Summertime. Time to head outdoors and enjoy whatever sun we can get here in London. Cloudy Bay is getting into the spirit of the season and featuring a touring crab shack in the UK. They’ve teamed up with Chef Tom Aikens to bring sustainable seafood to the people.
I was one of a few lucky wine and food bloggers invited to Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea to match Tom’s especially created dishes with Cloudy Bay wines. Tom had come up with 8 different seafood dishes which we had to narrow down to the top 4 and match them with Cloudy Bay’s range.
It wasn’t easy as all the dishes were delicious, although there was a bone of contention as to the merits of the salmon with chili lime peanut crumb. It was good but nowhere near as good as the spiced crab cakes with tomato salsa and guacamole. That had me reminiscing about the Maryland crabcakes I enjoyed when I lived in the States. The crabcake was matched with Cloudy Bay’s 08 Chardonnay and it was a lovely match. The chard was not too heavily oaked, the tropical fruit highlighted as well as the spiced notes which married well with the crab cakes.
One of my favourite Cloudy Bay wines is the 2006 Te koko sauvignon blanc. I do adore this wine. Fermented with wild yeasts and left by itself for anywhere from 3 – 12 months to finish fermentation in open oak barrels, it is a unique wine. I tried this wine a year ago and my has it evolved since then. I enjoyed it then and I still do now but what a different profile. Where as before it was quite buttery and yeasty, now it had acquired a mineral, savoury character with some very creamy notes and lifted white flower notes, most notably jasmine come to mind with a savoury palate and a lemony citrus finish. Matched with the fried paprika squid with lime, a tasty combination, the squid very tender and the wine washing away the accompanying aioli.
Dorset crab with chilli and ginger, stands to reason that something with a bit of chilli should be matched with a riesling and that was the next matching we all agreed on. New Zealand is more well known for the s.blanc but they have been doing some great things with other white varietals such as pinot gris, gewurtraminer and riesling. The cool climate varietals seem to thrive in the N.Z. terroir. The ’06 Cloudy Bay riesling exhibited everything I look for in a dry riesling. Excellent balance of fruit, very aromatic- passionfruit, tangerines, ripe banana and even those elusive petrol notes that I always look for in riesling with a bit of age. Not too rich in the mouth, balancing acidity, again those passionfruit/starfruit notes coming through finishing off with tangerine and lime conmingling together at the edge of the palate. The only thing wrong with this wine is that they have made to little of it! Only 250 cases of the 2006 Riesling so snap it up if you can.
The last dish we selected was a tomato salad with crayfish tails,basil and watermelon. Yum! I know, but really the combination of savoury, sweet of both the watermelon and the crayfish along with the basil was electric and matched with the classic Cloudy Bay ’09 sauvignon blanc was quite good. Normally, I find the s. blanc a bit too nettley and herbaceous for me but with this dish, tropical fruit, pineapple and lime are highlighted and make a brilliant combination.
So there you have it, our four choices, each of which should be available at the Cloudy Bay Crab Shack for £8.50 along with a glass of Cloudy Bay, barring any last minute changes, when it rolls up to Parsons Green on the 24th and 25 July.