Tag Archives: food

The Scottish Connection

Food, Fun & Fizz – Burns in Love!

Wedged firmly between Burns Night and Valentines, the twain did meet in a very special Scottish food & wine tasting in Glasgow on February 6th. In conjunction with Brenda Anderson from Tasting Scotland we showcased Scotland’s infinite variety of produce while matching this with some superb wines from around the world that can trace their proudly Scottish roots.

When I started researching this tasting I was amazed by the sheer amount of wine I could chose from. The Scots really do get out there, making wine from Spain, to New Zealand, from Australia to South Africa and even a little in Scotland itself.

Kicking off the love was a Scottish Sparkling Strawberry wine from the quirky Cairn O’Mohr winery, made using local Perthshire strawberries. The medium-sweet fruity character makes it very easy drinking, which means you can have it on its own or pair it with lighter, fruit-based desserts.

The seven-stage menu provided plenty of opportunity to sample Scotland’s produce.

 

Some hae (smoked) meat

A taste of Smoked Beef & Smoked Venison from the Rannoch Smokery

These cold smoked meats call for quite a powerful wine and I chose the white Huia Gewürztraminer, from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, (£14) with its pungent nose and spicy character. It is rich and creamy enough to stand up to the food. The owners of the winery, Claire and Mike Allan make some very characterful wines and can trace their roots back to Scotland.

The La Multa Old Vine Garnacha (£8) is made by Scotsman Norrel Robertson MW. He is known as ‘El Escoces Volante’ or the Flying Scotsman. After starting his career with Oddbins he travelled the world, making wine in a variety of countries. He is now based in the Spanish Calatayud region where he makes a number of different wines, among which is this juicy, and far too easy drinking Garnacha.

 

The Rigs O’ Barley

Pearl Barley risotto served with Smoked Chicken & Smoked Duck from the Rannoch Smokery

The creaminess of the risotto and the different meats gave me an opportunity to experiment with two Australian wines. The Skillogalee Rose from Australia’s Clare Valley (£13) is a juicy blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It really shows off the ripe fruit. The winery is owned by David and Diana Palmer who both originally came from Edinburgh and are now producing stunning wines in South Australia. Look out for their amazing wines from the Riesling grape as well.

The second wine is produced by the third Baron of Glenguin, Robin Tedder MW. This means he has a direct connection with the Glengoyne distillery just outside Glasgow. Robin Tedder’s grandfather was the first baron of the land the Glengoyne distillery occupies and was an excise man. I’m told he had a hand in bringing about the law that Scottish Whisky should be aged in oak for three years and one day. Glenguin Old Broke Semillon (£15) from Australia’s Hunter Valley. The tasters loved this wine with the smoked duck in particular. Despite its age (it was 2005) the wine was still full of zippy lemon and lime flavours, the acidity providing a good balance to the duck. Also keep a look out for a Glengoyne malt whisky finished in Robin’s Shiraz barrels.

 

Bard’s Broth

A modern take on the traditional ‘Scotch Broth’

Urlar Sauvignon Blanc (£12). Urlar is New Zealand winery and is the Gaelic word for earth. The winery was established in 2004 by Angus and Davina Thomson after they left their farm in the Scottish Highlands. Organic viticulture and sustainability are their driving forces and they even have a herd of Highland cattle on the estate, providing that magic Scottish ingredient by way of organic fertiliser. Their Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is pretty textbook. Fresh, a mix of gooseberry and tropical fruits and characteristically mouthwatering.

 

The Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’ race

Haggis from Ramsay of Carluke

Iona the Gunnar (£14) is made by Andrew Gunn, who traces his family roots back to Scotland and even has Viking roots. Not only is the name Iona very Scottish, it is situated in Elgin. The vineyards were planted in an old apple orchard and the Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding, but I’m a big fan of ‘The Gunnar’ a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a little Petit Verdot, like you get from Bordeaux. The proximity to the ocean lengthens the ripening season and it shows in the gorgeous ripe fruit.

