If you know anything about me at all, you'll know that I love food and I also love wine. So an evening with food and wine is basically my idea of heaven, especially if the company is good (even if it's not though, I'll always make do). Recently I was invited to a night of just that - great food, great wine, great company - thanks to Lisa McGuigan Wines. Lisa was raised in the wine business - you know McGuigan Wines? That's her dad. She's launched her own wine brand incorporating her years of knowledge of the wine industry and more than a little style, too - check out those black and silver bottles! She hosted a fabulous dinner at Gaucho with a few bloggers to tell us all about the range, and to allow us to sample a few glasses along with some carefully chosen dishes.
I've been learning a bit more about wine lately. Not much - I'm still such a novice compared to anyone who ACTUALLY knows anything - but I'm picking up on things. I've always said that I know what I like, and know what I don't like. For whites, I like Sauvignon Blanc and Chablis, but I don't really like Chardonnay. For reds, I like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti and Merlot, but steer clear of Rioja or Shiraz. This was pretty simple, and hasn't steered me too far wrong so far, but when I recently discovered that Chardonnay and Chablis are the same grape, just used differently, my world was sent all askew. And my night with Lisa did much the same, as her chosen wines were the types I tend to avoid - Chardonnay, Shiraz, even a few blends. But they were all DELICIOUS.
Here's the thing - if you don't like Chardonnay, it's probably due to the oakiness. Lisa's Chardonnay isn't oaked. I can't quite remember what oaking is, but it makes wine taste oaky, and probably involves putting the wine in oak or putting oak in wine. Oak. Anyway, you can get oaked and unoaked wines! And unoaked wines are tasty. This is what I have learned.
Here's what we ate, teamed with white wine to start...
The first course was Ecuadorian Ceviche. I don't eat fish, so the chef kindly made a Mozzarella Salad for me instead. It was delicious. This was teamed with two glasses to sample - Wilde Thing Chardonnay Pinot Grigio and Silver Chardonnay.
Next up was Smoked Haddock Causita... and a Cheese Empanada for me. This method of replacing fish courses with cheese courses was really working for me. This was teamed with Platinum Pinot Gris and Platinum Chardonnay.
The palate cleanser was a Malbet Sorbet - this was incredible. Sweet and cinnamonny and refreshing, I could have eaten a vat of it.
The dessert sampler was a selection of cheesecakes. I demolished the dulce de leche one and tried the other two, but by this point I was incredibly full and couldn't manage much else. It was amazing though, a restaurant I'm itching to return to.