The Fresser

Tribute dessert wine was the prize at One Ashbourne's food and wine pairing evening

My love of stickies fuels a passion for Dalton's dessert wine, so I relished a recent flavour of it in NW11

June 26, 2019 21:50

Ever since my first sip of Sauternes, I’ve been a sucker for a sticky — or, as we Brits call it, dessert wine. I don’t get to drink much of it, as too many people just don’t get it. And, greedy as I am, I cannot justify sinking an entire bottle on my own. Even if they only tend to be relatively diminutive 375ml.

Last year, I visited Dalton Winery in the Galilee. Owner, Alex Haruni, a British Israeli, founded the vineyard with his father many years ago and their UK distributor, Kedem, fixed me a mini wine tour while I was out there checking out the food and wine scene.

Sitting in their winery, with Alex and their chief winemaker and consultant, I tasted many of their wines. My standout star was the dessert wine produced in honour of Haruni’s mother, Anna. Packaged like a designer perfume it’s as good to look at as it is to drink. They gifted me a bottle to schlepp home to the UK but I’ve not found the right moment to crack it open yet. I must do it this summer.

It was a treat therefore, to get to sip it again at a wine and food pairing dinner at Temple Fortune’s kosher brasserie, One Ashbourne.

Owner Ben Teacher and wine maker Alex Haruni had combined forces to show off Teacher’s menu and Haruni’s wine. It was a ticketed event for kosher food and wine lovers.

Wine is meant to be drunk with food. Fact. It just doesn’t taste the same on its own. Nothing to balance out the acidity or tannins or whatever element of the wine needs softening. So it was great to try the Dalton wines with a meal.

Also a win for Teacher, who was keen to show off what he and chef, Stavros Papadakos have achieved since Teacher opened on the site of the former Michael Joseph bookstore. Eagle eyed readers may recall that the Urinov brothers — the family behind Met Su Yan and the Aviv — were billed as founders. Turns out that they had stepped in temporarily to help Teacher — a restaurant business newbie — and find his feet in catering. They’ve now retreated back to their own businesses and Teacher is captain of his own ship.

I joined a room of mainly couples and small groups to be served two starters, two main courses and dessert. We kicked off with ceviche which was partnered up with crunchy cucumber and radishes, a spicy green chilli sauce with citrus oil and jalapeno dressing. Sweet lychees gave texture and sweetness. The Dalton Estate Rose blush wine was fruity and aromatic enough not to be drowned out by the strong flavours on the plate.

Next up – Beef Tataki, that Teacher said had taken a month of work by him and his chef to perfect. My dining partner, the Ads Director, thought it worth every second as she swooned over every mouthful. Slices of tender beef seared around the edges surrounded in a sunshine yellow egg yolk sauce and topped with crunchy, pickled veg delivered on texture and flavour. Paired with it, the Dalton Grenache, a Mediterranean single varietal wine, full of pepper and cherry flavour.

I’d previewed the first main course dish when I last popped in to see Teacher and hear his plans for the restaurant. It was as difficult then not to hoover up the plateful and lick it clean as it was at the tasting. Melting duck breast with sticky dates, crunchy hazelnuts and aromatic thyme sat next to a cheffy swoosh of deeply flavoured jus (gravy to the down to earth diner) and three schmeary piles of smooth, creamy celeriac puree. Micro-herbs – the 21st century spin on mustard and cress sat on top. Utterly delicious — maybe a tad wintery, but for a British summer evening that was predictably wet and grimy, it was spot on. As was the Alma Crimson we drank with it, which is a Bordeaux-Style blend incorporating Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The second main course may have been one meat too many — when will I ever learn to pace myself — but we bravely ploughed through the roasted and slow cooked lamb, rosemary potatoes and chimichurri sauce. Alongside it was the Reserve Shiraz — the heaviest red yet and more than man enough for the rich, fatty lamb and potato dish. 

By the time it was Anna time, I was feeling like a Pythonesque Mrs Creosote. I didn’t make it all the way through the cute, individual lemon meringue tart, but I relished my taste of Dalton’s delicious, limited edition, dessert wine, a liqueur Muscat full of apricot and floral flavours with a pretty strong kick.

One Ashbourne has definitely proved itself, and even though you won’t be able to drink the full flight, they’ll be serving some Dalton wines on their list.



June 26, 2019 21:50

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