Elwood Tasting: Producer’s Dinner with Bodega Norton
Written by Alice Reeves
Last week, elwood launched a new event series in a new venue, holding their first Producer’s Dinner at Blanch House. Brighton’s original boutique hotel – just recently re-opened – this gorgeous Georgian terrace is a chic, stylish, friendly little place in Kemp Town; the perfect spot to showcase a vineyard with a pretty quirky story…
About Bodega Norton
It was an immense pleasure to meet with, chat to and hear from Bodega Norton’s representative Diego Surazsky, who captivated everyone with the tale of the winery’s unusual beginnings. Founded in 1895 by Edmund James Palmer Norton – an English engineer working on the railway connecting Mendoza to Santiago – it all began with a love story. During his time in Mendoza, Norton fell for and married an Argentinean girl, whose family presented him with some land as a gift. It was here that he decided to plant a selection of vines imported from France – and Bodega Norton was born.
The Wines & The Food
Blanch House put together a special menu for the evening, designed to bring out the very best in the wines Diego decided to share with us – and the matching was absolutely spot on.
Here’s my verdict…
Pre-starter: Falafels with Tzatziki – delicately spiced and delicious, these warm falafels were served with a cool cucumber and mint tzatziki topping (plus plenty of smiles and welcoming words from Blanch House’s lovely staff!)
Wine: Finca La Colonia Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – I could hardly believe this was a Sauvignon Blanc; it has such a refined, smooth finish with hardly any acidity. The perfect blend of citrus and floral, this is a winner at just £7.95 per bottle.
Starter: Ham Hock Terrine with Sweet Piccalilli and gluten-free Mustard Bread – as well as gaining bonus points for use of gluten-free bread, the terrine was divine. I’m a pickle fiend, so the home-made piccalilli was the perfect accompaniment. Great twist on a British classic.
Wine: Lo Tengo Torrontes 2010 – after buying the Lo Tengo Malbec following elwood’s summer tasting, I had high hopes for its white partner. I wasn’t disappointed. Aromatic, smooth, vibrant and very similar to a Viognier or Gewurztraminer, this is one of the most fabulous whites I’ve found in a while. What’s more, it’s under a tenner at £9.95!
Main course: Featherblade of Ditchling Beef with Colcannon – I’m always a fan of local meat, and Blanch House’s Sussex beef was cooked to perfection. Braised and roasted until it was unbelievably tender, you could have cut it with a spoon and it just melted in the mouth. Divine. Creamy colcannon and plenty of gravy complemented the meat marvellously.
Wines: Reserva Malbec 2009 & Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (both £12.95) – time for two robust reds to accompany the beef. First we sampled the Malbec which was fruity, spicy and warming; but the Cabernet was my favourite of the two by a mile. Robust and ripe, this was a huge mouthful of cherries with a chocolaty twist. I went back for more!
Dessert: Cheese Board – selection of three cheeses served with oatcakes (more gluten-free points), chutney and grapes.
Wine: Privada 2009 – move aside for the star of the show; this blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon was out of this world. After the red fruits of the previous wine, this tasted much darker with blackberry and blueberry flavours packing an almighty punch. The lingering finish was incredible. At £16.50 it’s a little pricier than the rest, but rightly so – you get what you pay for, as I’m sure Karl will tell you.