One of those striking appetisers the almonds making the most flavoursome impact and picking up on the toasty wine notes. The saltiness of cured pork was moderated by the sweetness of the wine, but its flavour was highlighted by the wine’s acidity. I’d imagine the curd would normally form the neutral bed for the dish, but seemed superfluous with the wine.
This course was one of the cuisine highlights, beautifully moist, fleshy fish with the crisp squid as a counterpoint. The jus has a quality bisque-like piquancy and richness that matched the more-aged bottles of the Chenin Blanc superbly. The youthful bottles of wine had the prerequisite cut for the snapper. I plumped for the ‘aged’ Chenin Blanc as the better, more harmonious match.
A dish of three parts in reality, a general sweetness being the unifying factor. The alcoholic strength, body and depth, along with the acidity of the wine cut through the fat and richness of the pork belly. The char-grilled artichoke and oaking of the wine were suitable partners, as was the ham. I felt the sweetness of the dish and the acid sourness of the wine showed a discord in the match. Interestingly, it was proposed that a Pinot Gris should match this dish, and the sweeter profile may have been better here. But as a wine on its own, the Chardonnay was truly magnificent.
The Ambeli’s take on comfort food here, with the venison densely textured as the wine, but falling apart as the knife and fork got near it, and the accompanying decadent creamy textured celeriac. Weight and texture for wine and meat spot on, the wine’s flavours packed tightly in comparison with the venison and its juices. The tortellini and gremolata designed to provide the light relief, but oddly separate from the wine, which if in the cooler herby spectrum may have come together.
A rather unique mix of flavours with the oily, nutty characters alongside the sweet and creamy ice-cream which complemented each other very well, and indeed completing each other in texture especially. Essentially the more developed flavours of the wine bore modest connection with the lighter or fresher nature of the dessert.