 

The Poet’s Ploughman

Barwheys Cheese from Ayrshire

For the cheese I chose a classic southern French blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. The Cotes du Roussillon Special Reserve Charles Rennie Mackintosh (£11.50) is an homage to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who spent the last few years of his life in Port Vendres in the Western Languedoc, the heartland for these vines. Many of his paintings depict Port Vendres, a small port near the Spanish border, and the nearby landscapes.

 

Cupid’s Dessert Cocktail

An adult and liquid version of Cranachan. Shaken not stirred by our good friend Richard Duffy

 

Luscious Lots of Chocolate Love

White, Rose & Vanilla, Milk, Dark and The Chieftain by the Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh & East Lothian

With the dark and Haggis flavoured ‘The Chieftain’ we had a taste of El Puño (£18), one of my favourite Garnachas made by El Escoces Volante, Norrel Robertson who also produces the La Multa. This is full bodied, full of flavour with a chocolatey feel on the finish. Although I would have this with big, meaty dishes normally (think Sunday roast) but the ripe blackberry and plum fruit and chocolate make it work with the dark, bitter chocolates.

 

The various wines were supplied by:

www.rose-wine.com

Bibendum Wine

Cross Stobs Wine

Great Western Wine

 

 

Fine Wine and a Wee Bit of Fudge

In a constant quest to find new wines that will go down well with the wine loving enthusiasts I hosted a tasting at the Cross Stobs Bottle Shop in Barrhead, just outside Glasgow. And it was a very good run too as most of the wines were worthy of being included in the ever growing selection.
We kicked off proceedings with the Caruso and Minini, Terre di Giumara Inzolia. I had meant to use the Grecanico instead as I think it is a perfect wine to replace the omnipresent Pinot Grigios. I hadn’t tried the Inzolia before but it was equally good and the refreshing citrus flavours are perfect for what little summer we may have left. Next up it was a trade off between the Clos Henri – Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. It was either this one or its cheaper sibling the Petit Clos. We went for the big one and it proved a massive hit. The estate is owned by French wine domain Henri Bourgeois and they have deliberately moved to make a less aromatic and tropical version of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. There is a ripeness of fruit that gives away its new world characteristic with with a distinct old world elegance and charm. Is this as close as Marlborough gets to Sancerre? Judging by the reaction it was worth its £18 price tag.
For a mid-summer tasting we had to take the opportunity to bring in a new rose too. The Carteron Cuvee Elegance Cotes de Provence is a gorgeous dusty pink. A dry rose with a beautiful red fruit character that is light and elegant. Don’t expect a sweet, jammy new world pink here, but a wonderfully refreshing clean rose that would make a lovely match to a tuna nicoise salad
A wine that has proven consistently popular is the Familia Pacheco Roble, Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah-Monastrell from Spanish wine region Jumilla, just inland from Alicante. Known for its main grape variety Monastrell (Mourvedre) the blend of three varieties gives a wine that is modern in style. Lots of dark fruit and a bit of spiciness from the oak this drinks much easier than you would think at first. And that’s the danger, it’s dangerously good. Our quest continues with the Domaine de Moulines Merlot, Vin de Pays de l’Herault. The Cabernet Sauvignon from the same estate has been a hit for a while so it was time to put the Merlot through its paces. There is a distinct plum and sweet spice flavour here that should work well with things like casseroles or beef stew. Maybe one to stock up on for the winter.

Finally there is a red wine from the same region, Mas des Amours, Côteaux du Languedoc. Predominantly from the Grenache grape this is a very generous red with lots of dark fruits. Black cherry and blackberry come to mind and something called garrigue, which is the scent of the Languedoc region and is best described as a combination of lavender and provencal herbs.
Smooth and lively this wine took me completely by surprise with its great character and would make a perfect match to roast lamb.
As a bonus we had lined up a sweet wine, the Zuccardi Torrontes Tardio a late harvest wine from Argentina. Fortunately Joyce Brady from the Wee Fudge Company didn’t take too much persuading to come along and bring some of her amazing fudge that we could taste alongside the wine. The Raspberry and white chocolate fudge in particular made for a spectacular combination judged by the reaction of the assembled tasters. A wonderful sugar rush to finish the evening on
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