Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Lunch with Graham Beck at La Colombe

In Good Company with Graham Beck at La Colombe restaurant
It is always rather special to be invited to a wine event at one of our top restaurants. This last week, Graham Beck invited us to lunch at La Colombe in Constantia. Pairing the food with Graham Beck Mèthode Cap Classique bubblies is an exploration of textures and flavours and aromas. We really enjoyed the wines and the food together. Graham Beck now only make MCC sparkling wines and their range went very well with the food
Welcome drink was the Graham Beck Brut Non Vintage
A good mix of people in the wine industry. Lydia Nobrega of Chapman’s Peak Hotel and Bottle Store, Mark Norrish, buyer for Ultra, Pierre de Klerk, winemaker at Graham Beck, Ndaba Dube, sommelier of The Vineyard Hotel and Mandy Giddey of Makro Liquor stores
Graham Beck Wine Ambassador Kerry Kirby, who organised the lunch, with Pierre de Klerk
We begin, a little late because one guest was - very
Pierre explains that this is to Saamsyn - get together over lunch with their wine. He also explained why Graham Beck are not using flutes anymore and what glasses they are using for the different bubblies. Flutes restrict the aromas, flavours and bubbles.
The menu is explained to us by Morné the restaurant manager. Next to him is Aaron Farquhar, who was the manager here and is now the manager of Foxcroft, Chef Scot Kirton’s other restaurant in Constantia. Chef Kirton will also be the chef at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek when it reopens after renovations
The Menu. There were several other 'courses' served, like the bread, the amuse, and the friandise
A new mission statement
The herb 'butter' served with the sourdough bread
The amuse bouche has not changed. It is a bark garden, the bark curls are filled with beef tartare, a sherry emulsion and gel, a herb emulsion, pickled onion, tiny mushrooms and a rich paté. One bite and it's gone, but lovely texture and flavours
More Graham Beck Brut?
The signature dish of La Colombe, which we have had many times; the seared tuna in a can with a sesame umami citrus Ponzu soy sauce, with wasabi mayo and coriander micro greens
Now for the Blanc de Blanc 2012 which was paired with the first course ...
This is how the sommeliers should pour your sparkling wine. Note the wider glass
The first course of a seared scallop, perfectly cooked, fresh and sweet with flavours of the sea, with some sticky melt in the mouth char sui belly of pork, nice crisp pork crackling, pressed apple disk and a cauliflower, apple and black forest ham velouté, topped with pea shoots The apple flavours in the Blanc de Blanc made this a very good pairing
Two of the glasses they use for their different MCCs. The Lehmann Jamesse Prestige Grand Champagne Mouth Blown Glass, as well as the Riedel Veritas Champagne Glass for the Graham Beck Vintage range
A palate cleanser of apple ice lollipops
The second course was pan seared kingklip with a sweet corn sliver, cashew butter, lemongrass and kimchi relish, pak choi, rolls of courgette, a coriander, coconut and corn velouté and an Israeli herb cous cous. This mixed Asian and Eastern Mediterranean flavours. The interesting thing was the cashew nut butter cream with the fish, which worked so well. The pairing was rather controversial, especially for many of the guests. It was served with the Graham Beck Bliss Demi-Sec NV MCC, which has a sugar level of 35 g/l. We all had to admit that it was a rather good match. And the market for this wine has grown well in the recent months
Group photo! with dessert 
and the Brut Rosé NV
How pretty is that! Dessert was a Dulcey (Valrhona's caramelised blonde chocolate), namelaka (a thick crème), with basil, raspberry and ginger, topped with cake shards, fresh raspberries, raspberry gel and coulis.
Lynne chatting to Pierre about Graham Beck after lunch, while we enjoyed coffee and friandise
Then we took the Taste Test. This was John's test paper. It was confusing
Five bowls of jellies and sweets, you have to guess which colour bowl contained each flavour. Most were easy, but Lynne, who is rather sensitive to bitterness, found intense bitterness on those sour yellow jellies in the white bowl and this was wrong; they were coated in sour citric acid. The bitter was in the red bowl. Shows how palates differ

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