Monday, July 9, 2018

"On Taste and Smell" for Wine Lovers at the King David Hotel

Members of Dan Club wine lovers gathered for a meeting to discuss the matching of wine to food. The meeting was facilitated by Adam Montefiore and David Bar-Ilan (Tulip Winery). The heart of the event was a guided tasting of 13 fine wines from leading Israeli wineries, served with the dishes of Chef David Biton.
"On Taste and Smell" for Wine Lovers at the King David Hotel
"On Taste and Smell" for Wine Lovers at the King David Hotel

The Dan Hotel chain organizes wine meetings for club members. A previous meeting took place at the Dan Acadia Hotel in the wine bar "Accad". This is the second meeting of the wine lovers. After an aperitif served in the hotel lobby, we entered the hall and sat around elegant tables laid with countless wine glasses. On this occasion, we met the other participants of the event. They told us that they came to Jerusalem especially to participate in the event. We enjoyed their company and shared some experiences and impressions of the tasting during the evening.
Elegant Setting

Table Laid

The meeting was divided into two parts. In the first part, Adam Montefiore (Israeli Wine Experience and Jerusalem Post) lectured on the matching of wine to food. In the second part, David Bar-Ilan (Tulip Winery) presented us with the wines and described them. Then, there was a guided tasting and a talk about each round, along with dishes that the hotel chef David Biton prepared and presented.
Chef David Biton

What Goes with What – Matching Wine to Food - a lecture by Adam Montefiore

First of all, to break myths, Adam has a motto "Match the wine to the diner, not to the dinner," and there is something about it – as the saying goes - "There’s no accounting for taste and smell". We all want food and drinks (and of course wine) that we love.
Adam Montifiore
There is a lot of theory behind matching food and wine. From Adam's lecture I chose several, higher-level, less-obvious principles. In a nutshell, this is what we heard from Adam:
Rule of thumb: Drink what you love.
Match the wine to mood and location - light for the beach, heavy for a holiday meal.
Light meal with light wine, heavy meal with rich wine. The same goes for the wine’s body.
Also match secondary flavors of dressing. You can adjust and add or strengthen the sauce.
Matching goes well with the type of cooking - cold food or short cooking - gentle wine. Long, high-temperature cooking - wine with high alcohol content. Cooked/steamed/microwave food - relatively light wine.
In terms of order of the wines - drink dry before sweet, white before red, light before heavy, young before aged, simple before complex.
If you are drinking a particularly luxurious wine, eat simple food without complex sauces, herbs and spices so that the food tastes will not take over and you will enjoy the wine. Adam told us how he tasted Chateau Lafite 1947 with a blunt white fish without a sauce served to him.
In the lecture we received a lot of specific examples from Adam Montefiore.

Guided Wine Tasting

The tasting was led by David Bar-Ilan. The wines were served in three rounds - 4 for first course, 4 for second and 3 for dessert. David presented each wine and its winery and we were asked to taste the wines before the dish arrived, and then together with the food, and then formulate an opinion on the wine - how it feels to us as is and along with the dish with its tastes. This is the place to note that there was no unequivocal opinion of the tasters about the wines in general and that our choice has changed with the food. Here is the menu (Hebrew), note that that the vintage is different than in the menu, the correct vintage is in the text.
David Bar-Ilan - Tulip Winery
Wines tasted


Golan Heights Winery, Rosé, 2010. Served at the lobby, the wine is most similar to Champagne.
Wines at the King David Wine Bar

First round

Bartenura, Moscato, NV
Tulip, White, 2014
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, Odem Chardonnay, 2016
Gush Etzion, Lone Oak, Pinot Noir, 2014

Appetizer: crispy tuna

Crispy tuna in roasted fish sauce, smoked anchovies and Wakame seaweed, roasted Kohlrabi cream. The dish included Shimagi mushrooms and herbs. This is raw fish with slightly sour and interesting flavors which is an impressive and delightful chef's dish.
The wine I liked best on the first round was the Pinot Noir, but along with the fish, this changed and I preferred the White Tulip that contained 70% Gewurztraminer and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. I am not a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc and I really like Gewurztraminer  and I found the combination excellent - fresh and acidic, ideal for such a fish dish.
Wines poured

Second round

Tulip, Net Sauvignon Blanc, 2017
Chateau Maime, Rosé, 2016
Maya, Mare Nostrum, 2014
Segal, Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Second course: duck "Rossini"

Grilled duck breast, apple vinegar and bitter almonds, Jerusalem artichoke. A beautiful dish that tastes heavenly and dissolves in the mouth with a silky Jerusalem artichoke cream.
At the beginning, the wine I liked was the Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, aged nearly two years in oak barrels) that won compliments at our table from other diners as well. With the dish tasting, I switched my preference to Mare Nostrum of Maya, which is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Dorif, that was aged for a year in French oak barrels.

Third round

Five Stones, David and Goliath, 2016
Tzora, Shoresh of 2016
Golan Heights Winery, Yarden, "Heights", 2014

Dessert: Delicacies

Pineapple, macadamia and Louisa nuts and. petit foursFirst, this dessert is delicious! Chef David Biton says that he used the vacuum to press the pineapple, and the result is brilliant! The dessert was not too sweet and tasted heavenly! The petit fours were also exceptional. I would not have guessed it was non-dairy -  it was so delicious!
Pineapple dessert
Petit fours
The wine of Tzora was excellent but did not fit with the dessert. I found that the Five Stones was the right wine with the Pineapple dessert. It contains Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc and has a balanced and pleasant acidity that goes well with the fruity dessert. The “Heights” from Golan Heights is extremely sweet, you have to drink it extra cold, almost frozen, and perhaps as a substitute for dessert - but I think it's great!


Tulip, Black Tulip, 2016
This was a bonus tasting that David Bar-Ilan offered us. He pulled it out of the barrels before the event and we tasted it together. I loved it very much, although David says he will leave it to age more to fine tune it. I'm sure this wine will be a great success; It is already excellent!
At the end of the event, Haim Spiegel, the food and beverage manager of Dan hotels who is the spirit behind all these logistics, offered the participants to purchase some of the wines that we tasted at the discount prices that he buys them.
The event was another great initiative for Dan Club customers, and it only cost NIS 155 per person, a bargain! You might want to follow Dan's publications for future events.


Disclosure: I was a guest of the event.

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