Alcohol and a river cruise? Seeing as I’m somewhat prone to seasickness, I was a bit hesitant but since it was on the River Thames, I thought, what the hell. Valdivieso Wines of Chile and Bibendum joined up to host a cruise down the Thames for Guy Fawkes Day this week and what a cruise!
Valdivieso was founded in 1879 and the first wines they produced were sparkling wines, so it was onlyfitting that we started off the night with their Extra brut. As we boarded the Silver Sturgeon at the Savoy Pier we were greeted by trays of the Valdivieso Firecracker, a cocktail of brandy, fresh morello cherries, cinnamon liquor and Valdivieso Extra Brut sparkling wine. Fantastic! It was so easy to down a couple of those before dinner.
Valdivieso were showcasing their Reserve wines for us and we sampled the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ’06, Reserve Viognier ’07, Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 and the Reserve Syrah ’05. Notice how they prefer to call it Syrah as opposed to Shiraz.
The whites were superb. I found the Reserve Sauvignon blanc ’06 to have plenty of tropical fruits on the nose and palate as well as a lovely herbaceousness to it, with a well rounded, almost silky body but with a crispiness to it that didn’t let me down at dinner. The Reserve Viognier ’07 was also well done. A fabulous floral nose, quite aromatic on a full bodied but not oily wine. The winemakers produced a well balanced wine with the ability to cleanse the palate while at the same time not losing any of the fruit characteristics of the varietal. Both of these wines were great on their own but they really rose to the occasion with the fish pie served for dinner.
The reds were no less impressive, although I thought the Reserve Syrah 05 was the standout of the evening. Chile is really beginning to make a name for itself with syrah and based on this liquid elixir, I can see why. A wonderfully spicy nose up front, typical black pepper notes floating around in the background while still having a nice fruitiness to it. Full bodied and rich on the palate, round sweet tannins and loads of ripe but not jammy black fruits. Echos of bitter dark chocolate on the finish mixed with black berries. I loved this wine and it was a perfect partner to the medium rare roast beef.
Great stuff coming from Chile and Valdivieso is definitely producing some quality wines. Although I was a bit worried about seasickness, the only thing rockin’ and rollin’ on that boat was the dancefloor! Fabulous wines, great food, an awesome fireworks show midway thru the cruise, truly a Guy Fawkes night to remember.