Glossip: The Gloss Wine Dinner at The Merrion - The Gloss Magazine

Glossip: The Gloss Wine Dinner at The Merrion

THE GLOSS hosted an Elegant Summer Wine Dinner in association with Liberty Wines to celebrate the arrival of longer, warmer days and evenings …

As part of The Gloss Wine Dinner series at The Merrion, a programme of elegant gastronomic evenings, this Wine Dinner was dedicated to the light, bright and lovely flavours of summer food and wine – with plenty of surprising pairings keeping guests on their toes.

In the Garden Room at The Merrion, which overlooks the pretty garden of the hotel, Peter McCann, General Manager, welcomed guests, before introducing Julie Dupouy, The Gloss Wine Editor, explaining how Julie, an award-winning sommelier, has been described as having one of the finest palates in the world.

For this event, Julie and the chefs at The Merrion, led by Executive Chef Ed Cooney, created a wholly unexpected but perfectly matched menu of food and wine, choosing wines from the portfolio of Liberty Wines. Menu-planning had begun several weeks in advance of the dinner, with detailed notes from Julie to Ed about the wines she had chosen and the ingredients that would best complement them. Creating, tasting and tweaking, they refined the five-course menu.

The evening began with canapés and an aperitif – a sparkling English wine made in the traditional methode Champenoise from Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex, England – setting the tone for the evening. Julie described the wine as having an interesting “boutique”, or “grower” style, full of character and charm and unlike the sparkling wines of bigger “houses”.

Supper began with an incredible starter of Toonsbridge mozzarella pannacotta, infused with basil, with Marinda tomatoes, basil cress and olive dust, served with golden, salty focaccia. The savoury pannacotta – unusual enough in itself – was paired not with wine, but with an aromatic sake, with the intriguing label: NV CEL24 Junmai Daiginjo 50, Keigetsu, Kôchi Prefecture, Japan. Julie gave some fascinating detail about the sake-making process: the polishing of the rice, the all-important addition of specific yeasts (the CEL24 of the name) and the meaning of 50 – only 50 per cent of the original weight of rice used remains. The sake, served chilled in a wine glass, certainly got the room buzzing.

Next, the fish course, of seared fillet of seabream with asparagus, sauce vierge, squid ink tuile and dill oil, was accompanied by an intriguing Italian Chardonnay (2021 Vigna di Gabri, Donnafugata, Sicily, Italy) defined by a floral/stone fruit fragrance. Julie explained how the wine complemented the intense flavour of the well-crisped skin of the seabream, advising guests to bear this in mind when cooking fish this summer – retain the skin with all its exceptional flavour.

Ed Cooney introduced his 60-Minute, 55-Degree Irish sirloin of beef, which was cooked sous-vide to give an exceptionally tender texture and served with a fresh, zingy chimichurri. Julie paired this with an Argentinian Malbec (2019 Aventura Los Chacayes Sur Malbec, Kaiken Aventura, Mendoza, Argentina) whose fresh minerality came from its oak-free ageing – this wine is aged in concrete. Malbec-avoiders will be charmed by this fresh, unoaked expression of the powerful grape.

An organic Provence rosé from Bandol, Domaine de la Bégude, accompanied two cheeses – a Corsican sheep’s cheese and Ardsallagh goats cheese. We are conditioned to think that cheese is best accompanied by a red wine – rosé is an enchanting alternative for summer.

Paul Kelly, Pastry Chef at The Merrion, introduced dessert, taking guests on a nostalgic journey to the peach melbas of their childhoods, hastily scrambled by Irish mums with tinned peaches and digestive biscuits. Paul’s peach melba was a sophisticated affair, with delicious fresh peaches, homemade ice cream with crème anglaise foam, and a pretty vanilla sablé biscuit. A delicately sparkling sweet wine from Piemonte’s most highly regarded Barolo producers (2021 Moscato d’Asti, GD Vajra, Piemonte, Italy) with the sweetness of summer fruit, provided the perfect fragrant accompaniment.

So that you can capture some of the spirit – and flavours of this Elegant Summer Wine Dinner, all six wines from the Liberty Wines portfolio served at the Wine Dinner can be ordered in full cases or in mixed cases of six bottles from wine retailer (minimum order is six bottles).

Email your order to stating The Gloss Wine Dinner in the subject box. You will be contacted for payment and to provide delivery details.

2018 Classic Cuvée Brut, Rathfinny Wine Estate

RNV CEL24 Junmai Daiginjo 50, KEIGETSU

2021 Vigna di Gabri, Donnafugata

2019 Aventura Los Chacayes Sur Malbec, Kaiken Aventura

2020 Bandol Rosé, Domaind de la Bégude

2022 Moscato d’Asti, G.D. Vajra


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