different examples, none of which would have been available just a few short years ago.

Pete Brown was joined on the panel by Leslie and by Caroline Hennessy, author of Slainte. 

They and the audience were welcomed to the “tractor shed” by Ballymaloe’s Colm McCan as we gathered to hail cider, the drink of the common people for perhaps 2,000 years, according to Pete.

Pete
Producer Simon Tyrrell introduced his Craigies 2013 Dalliance. Simon, well known for his wine background, says with Dalliance “we try to express the vinous side of cider”. He mentioned the terroir (Cappoquin Estate, sandstone). The apple blend is fifty fifty between Ekstar and Falstaff, both eating apples, and it spends 15 months on its lees.

Bright fresh fruit with extra creaminess here and you’ll note some cloudiness from the yeasts. Pete Brown said Dalliance proves you can make cider out of eating apples. And this is a good one.

“We use no chemicals at any point” said Rod Calder-Potts as he introduced his organic Highbank Proper Cider 2014. “We encourage microbial activity to counter any malign organisms...Cider makes itself..no sulphites...we put it in a barrell..local yeasts do the rest.”

This was bottled just last week by Con Traas, is 100 per cent apple and naturally dry. Pete loved the contrast between the first two ciders and confessed to being obsessed by yeast, at least with how the yeast converts sugar to alcohol! Leslie reminded us that, compared to beer makers, cider makers get just one chance per year.


And now Leslie introduced yet another type of Irish cider, Cockagee from County Meath. He did mention that there was “devilment” in the name but didn't go into the details. It is keeved, a process common in Brittany and Normandy and explained here on the Cockagee website.
Caroline
Pete said you can only shake your head with wonder that a process from the 14th or 15th century can still produce a “beautiful natural cider. In a blind tasting, I would class this as Breton and it would be a perfect match with crepes”. Caroline agreed but their hints for crepes went unheeded!

William O’Callaghan, as he introduced his Longueville Mór, disclosed that the first apples in their orchard, planted 25 years ago, were intended for apple brandy rather than cider and that their micro-distillery was the first such in ireland. William, a chef who trained in Normandy, started the move to cider there about two years ago.

The Mór is their regular cider with a drop of apple brandy that “gives it a nice little kick”. It fermented naturally with local yeasts and produced with no sulphite. It went down very well indeed and William is proud of it, quite rightly, “but that tax is a pain!”.  Caroline asked him what food would pair with it. On its own or maybe with cheese was the answer. I had it a week or two ago at a cider evening in Electric with fish and chips. Caroline herself was thinking Lemon tart!
The Ballymaloe five. Dead men.
We finished with the limited edition (6,000 bottles) Stonewell Tawny 2014. Daniel Emerson told us all about it: “it is a chapitalised dry hop cider..the natural sugar is supplemented with additional sugar and this raises the ABV… minimum aging is 12 months and there is an extraordinary range of flavours over the 12 months”. Lots of tasting, no doubt!

At the end of the process, the cider is “very sweet, like an apple ice-cider”. They decided to counteract this by passing it through Eldorado dry hops. The result was very good and the Tawny has “proved remarkably successful.” And we could all see why. Pete was delighted with it saying it reminded him of a Canadian Ice Cider, “beautiful’.

Overall, it was a great reminder of how far Irish Cider has come in a few years. Perhaps next a tasting of these five might be arranged for the Dail bar and a few home truths delivered at the same time, in the nicest possible way of course!

See also: Hops and Glory. Seven IPAs before breakfast. Only at LITFEST16
Irish Atmospherics at John Wilson Tasting. Mediterranean Island Wines in Spotlight. LITFEST16

Sunday, November 22, 2015

L’Atitude Hosts The Menu at Pieta House Fundraiser

L’Atitude Hosts The Menu at Pieta House Fundraiser
Joe's very happy with help from Derek (left) and Yoann (L'Atitude)
It was a good night in L’Atitude 51, with Joe McNamee (The Menu) and Leslie Williams (Examiner Wine Correspondent) in command, Joe in the kitchen, Leslie pouring a selection of wines. And all present, customers, L’Atitude owners and staff, joining together in supporting Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide.

Pieta House offers One to One counsellling, Family support, Self/Family/Friend referral, and Free professional therapy. Pieta House in Cork is at Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road and the phone number is 021 434 1400. See the contact details for other areas at www.pieta.ie
Beaujolais bán
Back to Joe and Leslie who gave us a great evening, good food and good wine and a large measure of craic, all made possible by the staff at L’Atitude and the sponsors. Check out the list below, a list that includes many of the top local producers.

