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It ain't heavy! It’s very clear, fresh, with a lovely acidity. For six years in a row, this was voted the best sweet wine in the world
Hugh Murray of Classic Drinks was finishing off a very enjoyable and informative edition of Greene's Supper Club at the McCurtain Street restaurant. The object of the April night was to help people decide on an appropriate wine choice for their meals. Manager Arthur Little could not have a chosen a better speaker to lead us through the evening.
And the sweet ending that Hugh had lined up for us was Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling. Produced by a couple, of Austrian and Irish origin, this Riesling is an ice wine. Launched ten years ago, it is late harvested and the grapes are frozen, then crushed, leaving the sugar. “Irish people are afraid of sweet wines,” Hugh remarked. But this could change all of that as it is not at all sticky. “Take a sip, allow it three seconds on the palate. Then let it slide!”. Superb.
Dessert, by the way, was superb as well, both of them. We had choice of two and the wine matched each. I enjoyed the Coconut Espuma with Peanut Ice Cream and Ivorian Chocolate Ganache Truffle. The other was also gorgeous: Rhubarb Meringue, Malted Milk Crumble, Vanilla Sorbet and Rhubarb Ginger Sorbet.
Arthur Little introduced the evening and promised more interesting food and drink events in the months ahead. “We are delighted that our chef Bryan McCarthy was named best chef in Cork at the recent Restaurant of Ireland awards in Munster and we wish him all the best in the national finals. Tell your friends that they can find him here.” Bryan, and his team, were in tip top form again and we had a terrific meal.
Ummera Smoked Salmon
Arthur then introduced Hugh who said he hoped “to open some doors during the meal to help people choose their wines. But wine is above all a personal choice. By all means trust your own opinion but, before making up your mind, listen!”
We had enjoyed Classic’s Colle del Principe Prosecco at the reception with the Goats Cheese Canapes and the Lychee, Lime and Green Tea Espuma. Then we were on to a choice of two starters and two wines to go with them.
I, along with quite a few more, picked the Trio of Organic Ummera Smoked Salmon, Cured Salmon Rillettes, with Blood Orange, Fennel, Seaweed, Squid Ink Ailol and Wasabi Mayo. Abadia San Campo Albarino was the match. “Good Albarino doesn't come cheap,” said Hugh. “Buy it young and drink it fresh.”
The other wine was South African, the Leopard's Leap Classic Chenin Blanc. “This is made with passion, is stylish, with a backbone of acidity and excellent value”. And a great match with the Celeriac, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Artichoke.
The main event, with three different dishes, might have stretched a lesser man but no bother to Hugh and he got the thumbs up for all three pairings. Those who picked the Wild Mushroom Risotto were lucky enough to get the “incredible, outstanding” Opi Sadler Malbec from Argentina. “This combines power and tenderness.”
My wine, the Hunky Dory Sauvignon Blanc, is made by a husband and wife team in Marlborough. “Not typical of New Zealand,” according to Hugh. “There is a touch of the Loire in it and it punches above its weight”. I love the Loire and the wine was superb with the Seared Hake Fillet and Crispy Prawn Wontons.
Some of the group choose the Glazed Pork Belly Pecan and Apricot Crumb and the wine for this was the Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir. This variety is difficult to grow and here when they say small lot, they can point to the field. “It is produced in an environmentally friendly way and again made with passion.” I got to taste some of this later on and, juicy and rich, it is a beauty, perhaps my favourite of the evening.
Well maybe! Can’t forget the clean taste of that ice wine!