Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Rioja and game at The Gun

Winter's on its way, so an invitation to a dinner featuring Rioja and game was hard to resist. Warming, mellow Rioja seems like an obvious partner to game, beautifully demonstrated by this event at The Gun on the Thames in London's Docklands. Our party was in an elegant private room with a spectacular view across to The Dome.

We started with the only white of the evening, Vinas de Gain Blanco 2008 from Bodegas Artadi with roe deer carpaccio, foie gras, pickled carrot, glazed walnuts and truffle. With its fragrant vanilla aromas and fresh structure, the wine coped well with this deeply flavoured, complex dish which included a contrasting range of flavours and textures.

Next was the vibrantly fruity Graciano 2008 from Bodegas Tobia with Yorkshire hen pheasant, sweetbread and spinach vol au vent, morel cream sauce. The wine was fresh, lively and supple alongside this rich dish, but we found the Blanco worked well, too, with its creamy texture.

The following wine was the more traditional Tempranillo-based Bodegas Ondarre Reserva 2005 with roast breast of red grouse, confit leg and chestnut 'Wellington', bread sauce, game chips, braised red cabbage and game jus. This was a wonderfully wintery combination. The mellowing, slightly farmyardy, yet still ripely fruity wine really complimented the flavours of the dish (especially the mid-season grouse and red cabbage). The silky tannins and fresh acidity provided just the right refreshing structure.

Bodegas Lan Reserva 2007 came next with the cheese course, Lancashire Black Bomb, raisin toast and truffled honey. The wine was fresh and firm with the creamy cheese, although the truffled honey was too overwhelming.

As this was a purely Rioja themed meal and the region does not, as yet, produce any sweet wines, dessert was a bit of a challenge. A complex, mellow Gran Reserva – Bodegas Urbina 1994 – was served with dark and milk chocolate terrine with orange and praline cream. Separately they were good, but I felt that something much simpler and less sweet, such as pear poached in red wine and spices would have been a more appropriate choice for a dry red. Otherwise, it was an impressive menu and Luis Silva, from The Gun's parent group ETM, was a charming and informative host.

For details of other upcoming events at The Gun, please consult their website.

We attended as guests of The Gun/ETM Group and Wines of Rioja.

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