We were invited to the Seaview Hotel for dinner this week. The dishes were accompanied by Spanish wines, each described by Carlos from Cvne winery. The hotel’s chef and the team from Eurovines had worked together to match the various Riojas with the dishes on the four-course menu.
The evening kicked off with canapes: confit pork belly with apple, miniature jacket potatoes with cream cheese and chives, and smoked salmon and caviar. A very nice start to the meal. Served with a clear crisp and fresh, coppery Vina Real.
Delicious smoked salmon and caviar canapes.
The standout dish was monkfish tail, served with a gentle yellow curry sauce, seared grapes and toasted almonds, plus a small nest of wild rice and curly kale. This was a delicate-tasting dish and gorgeous looking. Served with a deep red, almost purple, Rioja Crianza – an unusual choice for fish, but a good accompaniment.
This lobster cocktail was an extravagant twist on that retro fave prawn cocktail. Instead of being served in a stem glass, this crustacean was delivered in its shell and annointed with marie-rose sauce. The requisite crispy shredded iceberg was under the rich chunky meat. Served with Melba toast and a glass of award-winning oak-aged Imperial Rioja, Cvne’s flagship wine.
Our main course was the tenderest fallow deer, served with a swirl of blackberry and apple puree, spotted with Jerusalem artichoke fondant. The accompanying Rioja Gran Reserva 2009 was quite intense; this was Matt’s favourite wine of the evening.
Dessert was a contender for the best dish of the evening. This smooth passionfruit parfait had a real zingy kick to it, tempered by the sweet coconut meringues and liquorishy fennel cress. The Rioja Blanco offered its own acidity to the mix which was a bit jarring, if the truth be told. Perhaps a treacly sweet dessert wine would’ve been better?
We managed to work our way through five Cvne wines. Part of the pleasure of the wine tasting dinner (apart from the constant delights from the kitchen) was hearing the stories behind the wines. Who knew a winery could be like something out of James Bond!
We were guests of the Seaview Hotel.