When the invitation to the Valdivieso Wine Dinner at Malmaison popped into my inbox, I was booking tickets for the International Dance Festival and regretting moving from Birmingham – as I seem to spending most of my week in the city.
On Tuesday 8th May my partner and I checked into Malmaison in The Mailbox for a five course dinner by Head Chef Brian Neath, paired with wines from the Chilean producer Valdiveiso.
Our pre-dinner wine was a Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc, served with blue cheese and pear and chilli prawn canapés. We had the opportunity to talk to David Manson from Bibendum and Valdiveiso’s Brand Ambassador Carmen Richards, before Deputy General Manager Grant Callaghan welcomed us to Malmaison and invited us to take our places for dinner. Carmen started the dinner by walking us through the different wine producing regions of Chile and the Valdivieso company. As I am a wine novice, who chooses varieties mainly based on recommendations, this was an extremely helpful insight to a wine producer.
For our first course, an aromatic glass of Valdivieso Reserve Viognier was paired with the delicately spiced, seared red Thai spiced salmon with crispy noodle salad.
We followed this with a Valdivieso Rosé, a three month oaked wine, which was a sweeter companion to the vinegared vegetable escabeche with pecarino shavings.
David was entertaining us with drink-related anecdotes between courses, so I now know the origins of ‘codswallop’ and ‘scot free’!
My partner had been looking forward to the braised rump of beef in red wine with pommery mustard creamed potato all week, which he thought was delicious. This deeply intense dish was complimented with a glass of full-bodied Valdivieso Eclat.
Although dessert is my favourite course, I don’t normally have dessert wine. The Valdivieso Eclat Botrytis Semillon has changed that though! A gorgeous golden hue and moorish flavour without a cloying aftertaste has put this firmly on my favourites list. On the night this was paired with a plum tart tatin and yoghurt sorbet.
The best wine had been saved till last, for our cheeseboard of Mrs Quickes cheddar, with grape chutney and biscuits. Meaning ‘crazy horse’ Valdivieso Caballo Loco 13 is one of Chile’s iconic wines and is a unique and special blend of different vintages.
This wine was much admired by the party. Having a small group of guests at this dinner gave us the opportunity to talk to Carmen, Grant and David (pictured below) in more depth than would have been possible in a larger gathering.
I sat next to a telecoms executive from Birmingham who, together with his wife, ate out regularly in the city but hadn’t been to a wine evening like this before. Like myself he enjoyed learning about the wine and food pairings and having the knowledge to make different choices based on our likes and palate when dining in the future.
If I wasn’t going to be on holiday, I’d book the next event on 22nd June, which will feature a selection of European wines.