Bubbles were served as we arrived. Not just any bubbles. Ours came from the Wiston Estate in the South of England. This Blanc de blancs is very highly rated and produced by Limerick winemaker Dermot Sugrue. The same bubbles also made an second appearance, perfectly accompanying the Oyster dish. There was a choice here as the Oysters came complete with a shot of the new premium vodka Kalak.
Leslie in action
Have to say O Risal by Terras Gauda has been one of my favourite Albarinos for a while now and I was delighted to see Leslie pour it when the Chicken and Dillisk broth arrived.

Thursday of course was release date for Beaujolais Nouveau and we were treated to a natural one. “This is from the Gamay grape, a wine for pleasure. So drink it and be happy,” exhorted Mr Williams as he poured. He is always full of surprises and one was his introduction of a white Beaujolais, quite a beauty too, made from Chardonnay by Jean Paul Brun.
Harty's Oysters
And soon we would have another unexpected twist from Leslie when he poured a Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 2012 Vintage Port to accompany the Beef Brisket. A lovely dish and a gorgeous port but did they go together? Opinion was divided!

No such divide though with the next pairing which saw Longueville House Apple Brandy matched with Tarte Tatin. A natural!
Tuna by Sally Barnes
And then a sad moment as we clinked glasses of Riesling in remembrance of Joe Karwig who died recently. The Willi Haag 2004 Riesling Spatlese, only 8% abv, was a terrific match with the Smoked Durrus Dote and the crackers from Sheridan’s.


Still not quite finished. An espresso cup of Golden Bean Coffee Halambo AA (custom-roasted for The Menu himself) was my finalé while CL went for the Kingfisher Teas Moroccan Mint Green Tea with Honey, a sweet drop indeed. And further sweetness at hand too as plates of Yoann’s Muscadine Truffles made an all too brief appearance.
Beef brisket (O'Mahony's Butcher)
PIETA HOUSE FUNDRAISER
L’Atitude 51, Union Quay, Cork
Thursday, November 18th, 2015

Miso & Saffron Butter, Sourdough Bread

Chicken, Dillisk, Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers

Bare Nekked Harty's Oyster/Harty’s Oyster, Kalak Vodka, Honey, Black Garlic Lime Mayo/
Rye Crisp, Mustard Crème Fraiche, Pickled

Cold-Smoked Loin of Tuna, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, Leaves, Radishes

Beef Brisket, King Oyster Mushroom, Oyster Mushroom, Leek, Radish, Cavelo Nero

Smoked Durrus Dote, Sheridan’s Brown Bread Crackers, Garden Cherries & Black Pepper

Tarte Tatin, Vanilla Ice Cream

Golden Bean Coffee Halambo AA (custom-roasted for The Menu)
Or Kingfisher Teas Moroccan Mint Green Tea, Honey
& Joann’s Muscadines Truffles

WINES DONATED BY
WINES DONATED BY
KARWIG’S Carrigaline, Marcus Gates
LE CAVEAU, Kilkenny, Pascal Rossignol
WINES DIRECT, Mullingar, Fionnuala Harkin
TAYLOR’S PORT Porto Chris Forbes
CLASSIC DRINKS Cork Steve Dwyer

PRODUCE SUPPLIED COURTESY OF …
OYSTERS
Joe Harty, Harty’s Oysters, Gortnadiha Lower, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
HERRING
Kirsti O’Kelly, Silver Darlings, Corbally Road, Limerick
KALAK VODKA
Patrick Shelley www.kalakvodka.com
MUSHROOMS, CEP OIL, CEP VINEGAR
Lucy Deegan & Mark Cribben, Ballyhoura Mushrooms
BEEF
Eoin O’Mahony, O’Mahony’s Butcher, English Market, Cork
COUNTRY BUTTER, CRÈME FRAICHE, YOGHURT
Alan & Valerie Kingston, Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague
SOURDOUGH BREAD
Declan Ryan, Arbutus Bread, Mayfield, Cork
VEGETABLES, LEAVES, HERBS
Derek Hannon, Greenfield Farm, Knockraha, Co Cork
CHICKEN, EGGS
Tom Clancy, Ballycotton Free Range Poultry, Ballycotton, Co Cork
SMOKED TUNA
Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery, Castletownshend
CHEESE
Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese, Durrus, Sheep’s Head, West Cork
BLACK GARLIC
Bryn Perrin, West Cork Garlic, Enniskeane
SHERIDANS’ BROWN BREAD CHEESE CRACKERS
Jane & Richard Graham-Leigh, Cookies of Character, Dunmanway
ICE CREAM
Marcus Hodder, Yum Gelato, Crosshaven, Co Cork
APPLES
James Scannell, Knockmealagula Orchard, Ovens, Co Cork
COFFEE
Marc Kingston, Golden Bean Coffee Roasters, Ballymaloe
MOROCCAN MINT GREEN TEA
Mico & Colm Hassett, Kingfisher Teas, Co Wexford
PREMIER CATER HIRE / NATIONAL EVENT HIRE CORK

