Our roving buying reporter Edgar reviews an unsual flavour fusion...
On Tuesday evening, this week, around 100 members of the Wine Society converged on Café Spice Namaste in the City to experience the joys of matching Alsace wines and Indian fine dining. Some of the matches sang and some were revelations, but not necessarily in the original pairings! The first course worked very well, with the plumpness of the Pinot Gris complementing the sweetness of the prawn and chutney, whilst the developing mushroomy notes of the wines went very well with the incredibly good snails in garlic chilli (the best dish of the evening, many thought).
On their own, the Rieslings were both delicious and thought-provoking: Beyer’s ’09 was ripe and plush in the style of the vintage, whereas the Cuvée Frédéric Emile ’07 was classic, mineral, and still in the linear phase of its youth. However, despite the citrus notes of the salad, the combination with the wine was sub-optimal – the dryness of the croquette seemed to heighten the dryness of the wines. The unexpected surprise came for those who kept some Riesling back for the next course, where the limey acidity was a great foil for the fattiness of the lamb – there is also something which works at the aromatic level too. David Ling of Hugel admitted to drinking Riesling with roast spring lamb and that made a lot of sense.
The wines which were originally paired with the lamb worked very well indeed. The Trimbach Gewurz ’11 is exceptionally good by the way: beautifully intense aromatics with refreshing fruity body and just the right Gewurz spiciness to match the cumin. However, the one caveat was temperature: this was the dish with the most chilli heat of the evening, so the wines worked better when cooler. Cyrus Todiwala, Chef at Café Spice, commented that the Pinots, in particular, need to be chilled down to around C12 or below to match his food. A glittering gastronomic experience!
And just to make your mouth water even more, here is the menu:
Pinot Blanc, Trimbach 2011
Pinot Gris Jubeilee, Hugel 2011
Pinot Gris, Leon Beyer 2011
Prawn and egg salad with mustard and rhubarb chutney with snails in garlic, chilli and crushed coriander
Riesling Les Escaillers, Leon Beyer 2009
Riesling Frederic Emile, Trimbach 2007
Croquette of Norfolk black turkey on cassia flavoured tomato sauce and salad of fresh greens and cuitrus in lemon, honey and ginger dressing
Gewurztraminer, Trimbach 2011
Pinot Noir, Leon Beyer 2011
Pinot Noir, Trimbach 2010
Hunza apricot infused lamb palav, spiced lentil puree flavoured with tamarind and cane molasses with cumin flavoured potato
Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive, Hugel 2005
Warm lemon and cardamom sponge with cinnamon infused pineapple and clotted cream