Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Morande Wine Dinner at Favola December 3rd 2012

The email was promising - five course dinner with wine for RM120 at the Favola restaurant. Silly price.  Wine distributor Cave and Cellar looked to match Favola Italian food with Chilean wine from the Morande vineyard. The troops were quickly rounded up and reservations duly made. 

The marketing manager and winemaker were in town and gave a quick intro to Morande. Standard talk about the wines and the vineyard.

The antipasti was lovely, with honours going to a pear and ricket salad with grilled duck sausage, walnut and gorgonzola. The nut and pear crunch underpinned the chewy sausage and the cheese sealed the whole deal. Clam vongole was a bit over chillied, but gave a good test to the cooling capacity of the Morande Pinero Chardonnay 2011. It proved up to the task, slightly sweet finish with reasonably crisp acidity though not much in the fruit or complexity department. 

Potato and mussel soup with parmesan crouton soaked up the remainder of the bread. The Morande Grand Reserva Chardonnay 2010 felt baked, as if it had been left too long in the heat somewhere. It tasted similar to the 2009 I'd had previously, though less balanced and more wood and vanilla. Possible suspicion of over expsoure to oak in the vinification process. We called for more Pinero which went nicely with the soup. 

The Penne pasta was pleasant, al dente with interesting texture from the pine nuts. The Limited Edition Carignan 2007 came across as a fruity Shiraz. Lots of character and large damson in the mouth, good full body and a long bold finish. It just didn;t match the food, and it was difficult to gauge quite what food the Carignan could actually go with. Possibly a hearty lamb stew or something more country and meat based. Certainly didn't help the pasta. The wine notes were also a bit confusing, with references to sour cherry, myrtle and maqui and boldo tea - what do these taste like? And why should we care? Morande winemaker Ricardo Baettig later shared that they were looking to promote the Carignan as a viable competitor to the traditional Carmenere and other single varietals. On the evidence of this example, got quite a ways to go yet.

The sirloin was fair and juicy, though a shade high in gristle and came out cold. The salmon got slightly overcooked somewhere and came out warm and slightly sad. The flagship House of Morande Red Blend 2006 mixed Carignan with Cab Sauv and Cab Franc and came out…  confused for me. Didn;t seem to match the notes - reasnoable body rather than full and not a lot of length for me. The grapes didn't seem to be happy with each other, fighting in the mouth for dominance of flavour. As with the Carignan, a wine that would be difficult to find a good match with food. Something big and bold to beat back the fruit. And alcohol - both the reds were quite high, with the winemaker shrugging his shoulders and saying "That's the sun, what can we do?" Maybe try picking your grapes a bit earlier?

In sum, a bit disappointed with the wines but enjoyed the food and the company immensely. Overall the wines didn't do any favours to the food and felt a bit rough and raw. Cave and Cellar give great value on their wine dinners, just wish they could find a way to match them with the food with a bit more thought and care. Won't be buying any of these. 

Again, got stiffed by fierce car parking charges - RM14 even after two hours for RM8. Painful.

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