What did you do last Tuesday evening? Anything exciting?
Not to brag, but we did...
At 1730hrs, we loaded the rib with hardened Seafaris crew, intrepid guests, cheese and [more importantly] wine then immediately set course due north east to the Echrehous!
Before storming the beach with our hand-selected supplies, the Seafaris Crew were on hand to guide us to a small pod of dolphins before sighting seals and other wildlife that inhabit the Echrehous and its surrounding waters.
After breaching the main island, the guests set off to explore the small desert island whilst Sophie and Alice from La Belle Gourmande set up an amazing artisan cheese and charcuterie board for our guests. I was tasked with prepping the libations for pairing with the food.
We aimed to pair five different styles of wine with five different types of cheese, with a bit of charcuterie on the side! La Belle Gourmande use exclusive artisan farmhouse cheese from their supplier Une Normande a Londres which is situated in Borough Market, London.Starting with an outstanding Australian Pinot Gris from premium producer Kooyong which shows floral aromas, ripe fleshy yellow fruit and underlying seductive smoky qualities, it was paired with a Langres from Champagne by Sophie. Langres' central pate is a bit soft and crumbly, but slightly salty with strong smell. The firm pate melted in the mouth, leaving a complex taste.
Next up has been described by Jancis Robinson as a wine with Bugundian style and quality with Italian charm; this blend of Cataratto and Grillo grapes from Cortese oozes luxury, crispness and power. Fresh, tropical-tinged aromas leap from the glass, and there's a beautiful richness on the palate, which boasts depth and structure underpinned by clean, crisp acidity and a touch of spice. Perfect pairing with LBG's 36 month aged Comte. Comte is uber complex with fruity and nutty flavours but has a smoky finish; perfect for pairing with the Burgundian-style Italian wine.
Moving onto a rosé of the moment (and for good reason), The Palm by Whispering Angel. If you are into your rosé and you haven't heard of Whispering Angel then you may have well been living on a desert island! Whispering Angel is the biggest selling rosé in the USA; now, whilst we normally favour small, boutique winemakers, there is no getting away from a premium rosé that is bought in the millions!
The Palm is no exception to the rule, priced slightly more attractively and made in a fruitier, funner style to the more serious Whispering Angel. We paired this thirst quenching rose with a generous wedge of Saint Maure de Loire Goats Cheese. High quality goats cheese tends to be acidic and buttery, with this example being no exception! The ripe fruit and acidity from the wine paired beautifully with the buttery cheese.
Now for the reds! If you look at pairing the elements (body, sugar, acidity, tannin) and ABV) of still red wines and cheese, it can be tricky. So whilst reds wouldn't be a safe choice per se, you are able to discover some great pairings. Check out Chris' article on food pairings and Alex's article on vegan wines & food!
You've got to balance the saltiness of the cheese with the level and quality of tannin in the wine (tannin are what give you that gum-drying sensation in red wines). The salt in food will give you the perception that a wine tastes less fruity and can sometimes make the tannin appear bitter in lesser quality wines. The trick? Choose fruity red wines, like that from warmer climates such as South America or Australia. Another tip is to choose wines with lower amounts of tannin and oak integration. We chose this Grenache stunner from Paxton to go alongside La Belle Gourmande's Delice de Bourgogne, a soft cow's milk cheese that produces a smooth, mushroom flavour; raspberries, mulberries and a touch of French oak. Light to medium bodied wine with a soft, juicy mid palate with a pleasant influence of whole bunch and stalk, plum richness and elegant tannins.
And finally, something sweet. Going a bit off piste and sticking with a red, we decided to showcase this excellent example of a sweet Pinot Noir from Patagonia. Paired with Fourme D'Ambert, a blue-veined cheese which is mild, crumbly and salty. The cheese really complimented the ripe red fruits aromas such as plums, sour berries and cassis, gently combined with floral and spicy nuances. Delicate vanilla and chocolate tones were developing due to the long ageing in French oak barrels.
This is what Jersey should be about, supporting each other and exploring all that Jersey has to offer!
- Alex Rondel