To celebrate the 25 years they’ve spent crafting beautiful wine, last Sunday, Crossroads Wines invited guests to a very special food and wine masterclass, which the Dish team was lucky enough to attend.
It’s not often (or ever, really) that one gets the chance to learn from a Michelin-starred chef dof Josh Emett’s caliber, nor blend their own wine under the guidance of someone as experienced as Crossroads’ Senior Winemaker Miles Dinneen – needless to say it was certainly not your average Sunday lunch. Held at Auckland’s gorgeous cooking school Main Course, also in attendance were the winners of Crossroads’ food and wine matching competition (you can find out more about the winning dishes here).
After a glass of wine and a bit of a brief from Josh we found our names and teams for the day. First on the menu was Ceviche with Josh letting in on a series of his tips and tricks – like how finely to slice the fish (very) and when to add the avocado (at the very end).
This was followed by a Cloudy Bay Clam Fideua – which is a Catalan-inspired dish. We used long thin pasta but wrapped up in a tea towel and rolled it over the edge of the bench to break up in to little pieces. We then fried these off in the pan with whole garlic cloves and oil – as you’d fry off rice for a risotto. Ladle by ladle we added hot stock, stirring continuously, before adding tuatuas, clams and squid. Once these were almost cooked we added fish and finally fresh herbs and lemon juice. Served with aioli it made for a delicious and simple dish – one we’ll definitely be whipping up again during the summer months.
After lunch we had the opportunity to blend our own bespoke wine with Miles, the Senior Winemaker at Crossroads. We tasted the ‘Talisman’ – a secret blend and the benchmark for which we were aiming. We had on hand Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot to taste and decide which we liked best. Armed with beakers, umpteen wine glasses, bottles of wine pulled from the barrels and a healthy dose of enthusiasm thanks to the wine we had already consumed – we poured, measured, swirled and tasted.
It was interesting to see how even small differences in ratios could have such an impact on the taste, it soon became clear just how fine of an art wine blending is. As a team, we settled on the best blend we had created and then made larger batches of this, which was then bottled, corked, and sealed.
Bottles of our very own wine in tow, we left the day full of incredible food (if we do say so ourselves) and handy knowledge we’ll do our best to impress out guests with this summer. Thanks to Josh and Miles for such a lovely afternoon and to Crossroads for making their 25th Anniversary Celebration one of the most delicious days of the year.