Recently I seem to be doing a lot of booze tasting. And I’m very okay with that. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited along to a dinner and tasting evening for Espiritu De Chile wines, at Peruvian-inspired London restaurant Pachamama.
We were greeted with a glass of prosecco and an introduction to Jon, our host for the evening, who’d come all the way to Chile to experience our ‘lovely’ British weather, and tell us all of a much sunnier land and the wine it produces.
Espiritu De Chile’s winery is located in Molina – near Curico in, you guessed it, Chile. Owned by one of the most prestigious family run wine operations in Chile, ACW, Espiritu was launched in 2005 to spread Chile’s traditional winemaking over the globe – since then, they’ve expanded to over 30 countries.
There are three main ranges under the Espiritu de Chile banner – classic, reserva and the Winemaker’s Collection, and we got to try a selection of them with our Pachamama meal. Here are a couple of my faves…
I’ve always got time for a nice big glass of what I affectionately refer to as ‘Savvy B’ (because I am the epitome of classy), and Espiritu De Chile’s Classic Sauvignon Blanc is definitely one of the good ‘uns. Crisp, fruity and balanced, it’s easy to drink and worked well with the majority of the dishes we tried.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but I’m not the biggest red wine drinker. However, I was actually supping away happily on the red stuff by the time the night was out. In particular, the rich and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon really worked for me, and was great to sip on while I chatted away to some of the other bloggers and press after stuffing ourselves a bit silly (more on that below…).
The lovely PR team behind Espiritu de Chile were nice enough to give me a whole bottle to take home with me, and I liked the Cabernet Sauvignon so much I. Actually. Chose. Red! And I’m happy to report that I’ve since polished off the bottle. What with this and my newfound love for green olives, I feel like my tastebuds are finally entering the world of adulthood. (Quick, pass the Haribo…). But I think the main aspect of me enjoying red wine more is that I just hadn’t found some good quality reds that I could actually enjoy – Espiritu de Chile have definitely provided me with that.
In authentic Pachamama style, we were served up a selection of sharing dishes, served from the kitchen when ready. I love trying lots of different little tastes of food when I’m somewhere new, so being able to pick and mix, so to speak, was perfect.
The first dishes brought out to the table were the Beef short rib croquetas, along with some fresh, salted Padrón peppers. I absolutely fell in love with the croquetas – the meat was really good quality and I loved the contrast of its tenderness with the crispy exterior.
The Pachamama main menu is interestingly divided into sections by ‘origin’ of food – sea, land and soil. From the sea menu, we tried a couple of dishes including the Yellowtail tuna, cucumber, pickled potato, XO and cucumber dish (£9.50). Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of raw/barely cooked tuna so this wasn’t the one – but the hake just might have been.
Served at Pachamama on, uh, a curved up, bamboo leaf, hake is something I’ve never had the chance to try before – but ohhh boy, was I a fan.
The ‘Land’ dishes were definitely my favourite – especially the Crispy Lamb Belly (£11), cooked in a jalapeno and miso glaze. I’m not usually the biggest miso fan (can we see a trend of mind-changing here?!), but the flavours were fantastic with the lamb and I think I could happily eat multiple bowls of this one.
To finish up, we were offered a double treat of Fig alfajores – a chutney-consistency fig filling sandwiched between two traditional Latin American cookies – and a big ol’ plate of Peruvian Chilli and Cacao truffles. I don’t usually go for figs, but the alfajores were actually rather tasty – however, chocolate most definitely won the day for me. Rich with a powdery exterior, the soft truffle centre had just the right amount of chilli kick.
I actually really want to go back to Pachamama for a meal now, as I really enjoyed the little tastes of their dishes we got to try out. And eat like a million more of the truffles because ACTUAL DREAM DESSERT. Bring me platefuls.
And as for Espiritu de Chile Wines? They’ve successfully managed to convert me to a full-on red drinker – which just goes to show what good quality can do, eh?
Espiritu de Chile are still finalising UK stockist details – but for the latest news, visit their website and keep an eye here, as I’ll be updating as soon as I know!
18 Thayer Street, London, W1U 3JY
020 7935 9393
*I was invited for a complimentary dining and wine tasting experience by Espiriti De Chile wines – as usual, opinions my own.