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Port, Sherry, Madeira. All treasures. Each superb in its own right.

Port, Sherry, Madeira. All treasures. Each superb in its own right.
The Fortified Wines Event at Ballymaloe LitFest.

Mightn't look like it but they are singing from the same hymn sheet!
Raymond Blake (left) and Tom Doorley in the Tractor Shed

Wine writer Raymond Blake, a convert in the cathedrals of Jerez, led the Fortified Wine Choir that  Ballymaloe Colm McCan assembled for Sunday’s event in the Drinks Theatre. Blake urged us all to join the crusade and keep these “legacy wines” in a strong position, warning that if they are lost, they will never again appear, as the unique circumstances that gave rise to their creation will never be repeated. “These are treasures”, Raymond preached. “And each is superb in its own right.”

The treasures for tasting in the converted Tractor Shed included two white wines, an En Rama Fino by Gonzalez Byass and a Dry White Port from Taylor’s. Later came the two reds: the Madeira and a Taylor’s Tawny. The other members of the choir were Leslie Williams, Chris Forbes, Tom Doorley and John Wilson and they all sang from the same hymn sheet urging us, among other things, to serve these fortifieds in a wine glass, underlining that these are real wines.

“En Rama is becoming popular,” said Raymond. “But it is a bit untamed, Fino with knobs on.” Tom Doorley then revealed that his big love is Sherry. “It is great value. I also love the huge range of styles and love the austerity of dry sherry."

John Wilson said these are  the “most man-made” wine of all. “They require so much intervention. They are incredible, precise, with complex flavours - savour slowly. My personal measure of Fino is a bottle - great with tapas, Iberico ham, almonds, Manchego cheese.”
The panel in the tractor shed
Leslie Williams said En Rama is sherry in the raw, unfiltered and he sometimes matches it with Fish and Chips! Chris Forbes, for a Port man, was generous: “Sherry is one of the wonderful wines, amazing value. Great poured into soup, a use also for White Port. Both are made with indigenous grapes. They are really wines.”  


He said Taylors make two of the three styles of White Port, a dry and an extra dry. Five or six varieties of grapes are used and suggested chilling it as an aperitif and serving with tonic and ice.

Raymond loves his Madeira,such a pure wine, "even the sweetest has acidity through it" and it can be measured in centuries, the intensity of it, great flavour, super stuff. Leslie too adores it and says the opened bottle may be kept for quite a while (not not as long as his mother kept the Bristol Cream!). John Wilson is another convert. Of the Barbeito that we were sampling, he purred: “This is so good, it almost hurts, a classic Madeira."
The Fortifieds

Now we were on to the 10 Year Old Tawny by Taylor’s. John Wilson suggested that this was perhaps the future of Port and was bringing people back to the drink. Chris agreed saying Tawny is the current hero. “There has been a 72% growth in the last ten years, absolutely phenomenal. Importantly, at 25 euro, it is affordable.
He suggested serving it slightly chilled and acknowledged a suggestion that it was great with cheese. “But not just with cheese. Try tarte tatins, pour it over vanilla ice-cream. Once opened, it should last for no more than two or three hours, but it will keep for four to six weeks!”

Chris, who was quite busy over the weekend, rounded off this informal and informative event with a great description of the foot treading (bunions and boils and all), a practice that is still current in Taylor’s. They feel it does the job better, is easier on the grapes. Mechanical methods, for instance, can break the pip and release unwanted elements, the human foot does not break the pip.

So now we've come from the cathedrals of the bodegas to the down to earth practices of the lagaar. Fascinating stories behind all of these fortified wines brought to us by a terrific panel and also via the four superb examples in our glasses. Here’s to the winemakers of the past and the pleasures of the present, and hopefully, if enough of you join the crusade, of the future. Sláinte.

