By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle, Out and Travelin’
It’s not often that you get the opportunity to enjoy a six-course dinner as we did at the Mystic Marriot on June 13. Created by Executive Chef Paul Krawic the superb fare was accompanied by Chenin Blanc wines introduced by one of South Africa’s best vintners, Ken Forrester.
Host and General Manager Farouk Rajab joined Waterford Hotel Group Chairman and CEO Len Wolman in welcoming Ken Forrester of Ken Forrester Wines to the area. Len and Ken went to school together in South Africa, and this renewal of their friendship was the first visit to Mystic Country by Mr. Forrester and his wife Teresa.
A proud supporter of Connecticut farms, top-ranked Chef Paul, who resides in Gales Ferry, featured locally farmed ingredients in his new spring/summer menu. Selections from the wine dinner included local apples and Cato Farms ‘womanchego’ cheese fondue, Stonington seared scallops with mushroom risotto, grilled swordfish with toasted Israeli cous cous, chicken statler with jicama slaw and potato skins, and a desert sampler plate. The six courses were all beautifully prepared and plated, and served perfectly by the charming and attentive wait staff.
Each course was accompanied by one of Ken’s organically certified wines, and the name of the dinner “Chenin Celebration” featured a Petit Chenin Blanc, Reserve Chenin Blanc, and FMC Forrester Meinhert Chenin that each paired with a course. Red wines included a Pinotage (Pinot Noir/Meritage) and Renegade (Grenache and Sirah), with the luxurious dessert wine “T” Noble Late Harvest concluding the luscious selection. The buzz at this convivial pairing dinner seemed like nothing but raves for each of the wines.
Ken explained that “We are located near the ocean, and the cool breezes and sunshine contribute to the brightness of the wine. Our grapes are farmed and harvested by hand, and the soil is tilled by hand as well.” The Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa has certified Ken Forrester Wines as a vineyard offering sustainability and integrity. Ken continued by proudly stating: “We use no pesticides or herbicides.” www.kenforresterwines.com. The land on which Ken Forrester Wines now stands has been a vineyard since 1689.
Len Wolman announced that the wines are now included in the wine list at the Octagon Restaurant in the Mystic Marriott. www.octagonsteakhouse.com
As the gala evening ended with dessert and coffee, Sara Ryan, representing Ken’s U.S. distributer, told us that the wines served at the Chenin Celebration will be available locally at the Cask N’ Keg in Mystic – two of them for less than $12 per bottle!
Len and Ken really know how to host a dinner party, with the best food, wines, service and clubby ambience at the AAA 4-Diamond Octagon at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa. We highly recommend it!