What could be more wonderful than a day spent drinking bubbly and eating gourmet food? One where Graham Beck launches a new wine and spoils the media in addition to the bubbly and gourmet food.
The media arrived for canapes and bubbly, the non-vintage Blanc de Blanc Brut. The canape was duck prosciutto and quail egg Benedict. This was served out in the garden on the fourth floor of 54 on Bath (the hotel that used to be The Grace).
From there we moved to a tasting guided by Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira, wine maker for Graham Beck. He points out that it is really the vineyards that give the bubbly its taste. Once the grapes are pressed, he modestly proclaims, the playing fields are evened, with all bubbly producers following exactly the same procedure. He goes through a presentation of how the Methode Cap Classique works. It is much easier to understand when the pictures are there to illustrate. We taste the vintages from 2010 back to 2006 and then from 2006 back to 2010. We get told about the quality of the grapes, what effect the weather had on the grapes and the techniques of selection and handling of the grapes.
Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira
We then move upstairs for lunch – a tasting menu.
Graham Beck’s new wine is gorgeous. Uh, Gorgeous. Apparently Graham Beck’s favourite descriptive word was “Gorgeous!” The wine, a delectable blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is hot off the bottling line. 2014. It is already a most drinkable low alcohol (11%) blend, in the good value for money range, and should settle well. It is a still rosé, just off dry, not sweet in any way, copper-tinged pink, made from MCC varieties. It is served with prickly pear glazed pork belly, prickly pear and braised lettuce hearts, but is an ideal companion for a wide range of food including poultry, cream-based dishes, veal or salmon or simply enjoyed on its own.
Cured Dullstroom trout, cream cheese and brioche is served with non-vintage Brut Rosé.
The 2009 Brut Rosé accompanies potato, butter cooked and espuma; chicken and amaranth.
Poached prawns, scallop emulsion, handkerchief pasta and Hermanus samphire is accompanied by Brut Zero 2008. Zero sugar. 30% less calories than regular dry bubbly. It is delicious.
A jasmine tea palate cleanser follows.
The Curvée Clive 2009 is one of just four years in the last ten that Graham Beck have bottled their aspirational sparkling wine. James Bond drinks this in the latest book (no, not Ian Fleming anymore). It is accompanied by Tredstone farm quail, miso, shitake and sweet corn.
The meal ends with roasted apple, almond granola, sultana and tonka bean ice cream served with non-vintage Bliss Demi Sec.
All of the dishes were truly delectable and the entire meal was a sublime sensory encounter. Yes, I did have to look up some of the terms to see what it was that I had eaten.
The guests are sent home with a bottle of Gorgeous and a bottle of Blanc de Blanc bubbly. We have already debated how to store them. My vote is for storing them in the fridge and drinking them quickly, certainly before the three month mark at which they start to deteriorate in the fridge.
I take this opportunity to wish Graham Beck every success with their new Gorgeous wine. I also recommend that those who are watching their kilojoules try the Brut Zero. It’s my new favourite. And those who don’t have to watch their pennies too carefully should definitely add Curvée Clive to their cellar.
What a lovely luncheon. Thank you Graham Beck for including me. 🙂