WINE/MUSIC/DINNER PAIRING – AGAIN!
BODEGAS HACEINDA DEL CARCHE & CASA DE LA ERMITA
Regular readers may remember my account of the very well received Wine, Music and Dinner event that took place at the Swiss Hotel Moraira, before the heat of the summer addled all of our brains! Well, it seems the word has ‘got out’ – Dolce Divas, who coined the idea in the first place, are in demand.
Recently another such event was held, again at the Swiss Hotel, where the wines were supplied, this time, by two sister bodegas from D.O. Jumilla, Bodegas Hacienda del Carche and Bodegas Casa de la Ermita. And, judging by comments during and after the evening it would seem that everybody had a good time!
In fact, I’m not surprised! I say this of course, without any reference to my input. I talk of the obvious attraction of the beautiful Dolce Divas (www.dolcedivas.net) and their equally stunning renditions of classical and contemporary music; plus a range of the top wines from two of D.O. Jumilla’s finest bodegas; served with a super gourmet dinner. Not forgetting the concept itself.
As Dolce Divas’ Claire Harkness-Post (so, no bias here then!) said before the last such event:
“Some of the characteristics that can be found in wines can also be found in music. A young vibrant, purple tinged wine can be matched for charm and dynamics by a piece of vivacious music. Similarly, a full-bodied and rich aria would pair perfectly with a deeply flavoured, opulent red. And, of course, it doesn’t just apply to red wines.”
To be able to discern attributes in wine and compare them with similar characteristics within classical and contemporary music is a skill in itself, and then to combine them with a dinner designed in conjunction with the Head Chef – well surely a sensational night was in prospect!
Bodegas Casa de la Ermita (www.casadelaermita.com) is a well established bodega just outside of the inland town of Jumilla, in the Murcia Province. Over the last few years a merger has taken place with the new Bodegas Hacienda del Carche (www.haciendadelcarche.com), whose triumvirate of owners are now running both wineries. First and foremost, of course, these sister bodegas are concerned with producing top wines – a series of prestigious medals and high points in the various guides are evidence enough that this side of the business is being taken care of quite nicely!
However, in such a competitive field, there are other sides, these days, to a bodega’s success and profit making ability. There is a range of wine related products for sale – for example some wonderful wine-based confitures that go so well with cheese (more on these in my annual Christmas Presents for Wine Lovers article). Plus, wine tourism is also a major focus at these two bodegas.
There is a range of wine related activities for the wine tourist: bodega visits and tastings, of course, as well as many other activities using their really beautiful Casa Rural, where small groups of up to eight people can stay self-catering style in the wonderfully appointed and equipped ancient converted barn, which conveniently is equidistant between the two wineries! I’ve visited – believe me, it’s lovely!
Now, regarding this event, the problem, if such a wealth of possibilities can be termed a ‘problem’, was choosing the wines! We had access to both portfolios, well into double figures of wines from which we had to choose just five! Well, we couldn’t do it – so we made it six wines, plus two more as raffle prizes at the end of the event!
We were served firstly a very unusual, brick-red coloured, off-dry to slightly sweet Monastrell wine, designed to be a sweet aperitif wine so loved by the Spanish. It’s this bodega group’s version of Ice-Wine. The bottle design is as attractive as the wine – a very good start!
Taus Blanco, Hacienda del Carche, is made with Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo. Fresh, sprightly and bright with a pleasing acidic lift, Dolce Divas compared this wine with young French maidens and paired it with ‘Jeunes Fillettes’, a traditional 18th Century French Folk Song.
Casa de la Ermita Blanco is made with the excellent variety Viognier. Whilst retaining its freshness this wine is fuller, richer and more rounded. The song made famous by Charles Aznavour, ‘Etre’, was paired with this golden tinged white wine – the emphasis in the words of the song is on the joy of being alive with the wine aiding such a reflective mood.
Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ was paired with Hacienda del Carche’s Crianza red. The song charts a life-long love affair. An affair shared by those whose passion is Monastrell, the darling variety of DO Jumilla, which in this case is blended with some 30% Cabernet Sauvignon to to give the grip that such an enduring love affair needs. Fruit wise there’s a combination here of typical dark plums from the Monastrell and slightly understated blackcurrant from the nicely ripened Cabernet. All this aided and abetted by a slight liquorice and stony minerality.
Idílico, as the name suggests, an ideal wine, comes from Casa de la Ermita and is their flagship wine (though their new kid on the block Lunatico is now starting to garner awards which put it on perhaps an equal quality level). Handel’s Verdi Prati was chosen to accompany this fruit delivering wine which has an earthy, forest floor quality, giving more depth to each mouthful. There’s complexity here – a wine to enjoy simply for its rich fruit, but also one to savour. It has a medium to long length and will ensure that once tasted, you’ll want some more!
Finally a dessert wine, made with Monastrell and yet wholly different from our opening wine. Ermita’s Monastrell Dulce is a corpulent, rich, silky and rounded deeply coloured red wine. It’s a classic dessert wine made with this variety – we are so lucky to be able to taste red dessert wines of this quality from South East Spain!
Sweet yes, but cloying – definitely no! Tiger in the Night was the chosen song to pair with this wine because of the crucial acidity that dessert wines must carry along with their endearing sweetness. It’s a combination that’s perhaps a little hard to understand – we are looking for sweetness in a dessert wine, yes, but not sickly sweetness. Think of a honey (or sugar) and lemon pancake – the lemon is an integral part of the overall taste sensation, take it away, and the pancake is flabby, just too sweet.
However, it wasn’t pancakes with which this Monastrell Dulce was served, but an ideal chocolate symphony! Try it also with summer pudding, blackberry pavlovas as well as blue cheese and mature Manchego and Cheddar!
NB Next Wine TastingTapas Event – The Telitec Tasting Tour comes to Moraira’s Swiss Hotel on Thursday 12nd November. Five wines from the restaurant’s wine list, matched with 5 gourmet international tapas, just 25€! Some places left, please call me on 629 388 159 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org