Friday, December 27, 2013

Wine Pairing Dinner with Yves Cuilleron @ The River Grill, Casa Del Rio, Malacca

When the opportunity to dine with one of the most brilliant and popular winemakers from France turned up recently, I was excited to make a trip to Melaka for a sumptuous dinner by the river with a picturesque view of the Melaka skyline at night. 

It was Yves Cuilleron's first trip to Melaka for a wine dinner to share his passion in winemaking with the fellow wine enthusiasts and friends of media. To complement Yves' fine wines, the executive chef, Allan Ho had whipped up a mouth-watering four-course menu for the best enjoyment of the diners.

How could you not love the under such romantic setting? 

Yves confessed, "Since I can remember, I've always loved tastings and good food. Wine has been part of my family' history for 3 generations. The estate wasn't destined for me, but my passion for winemaking drew me back to my roots, and in 1987 I took over my uncle's estate". And I believed it was his passion that had driven him to become a successful winemaker now with his magnificent 59-hectares estate. 

Home Smoked Butter Fish
Baked Beetroot, Celeraic with Caramelized Belgium Endive

paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Marsanne Des Collines Rhodaniennes

First to come was a light seafood starter which was best paired with the Marsanne because the wine is fresh, harmonious and crisp on the palate. The rich note of daisy flowers and citrus fruits on the nose was lovely too.

Sitting elegantly on crunchy pieces of celeraic, the butter fish beautifully retained the rich oceanic taste of its succulent white flesh, and was an excellent pick-me-up if you were craving for something light, tasty and healthy.

Next up was my favourite white wine- Roussanne, which was sourced from vineyards in Chavanay and in St. Michel sur Rhone, essentially granite-infused soils. The fermentation was done in a traditional method without any yeast, before it was racked into a mix of barrels and stainless steel cuves for a six-month elevage before bottling.

Baby Lobster Tails
On Steamed Asparagus, Shaved Parmegiano-Reggiano Cheese, Sauce Bearnaise
paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Roussanne Des Collines Rhodaniennes

On its own, the baby lobster was sweet, the sauce a little heavy but together they were divine on the palate. When paired with the crisp Roussance, the refreshing contrast was so satisfying that it lifted my expectation for what coming next.

Pan Roasted Veal Strip Loin
Sauteed Savoy Cabbage with Veal Lardon, Sweet Potato and Pearl Onion
paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Syrah Des Collines Rhodaniennes

The intense and full bodied Syrah was best paired with roasted or grilled meat, hence we had a thick cut of veal strip. Cutting through the beef, the knife slided right through the medium rare meat which was tender and juicy.

For the Syrah, its fine and intensive nose of blackberries was lovely, while on the palate, it went smooth down the throat with a clean, fresh finish. Yves Cuilleron personally prefers red wine to white wine because of its spicy and bold flavours. 

Iranian Saffron Tiramisu

For dessert, we had a piece of heaven on our plate - a decadent slice of saffron infused tiramisu. Each bite was a divine layer of texture in the mouth and I loved the way it melted smoothly with a hint of sweetness and robust flavour of the spice. 

It was a great experience of an exclusive wine dinner comprising of great tasting food, beautiful atmosphere of The River Grill, and most importantly great companion, Yves Cuilleron during the lovely evening. I'm definitely looking forward for a second visit to The River Grill for good food or Bar Rio for fine wines.

The River Grill
Ground Floor Casa Del Rio
88, Jalan Kota Laksamana, 
75200 Melaka.
Contact: 606-289 6688 

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