My wife and I Were lucky enough to win a competition to meet Patrick Materman (Chief winemaker of New Zealands Brancott Estate winery) for a meal at 'The Modern Pantry' Restaurant in London.
We were all greeted with a fabulous glass of Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Brut NV which seemed to be going down extremely easily with everyone. Served chilled it was a glass of lively fizz with all the grassy, mineral and tropical fruit flavours that you would expect from Sauvignon Blanc. Nice to start the evening off with an alternative to Champagne and a big hit with my wife.
Great chatting with Patrick before sitting down to eat and his enthusiasm for his wines was evident as he answered all my questions with an easy knowledgeable and friendly manner.
Sitting waiting for the first course we were served with two Sauvignon Blancs, the standard 2012 vintage and the Letter Range ‘B’ 2011. Patrick gave an informative talk on both wines as the starters were arriving. Wild coconut Sea Bass, golden beetroot and walnut salad, pink peppercorn and lemongrass dressing.
The Standard 2012, a pretty good vintage according to Patrick and it was everything I expected having sampled a bottle a few days ago, aromas of Tropical fruit, grass, nettles leaping out of the glass, tasting crisp with bracing acidity. The ‘B’ 2011 was beautiful, more refined aromas again with tropical fruit, lovely and smooth, according to Patrick a more oily taste but still with that herbal note. Split roughly 50/50 around the table on which we preferred but for me the ‘B’ took the honours.
The main course was roasted Pork Belly, lemon& rosemary potatoes, roasted red onion and fig relish and with this Patrick selected two Pinot noirs, the standard 2011 and the Terraces ‘T’ 2010 Pinot Noir, again Patrick introduced them before tasting. Both were very good in their own way, the 2011 was a great everyday drink with bags of sweetish strawberry fruits and an underlying smokiness. The Terraces ‘T’ was sublime with rich dark berries and plums and spicy oak.
Lastly, the dessert which was a selection of cheeses, chutney and oatcakes , for this Patrick selected a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2011 sweet wine something I had not tasted before and I must say it didn’t disappoint. Honey, butterscotch, caramel along with a hint of lime, all those flavours just seemed to compliment the cheeses.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening with a Patrick being a great host, friendly approachable and knowledgable.
Highlights were the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc and the rather nice Late Harvest Dessert wine.
Brancott Estate Dinner
- Reply by EMark, Feb 22, 2013.
Wow, that looks like it was a fun and educational evening. Pretty cool to sit at the table with the winemaker. I guess I have an in-built bigotry about NZ and never thought of them for Sparkling wines or dessert wines. Of course, they have inquiring minds and are investigating all kinds of opportunities.
- Reply by napagirl68, Feb 22, 2013.
SPIKEDC, GREAT writeup!!! What a fun evening, and I really liked reading about the pairings. Thanks for the writeup.
- Reply by spikedc, Feb 24, 2013.
I was really surprised how much i enjoyed the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Wonderfully fresh, lively fizz to the extent it almost made the glass tremble, still retaining that Sauvignon Blanc taste, dry, goosberry, grapefruit, and damp cut grass, would be brilliant on a hot summers day.
The dessert wine, The late Harvest was a real treat , sweet honey and butterscotch but not at all cloying or sickly.
At the end of the evening Patrick presented us all with a couple of bottles of the Late Harvest dessert wine.
NB: One of the reasons Patrick was in Europe was to launch their new Premier Sauvignon Blanc called the 'Chosen Rows' retailing in the UK for around £35 a bottle starting with the 2010 vintage.
Shame he didn't bring a bottle for us to taste
- Reply by EMark, Feb 24, 2013.
Whoa. I make £35 to be something over $50 U.S. I can't think of a California SB that I've seen for over $30, and I don't think I've ever spent much more than that for a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fume. Just for clarification, I'm talking about retail prices, here, not restaurant prices.
I like Sauvignon Blanc quite a bit, and I like the New Zealand interpretation of it, but I think I'd have to be feeling awfully rich to spend $50 for a bottle.
On the other hand. I wish him luck. If he does have success, and it collectively raises the quality of Sauvignon Blanc, I will be happy to be wrong.