Members of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and their guests gathered at Quinta dos Vales wine estate in Estômbar at 10am on Friday, May 21 for their first meeting of the year after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The group was met by Erhard Braun who started the proceedings with a description of the machinery needed to produce the wine. A detailed tour of the winery cellars followed; and social distancing rules were observed.
The group then moved from the cool cellars to the pleasant shade of the veranda and the open-air space to be seated at tables of six to enjoy a wine blending workshop. Again, Erhard led everyone through the principles and objectives of the blending process and guided us expertly to make our own blends. Much debate and discussion followed.
Once everyone had achieved the taste they wanted, the proportions of the personal blends were translated into full 75cl bottles, each with its specific alcohol percentage and blend noted on the bespoke labels. When the bottles had been safely corked, fitted with a capsule and sealed, a convivial lunch followed.
Round tables seating six had been set out on the veranda and the group enjoyed a double selection of starters which included king prawn and tuna tataki, salmon carpaccio with wasabi followed by chicken liver paté, dry-cured ham and smoked duck breast.
The main course was lamb shank with a thyme sauce accompanied by potato gratin and fresh vegetables. A selection of desserts including crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, fresh strawberries, almond tart and raspberry sorbet was served, bringing the meal, which had been prepared by Arie de Bruin of Bon Bon Catering, to a close.
Each course had been accompanied by a wine pairing with wines from Quinta dos Vales wine estate. Duo Branco 2019, Duo Rosé 2019, Grace Vineyard 2014 and Licoroso de Touriga Nacional were enjoyed by all present.
Dr Jean Ferran, Bailli provincial, Sud du Tage, acting Bailli de l’Algarve thanked the estate owner Mr Karl Heinz Stock, the organisers of the event and workshop, Cláudio Faria and Erhard Braun, and Arie de Bruin of Bon Bon Catering, and presented the estate with a certificate of appreciation from the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
Members then went on their ways with the delightful memento of a bottle of their own blend of wine to enjoy later.
By VALERIE LANTAU