Taking place in Howies Cellar restaurant it was a lovely setting to take refuge from the typical Edinburgh summer rain. Once inside to the warmth (and it was very warm!) we settled down at a table for 6 for Claire to begin the ‘show’. It’s called a ‘show’ and has ‘performance times’ but it’s more of a casual chat, friendly wine and nibbles sort of hour.
The wine isn’t introduced or studied in too serious a way but is there to be enjoyed alongside some surprising food matches which Claire explained were designed to push us out of our comfort zones and make us think about trying something different.
First up a small glass of Moët to get us started which disappeared all too quickly before we started on the wine and food matching properly.
Next up was a Gruener Veltliner which was really crisp & mineral with a smokiness that my wife’s nose detected but was beyond me. This was matched with a bowl of olives and made an impressive pairing. I’ve only recently taken to eating olives and thought they might overpower the wine but it held it’s own and was a really enjoyable wine.
The second round of food was patatas bravas with a slightly odd Howies twist. I prefer the potatoes cubed and well roasted but these were baby new potatoes halved. It all tasted good though and went surprisingly well with the Skillogalee Rosé (Cabernet Malbec). Never having found a Rosé I particularly enjoyed this worked well with the spice of the patatas bravas.
Moving swiftly on we were served Torre del Falasco Valpolicella which was a nice light red but even then I didn’t expect it to be served with a tomato salad! Again the match worked well and the light acidic qualities of the wine complemented the tomatoes. We had an interesting discussion at this point about lightly chilling the wine and I’ve got to say I’m a fan of this with lighter reds on hot sunny days.
As we began to draw to a close the next sample was a real treat from Mclaren Vale in Australia. The Soloist Shiraz was matched with a very tasty piece of steak. The high tannins in the wine working well with the protein in the meat. This was perhaps the most conventional of the food/wine matchings but for good reason. When the food and wine works this well there would be no reason to change it!
Finally we moved on to dessert and a rich chocolate pudding was served with a Late Harvest Semillon. The sweet wine just taming the richness of the chocolate and giving a sort of Terry’s Chocolate Orange combination.
All in all it was a great event and I think the pick of the bunch for me would be the Gruener Veltliner & the Shiraz. Well worth a visit while there is still time!
Wine School at the Fringe runs 12-28 August at various times.