One of the characteristics of our wine dinners is the joy of coming together as a team after the winter break. Preparing for the evening, we can all add our creative touch, a fun event to get back into the swing before the silly season.

With the theme being “old vintages edition”, this wine dinner attracted wine gourmands from near and far, with especial interest to taste and learn about the glorious Lisbon coast wines. We were welcomed by a glass of the Espumante 2017, that set the cheerful mood with its fine, delicate bubbly personality and bright acidity, perfect on this magical, spring like evening.

The premium wine bar drew wine aficionados “like a moth to a flame”, but it is not surprising why: a tightly packed vintage wine road awaited us, spanning from a decade old Alvarinho, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noirs to our very first Tinto 2008 (for years Ann & James’ favourite). The Tinto Magnum and the Merlot both from the fantastic year of 2012 and probably showing for the last time, our beloved Sr. Morais 2009, just to name a few.

Dinner was prepared by our kitchen team lead by Chefs Rui Borges and Adriano Luback, who treated us to some exquisite rather theatrical food, wines were presented by sons Franziscus and Lucas, as well as James.

The amuse-bouche was described as a “tête-à-tête” between a horse mackerel and a lemon, suddenly hit by a wave of the mineral, saline Riesling 2018, with all its fresh Atlantic energy.

Then we were invited to discover how this wine reacts when confronted with a quail terrine wrapped in black pork copita and kafir lime. It stood up well with its vibrant acidity cutting through the richness of this starter, making the German cells in our heart proud.

The fish course was a taste of home and heritage: a creamy comforting codfish rice (a nostalgic recipe from Chef Rui’s grandmother) that was “skilfully tackled” by a barrel-aged golden boy of a wine (Arinto 2017), brimming with life-affirming rich umami flavours.

Then came “the longest finish and a bit of a surprise”! This dark concentrated red did not spend the last two decade stashed away in James’s secret cellar in vain: it was “let loose” on the concentrated flavours of tender oxtail and luxurious foie gras, with tangy blueberries and subtle smokiness of burnt leek – what a delight!

Now we geared up for the final take-off on this Late Harvest rocket from 2015: deep fried rabanada, luscious orange custard and succulent roasted pears with orange blossom, practically propelled us on a gastronomic journey beyond the stars. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!

The most rewarding feedback came from a real French wine connoisseur who described that he, tasting the Tinto 2008 “finally had an emotion with a wine from here”. So much thinking and care goes into the making and craftsmanship of the wines, that to capture this essence is what it is all about for winemaker Antonio Maçanita and James Frost.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, spent in harmony with nature, wines & food, music and one another, a testament to the magic of wine to bring people together, creating moments of joy and connection that linger long after the last glass has been emptied.

Photos: D10photo
Music: 24robbers / André Galvão