Chris Forbes (Taylor's Port) and, right,
Leslie Williams (Irish Examiner)


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Winegeese. A New Generation in Cork last night.

The Winegeese. A New Generation.
Languedoc winemakers at L'Atitude
Bottom (l to r): Leslie Williams (Irish Examiner),
Neasa Corish Miquel and Philip Grant.
A couple of modern winegeese were at L’Atitude in Cork lasted evening and very impressive they were too. Both Neasa Corish Miquel and Philip Grant operate in the Languedoc and, with Irish Examiner’s Leslie Williams linking and prompting the pair, we had a very entertaining evening and tasted some excellent wines.

Neasa Corish Miquel is originally from Dublin and married into the Miquel family. They have two vineyards, one near Beziers, the other south of the Narbonne to Toulouse stretch of the A61 autoroute.

The big surprise from Neasa was her 2012 Albarino, the only one in France (at least for the present!). The Miquels took a big gamble here, planting 14 hectares “all in one go”. But is looks like paying off. This is an elegant fresh white wine with a lovely fragrance. Matched with a mix of smoked and fresh salmon, one of the many excellent bites from the L’Atitude kitchen, it went down well.

Her opening wine, the 2011 Viognier, has been harvested by night and “handled gently”. Its freshness was evident and it went well with the cheese. Neasa said it keeps well for days in the open bottle and is even decanted in some restaurants.

Then Philip who, after a successful business career, bought the large Chateau Bellevue estate in November 2007 (just before the crash!), spoke about the main grape grown there. It is the little known Négrette which has “fabulous colour and fabulous fruit” but “is tricky to grow”.

Worth it though as illustrated through his wines. The first was his 2012 Rosé. Some forty per cent of his wine is rosé and this beauty went very well indeed with Jack McCarthy’s classy Pastrami. Bren Smith of Mackenway, who distribute for Grant and Miquel, said it was also a terrific match with curry.

Philip then produced his first red, his 2009, a gold medal winner and his best seller. It is fifty five per cent Négrette, with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah also in the blend. It is fresh and fruity, soft, and matched very well with the mushrooms.
The Canal du Midi flows through the Languedoc
and was once used for carrying wine.

Then came the big hitters. Neasa’s introduced us to her Larmes des Fees (the tears of the fairies), a 100% Syrah from 2006 and under the St Chinian appellation. It has been aged for 18 months in oak and much the same in bottle, is very high quality and will age well. The tears of the fairies, Neasa told us, flowed when they heard a group of washerwomen bad-mouthing absent colleagues. Probably still flowing so.

The 2009 Optimum is powerful and fresh and age worthy and another award winner for Philip. Indeed, it has been awarded a very hard to get Coup de Coeur by Hachette. This Fronton AOC red is from low yield vines and has “an enormous concentration of flavour. “It has taken off very well, “he said, “and the biggest buyers are the Vietnamese”.

It was quite a long evening but we didn’t notice the time going by, thanks to the good company and the good wines. More of the same next Wednesday (7.00pm) when the wines of Domainela Sarabande (also from the Beziers area and owned by Australian Paul Gordon and his Irish wife Isla) will be featured. Tickets from L’Atitude at 021 2390219.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Two November Winegeese Events at L'Atitude

Two November Winegeese Events at L'Atitude
Leslie Williams, at L'Atitude on the 14th.
Winegeese arrive at L'Atitude - On the Double.
L'Atitude 51 in Association with Mackenway Wines present
Bringing The Wine Geese Home November Edition (Part 1)
Presentation & Tasting with Winemaker Phillip Grant of Chateau Bellevue la Foret, Fronton AOC, South-West France, and Wine Writer Leslie Williams (Irish Examiner) 
Tickets €12 (include canapés selected to match the wines)
Booking essential. 
Contact L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or info@latitude51.ie
Bellevue were one of the victims of the June hailstones this year but they responded well as you may read here.

L'Atitude 51 in Association with Tyrrell & Co present 
Bringing The Wine Geese Home November Edition (Part 2)
Presentation & Tasting with Winemakers Paul & Isla Gordon of Domaine La Sarabande
Tickets €12 (include canapés selected to match the wines) 
Booking essential. 
Contact L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or info@latitude51.ie
Paul and Isla were the first Australian/Irish vignerons in the Languedoc and you may read their story here.