Salud! Concha Y Toro's Winemaker Dinner
Thursday, September 06, 2018
After three years of planning, Harbour Wines & Spirits (a division of GraceKennedy) in conjunction with the Embassies of Chile and Argentina hosted a winemaker's dinner on Monday, September 3. Forty guests assembled on the patio of the Chilean Ambassador's residence to welcome guest of honour Patricia Guzman Rosales, global ambassador and winemaker, Concha y Toro. The event marked Guzm á n Rosales' second trip to the island, the first being “just one day in Montego Bay”. However, this winemaker's dinner was a landmark event for both Concha y Toro, which is the largest producer of wines in Latin America.
The five-chef team that prepared the evening's delicious six-course meal was led by Culinary Federation of Jamaica chef and Jamaica Pegasus sous-chef Patrice Hussey-Malcolm. In her welcome Hussey-Malcolm noted that she was “proud to represent Grace as the company has always supported the Culinary Federation of Jamaica”. Each course was perfectly paired with a wine from the Harbour Wines & Spirits portfolio.
The first course
Jerk salmon and vegetable spring roll was crispy and bursting with flavour and was complemented by the minerality of the 2016 Vina Maipo Reserva Vitral Sauvignon Blanc. The Westmoreland Lobster Creole second course was a delight. Not only was it deliciously spicy and bursting with plucked-from-the-sea freshness, but it was also served in a coconut shell. The 'bowl' hearkened back to days of yore and as chef Hussey-Malcolm said: “ole time something come back again”. The 2016 Trivento Reserve Chardonnay served with the piquant lobster course was balanced, fresh and had a clean tropical fruit finish.
The third and fourth courses
Cream of broccoli soup with curry chicken empanada and three-cheese pumpkin ravioli with creamy spinach sauce, respectively, welcomed the reds to the party. The soup was light and did not have that skin that plagues so many cream soups and sauces. The deep-fried curry chicken empanada was a lovely Jamaican twist on a Latin American classic. The 2015 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec served with the soup was complex and intense with just the right amount of oakiness. The 2012 Vina Maipo Limited Edition Syrah accompanied the ravioli and its rosemary notes really made the earthiness of the pumpkin sing.
The Jamaican-style Beef Wellington that followed was really good. The apple and red onion jerked beef tenderloin was extremely tasty and was perfectly cooked to medium rare. Guzman Rosales pulled out the big guns here and paired the meat with a 2015 Trivento Golden Reserve Cabernet Franc. Only 30 cases of this wine are available in Jamaica and dinner guests had the pleasure of consuming a few of the precious bottles. As if that wasn't enough, it was announced that it was the first time that the 2015 Trivento Golden Reserve Cabernet Franc was consumed on the island. Talk about having first dibs. The red velvet flan with Bailey's emulsion was creamy, airy and balanced. The 2015 Vina Maipo Protegido Cabernet Sauvignon that was paired with dessert was fruity and delicious. Having the winemaker on-site to ensure that it was perfectly aerated really made this Cabernet Sauvignon a pleasure to drink.
In his remarks, GraceKennedy CFO Frank James mentioned how close Chile and Argentina's relationship with Jamaica has become since the company started distributing Chilean and Argentinian wines. Chilean Ambassador Francisco J Bernales, whose posting officially began on Jamaican Independence Day, was pleased to host the event. Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina to Jamaica Ariel Fernández spoke about how wine has allowed for the diplomatic unity not only with neighbouring Argentina but now Jamaica.
Monday's dinner saw some guests travelling from Negril and Montego Bay to attend. It was a special treat. Thursday Food can only hope that the next winemaker's dinner happens sooner than three years from now.
For detailed wine-tasting notes turn to Christopher Reckord's coverage on pages 14 and 15.