Thursday, 15 June 2017

MACON POP-UP AT CAROUSEL LONDON

Wine-tasting events always seem to me like a very grown-up thing to do, and in pursuit of educating myself on the finer things in life I recently attended the Mâcon pop-up at Carousel.
The event was hosted by Master Sommelier Xavier Rousset, that featured red and white wines from the Mâconnais section of Burgundy, France
Arriving fashionably early before the crowd, I was brought up to the tasting room where bottles of wine were numbered and laid out in rows. I was given a book titled 'The Bourgogne Secret South' which was like a guide book for the evening - a much more inviting read than the BNF at work. Not quite feeling in my element, I was glad that I was not the first to arrive and attempted to observe the mannerisms of other guests. I have been to wine events in the past, but this was my first solo endeavour as I spotted not a familiar face in sight ...
"I can do this", I told myself, as I moved around with feigned confidence.
There was the graceful swirl around the glass, 'The Look' (some more pensive than others ...), the smell, the swooshing around the mouth, where I tried my best to look classy as opposed to me when I rinse my mouth of toothpaste ...

All the above steps seemed quite easy to mimic, but then there was 'The Spit' ...
I was aware of this ritual, but have somehow never quite INDULGED in it personally.
Everyone else seemed to be spitting rather freely into the provided spit buckets, which was obviously very normal. I decided to hold back on this occasion - until the next time when I have gained some 'spitting confidence' ...
"MUST avoid eye contact to avoid small talk where I would be questioned about what I think about the wine (!)", I thought to myself, as I scribbled common words like 'fruity' and 'smooth' in my notebook - almost quite repetitively as I flipped each page. 
I was always fascinated on how the descriptions that people write about wines. Surely with my wild imagination I too could create my own taste-bud journey experience: "It started off with the feeling of rolling around in a silk robe, on a bed of fresh rose petals, and then suddenly falling off a cliff and plunging into the ocean in the middle of a storm, tossed around like a ragged doll before being pulled to shore on the glistening back of a whale - the same one that swallowed Pinocchio, probably ..." 
Fantasy time, over. I will clearly never have a courier in writing.
I did remember to 'star' a few wines that I particularly liked:
Mâcon-la Roche-Vineuse and Mâcon-Pierreclos amongst the few - not just because they have fancy-sounding names, I swear.
Thankfully with minimal sips and no spits, I managed to get through all 32 bottles. Despite my taste-buds feeling slightly jaded, I felt like I was on the right path to becoming a Mâcon wine connoisseur ... or maybe not (!) 





At the end of the tasting session, we were served a couple of canapes: a spoonful of cured sea trout with horseradish vinaigrette, and a seaweed tart with goat's curd - both of which were very appetizing but I failed to photograph in my state of hunger ... the foodblogger in me was disappointed in myself. Empty glasses around the room were filled with the selected paired wines, Mâcon-Chardonnay 2015 and Mâcon-Lugny 2015.

My excitement began to build up as we finally made our way downstairs to the dining room - food is after all my 'comfort zone'.
The food was prepared by guest chef, Avinash Shashidhara, from River Cafe, who had prepared a tantalizing menu of Indian dishes to be enjoyed alongside the wines.
We started with a light and refreshing salad of cucumber with Datterini tomatoes and split mung beans, paired with not one, but three (!) wines:
Mâcon-Fuisse 2015, Mâcon-Ige 2015, and Mâcon-La Roche-Vineuse 2015

This was followed by my favourite dish of the evening, a creamy and aromatic South Indian fish stew with langoustine and scallop. There was a nice balance of sweetness and a hint of spiciness, and the fermented rice cake on the side was perfect to dip and wipe the plate clean after. The langoustine flesh was fresh and springy, and I made sure that I had picked out all the meat from the tiny claws - finger bowls were gratefully received after. If I wasn't sat so far away from the kitchen counter I may have walked up with my empty plate and given my best interpretation of Oliver Twist's, 'Please Sir, I want some more".
Empty glasses were refilled, this this time with Mâcon-Aze 2015, Mâcon-Charnay-Les-Mâcon 2015, and Mâcon-Peronne 2015.

The last course was chargrilled pigeon marinated in stone flower, ginger and lemon juice, served with braised golden and pink beetroot and wood sorrel. I love game meat and the pigeon was pink and juicy when cut through. The marinade was interesting in a pleasant way and I nibbled every last bit off the bone, which is always a sign of a good dish.
We had now moved on to a couple of reds: Mâcon-Serrieres 2015 and Mâcon-La Roche-Vineuse 2015, described to be marked with pleasant, silky tannins, and a hint of spice. 
2015 appears to have been a good year for Mâcon wines.











Complimented with some fine company around the table, my evening ended on a much more relaxed and enjoyable note, perhaps also aided by the multiple glasses of wine that I had consumed ...
The smoothness of the wines with their fruit and floral notes have coaxed my taste-buds to want more now (I have been seduced by wine!), and I shall be on the lookout for more Mâcon wine encounters on my future restaurant visits.

And if you would like to find out more information about these wines which would contain much more information than my endless ramblings (hurray for the internet!) ...
www.vins-macon.com 
www.bourgogne-wines.com

The Cheekster, signing out x


I was invited to review, but views remain my own.

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