To be quite honest, it would be my first wine tasting dinner (and Iketeru's virgin attempt at it).
I arrived a bit early to chat with the staff but did not dare approach Mr Irvine because of the crowd that surrounds him. Instead Chef Ricky and I helped ourselves generously to the champagne.
Wine: NV Irvine Meslier Sparkling Brut
Bubbly, sourish and dry to a fine cut. I think we shared about 2 bottles.
The F&B manager introducing the diners to Mr James Irvine and Chef Ricky.
The eager beaver diners. I was pretty lucky to seat myself with a French gentleman name Hubert (pronounced U-be_ar) Cuny, who was able to teach me some tricks of distinguishing wine and gave me some insightful commentaries on the wines presented that night. Opposite me were a pair of investment banker/venture capitalist. All in all, a very entertaining night of conversation.
The humourus Mr James Irvine, entertaining, witty and highly enlightening to boot; teaching things like lifting your tongue while drinking wine and lotsa other nitty gritty details. The rest I learn courtesy of Mr Hubert.
Starter: Fried crab cheese roll with Enoki mushroom served with sesame Miso mayonnaise
Wine: 2007 Irvine Pinot Gris
The crab cheese rolls were soft inside and crisp outside, and Mr Hubert enjoyed his first encounter with the crisp made from lotus roots. The pickle vegetables were a much better complement to the wine which was light and not too strong. (it feels more like a mouthwash after the crab cheese rolls)
Mr Hubert commented on the Pinot Gris being a gray wine (somewhere between a white and pink/rose wine). I found it a medium strength wine, tasted semidry and fruity.
Seafood: Teppanyaki style seafood combination (Scallop, cod fish & prawn)
Wine: 2006 Irvine Springhill Merlot
Every piece here goes down well with this wine. The scallops are perfectly seared, the prawns oily but not greasy and the cod is just right with the salad.
The wine was semi-strong, medium-bodied red that tasted just nice, a bit fruity with a hint of sour in the background.
Main: Baked lamb rack with mountain salt
Wine: 2005 Irvine Barossa Merlot
The best dish of the night, but Mr Hubert didn't like the wine paired with it much, complaining that it is too woody (he thinks that they used too young a barrel to store the wine in). I agreed with him that I prefer the first Merlot to this one for a different reason, it just didn't go down my gullet too well (whatever you think it means).
The lamb was crusty and medium-well done, pretty weak flavours for a lamb but it suits the wine. Delicately spiced if I may add. The potato mash will probably mop up most extraneous flavours on your tongue.
Main: Grilled sliced beef roll with Sukiyaki sauce served with curry risotto
Wine: 2004 Irvine Grand Merlot
At this stage, I think I was too engrossed in the conversation to even take any pictures. (I lie, I actually got stoned on the wine)
The grand merlot really lived up to its name. It is strong, fruity, a bit rough on my tongue. I don't know if that caused me to taste the curry risotto like peppery bakuteh. The beef roll was tough and chewy and loses flavour quickly.
Dessert: Homemade green tea ice cream
Gobbled done, just bittersweat.
Still not a gourmet, definitely not a sommelier.
Awaiting more feedback on my food reviews, Say it so in the comment section.