Last Friday, I was invited to join guests and other bloggers and journalists to discover the jewels of Zonin wine estates with a fabulous dinner at The Wine House 1821, plus the opportunity to try the new Zonin ‘Imperiale’ craft gin.
For those of you not familiar with the Wine House 1821, you’d be forgiven as its location on Picardy Place, is not benefiting from all the works associated with the building of the new St James Centre.
The show-stopping Wine House 1821 was created by Sep Marini & Zonin Wines and cleverly combines the Georgian heritage and glamour of the building, integrated with an abundance of alluring modern twists and sophisticated, bespoke design.
The Wine House 1821, is most definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to taste some outstanding wines, which can be enjoyed alongside a delicious charcuterie platter. It also has a beautiful upstairs event space, a basement cocktail bar – Bar 1821 (only open at weekends), and has four boutique bedrooms, which I am told have outstanding views.
Our evening started in the sultry, dark cocktail bar where we enjoyed a glass of Zonin’s Brut Nature Metodo Classico Oltrenero DOCG and the new Zonin Imperiale gin and Fever Tree tonic.
This Dry Gin, born in the heart of the Maremma Toscana, uses the botanicals picked at Rocca di Montemassi. It has strong juniper notes of course, but I also detected other notes of the Mediterranean, with rosemary and elderberry flowers, coming through, as well as hints of chamomile.
We then retired to the very grand upstairs event space, where 60 guests were seated at tables adorned with white linen tablecloths and napkins. I think someone had misplaced some of these too, as we found a stack of freshly laundered ones under our table, which were quickly placed elsewhere before we dirtied them with our footwear!
Our host for the evening was Michele Zonin, who was joined by Head Sommelier, Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison in London, who explained about the wines being served.
The Zonin family have been vintners for seven generations with their roots in the heart of the land and vineyards in the hills of the Veneto region of North Eastern Italy. The Zonin family has been making wine since 1821 and owns almost 4,500 acres of vineyards, divided among 11 estates in seven of the country’s most highly regarded winemaking regions: Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli, Tuscany, Apulia and Sicily. Zonin also owns the Barboursville Vineyards winery in Barboursville, Virginia, USA. They are renowned for making wines that highlight the exclusivity of their terroirs, varietal characteristics and – ultimately – the personality of each individual wine.
The majority started with a cold smoked sea trout with fennel salad and pomegranate seeds but I was happily accommodated with a large, creamy mozarella, garnished with a basil dressing. This was served with the Ca’ Bolani Sauvignon Blanc DOC 2016.
I finally find a Sauvignon Blanc that I can like
I’ve never been a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, finding it too acidic for my palate but the cool, sunny sub-alpine slopes of Friuli, made this wine more rounded and balanced and surprisingly drinkable.
This was followed by a slow cooked wild boar ragu, finished with chestnuts and juniper berries and was paired beautifully with a Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013. Using Sangiovese, this grape is virtually synonymous with the red wines of Tuscany, and all the romanticism that goes with the territory. This wine was a rich, full, balanced, classic chianti riserva (the name is appropriate).
The main course and the most outstanding dish of the evening was a braised shin of beef in a red wine and dark chocolate sauce, on a potato flan with leeks and sage.
Two wines were served alongside this, the Feudo Principi di Butera “Deliella” Nero d’Avola DOC 2012 from Sicily and a Famiglia Zonin Amarone DOCG 2013, the latter being my favourite wine of the evening, which really elevate the chocolate notes in the sauce. Dark garnet red in appearance, it had a seductive nose giving rise to berries and prunes, with fragrant aromatic mouth notes.
Our evening finished with a Passion fruit and mango cheesecake served with a Castello del Poggio Moscato D’asti DOCG 2016. Made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Moscato Bianco in Italy), this grape is the oldest member of the Muscat family. A light sparkling wine, it was aromatic and floral and whilst it paired well with this dessert, I found the wine rather unassuming.
Other wine events are planned for later in the year, so keep your eye on their social media for more details. In summary, it was a delicious evening of food and wine, shared at a leisurely pace as only the Italians know how, allowing for great conversation and company.
The Wine House 1821
4 Picardy Place
Edinburgh EH1 3JT
Telephone: 0131 557 1821