Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tinhorn plus Le Gavroche equals Yum

On Wednesday night Le Gavroche welcomed Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and 50-60 patrons, employees and media to taste the culinary exploits of Vancouver's longest-standing French restaurant paired with wines from Tinhorn's premium "Oldfield Series".

Face time with the always entertaining Sandra Oldfield, Tinhorn's winemaker and CEO, was plentiful. She's as good a story teller as she is a winemaker - a common trait I've observed amongst BC's top winemakers. Self effacing and quick to laugh, Oldfield can charm the critique right out of you - luckily, I'd previously reviewed the wines (see details here or take the links below).

The goal for any winemaker's dinner is to showcase the personalities involved and to inform interested parties of the goings-on at the winery - plus the occasional tidbit of news about future releases. The meal itself is designed to showcase, first the wines, and secondly, the skills of the restaurant's chef. The menu was as follows:

Crown Royal Smoked Salmon, Crème Frâiche
Salmon Caviar and Green Onion Pancake
Roasted Garlic and Brie Cheese Purses
Smoked Veal Tongue and Onion Confit
Oldfield Series 2010 2Bench White 2010

The verdict: The various bits and bites were tasty and fairly low key. A good match for the charming 2Bench White which delivers good complexity in its own subtle way.

1st course
Dungeness Crab, Prawn stuffed Squid, Crab and Cognac Sauce
Oldfield Series 2010 Rosé

The verdict: The amazing thing about Rosé is its ability to pair with just about everything. The Tinhorn 2010 version is so fragrant and sweet smelling that this added a lovely aromatic element to the dish. Fans of this wine will be happy to hear that the winery is raising the production from about 200 cases to nearly 1300 cases for 2011.

2nd Course
Duck Confit Cannelloni, Cassis Sauce
Oldfield Series 2008 Syrah

The verdict: Very tasty dish, however, it was served back-to-back with another brown sauce dish leaving the visual element of eating a bit bland. In terms of the wine match, I found myself wishing that the 2008 Pinot Noir had been paired with the course to better highlight the fabulous duck confit.

3rd Course
Salt Spring Island Lamb Chops, Sauce Verde, Tomato and Basil Braised Lamb, Meatballs, Vegetable Couscous
Oldfield Series 2008 2Bench Red

The verdict: The best pairing of the evening with the Meritage flavours and tannins supporting the dual protein on offer.

4th Course
Red Wine and Cinnamon Poached Apples, Apple Pie Ice Cream
Oldfield Series 2010 Kerner Icewine

The verdict: A very tasty desert with excellent acid, cream and sweet notes that paired nicely with similar characters of the Kerner icewine. However, the caramel crackle that accompanied the desert, although dramatic and pretty, was far too sweet and broke the wine pairing rule that the desert shouldn't be as sweet as the wine.

Any critique offered is just nit-picky stuff and overall, a fantastic evening was had by all. Good food, good wine and good company.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

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