Winemakers 4th edition at La Samana
Exquisite evening; unbeatable setting!
The evening was sultry; the air luscious with hints of fresh blossoms in the gardens; soft lighting led us into the foyer of one of the most delightful open-air restaurants on island. Belmond, La Samana, was hosting another fabulous evening of wine pairing which we were attending.
Given a beautiful warm welcome at the desk, we were guided through to the lower terrace. Meeting and being introduced to some delightful folk along the way, we were shown directly to the wine cellar, La Cave, where we were to have our first glass of bubbly for the evening.
The wine cellar is an unexpected place; it is the epitome of a true cellar, musty and chilly with the wonderful aroma of barrels, burning candles and of course wine. Deep steps and winding passages run right into the heart of the cliff under the hotel perching above like a shimmering bridal cake.
We were offered our first glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, the bottles of champagne were displayed on a table with shining flutes awaiting their turn to be filled with golden bubbles and a glorious white arrangement of flowers; we were then taken for a wander through the winding passages to a room where, on occasion, one may dine amidst aged bottles of wonderful wines, the table set with shining silver and glistening glasses. Oh, yes, pure enchantment.
Back on the terrace with our champagne, we stood gazing at the gorgeous view, the calm sea, watching planes come in to land as the gloaming gently turned to night. And then it was time to be seated so that the excellent pairing could begin.
The amuse bouche was heavenly, a small cup of warm asparagus foam soup garnished with a speckling of olive oil and paired with the same champagne we had been enjoying – certainly a promising start.
The following course was quite delightful, a Sea Scallop Carpaccio in Almond Milk garnished with a radish and tart granny-smith apple salad and yuzu vinaigrette; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut de Blancs Grand Cru. This was the only champagne that did not make full marks on my taste buds; it did, however, go down smoothly.
Warm rolls were being offered constantly, they were perfect to sop up the juices from this and the next dish.
The second pairing was a wild salmon fillet braised in champagne and set on a bed of endive surrounded by a caviar sour cream sauce. Oh my! Paired with Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut 2006, nothing could be more delicious. The smooth sauce, perfectly braised fish, and champagne could not be bettered; or could it?
The next dish, veal fillet tournedos, was slow-cooked and served with roasted asparagus and shallots and a juice of roasted coffee foam; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois. The woody influence came out strongly, mature and rich, sophisticated and stylish, nutty and full-bodied – certainly a champagne that can hold its own with roasted coffee flavours. A perfect pairing indeed!
Finally, the dessert course, along with some petit fours, equalled fruit salad and cookies of sophistication. The fruit, melon and raspberries, finely diced and artfully displayed with a fruity gel and fruity coulis, wee meringue licks and a Breton Sable brought a light ending to a most enjoyable evening; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, perfection in extreme.
Once again, the chef, sommeliers and staff at La Samana pleased all who experienced this Winemakers 4th edition. You don’t want to miss the next one!
Trellis, Belmond, La Samana
Phone: + 590 590 87 64 00
Staff friendliness: *****
Service speed: *****
Restaurant cleanliness: *****
Food quality: *****
Value for money: ****