Joanne and I recently attended the RAVENTOS i BLANC wine pairing dinner on 23 May 2018 at BABE – Japas Fun Dining in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
The Raventós family has lived on their estate in Barcelona, Spain since 1497. Over the years, twenty-one generations have worked this land, which comprises 90 hectares of vines, forest and lake, with a specific microclimate influenced by the river, a lake, two streams and a hill known as the Turó del Serral. The terroir (soils) are calcareous with marine fossils, and this provides the ideal conditions for producing wines with a potent mineral expression.
Today, Pepe Raventós, who represents the twenty-first generation of the family, farms 44 plots using biodynamic winegrowing methods and is committed to maintaining the estate of vines, wood and lake as a complete entity. As a winery and vineyard, Raventós i Blanc remains faithful to tradition and upholds the relationship between man and nature at the very core of its production philosophy.
The welcome drink – Raventós i Blanc ‘Blanc de Blancs’ 2015
A structured, fresh and complex wine with white floral notes on the nose. The wine is impeccably balanced with a marked minerality, soft and fresh fruit flavours, and some nutty notes. The small, nicely integrated bubbles and saline qualities are in perfect harmony with the slightly creamy texture.
This was my first time tasting Raventos i Blanc and I was really surprised by the noticeable minerality, which I thought I wouldn’t like but did to even my surprise! The bubbles kept this drink very refreshing, and to be very honest – very easy to drink (which can be rather dangerous ha ha!)
Sashimi Spring Roll
Some fun little canapes to get the evening started! Dining at BABE – Japas Fun Dining is always a gastronomic adventure with many items rarely tasting as they look (except their absolutely superb wagyu of course) which really messes with your mind as your eyes are in constant conflict with your palate!
We were also given some mysterious shooters in test tubes which was called “Down the Rabbit Hole”! We each selected one and tried to name the flavours which were later revealed by the waiter. An interesting test of how discerning our palates were and how deceiving looks can be!
Mozzarella Cheese Spheres with Marinated Tomato Basil
Ie. Caprese salad which I absolutely love! This mini Mozzarella sphere was meant to be eaten in one (1) mouthful, allowing the creamy goodness to explode inside your mouth!
King Crab Airbread
Hollow Bread with Crab Meat Mousse Topped with Cured Ootoro
Black Truffle and King Crab Chawanmushi
With Black Truffle and King Crab Ankake and Ginger
The most luxurious chawanmushi I’ve ever eaten! The bits of black truffle added a nice rich dimension to the popular dish, while the king crab was sweet and succulent!
Foie Gras, Brandy and Mirin Flavoured Ice Cream Sandwich
Paired with Raventós i Blanc ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2013
Sight pale yellow colour with fine bubbles that form a good crown. On the nose it has white flower aromas, citrus notes and minerals. On the palate it is fresh, elegant and pleasant. Excellent acidity with a long finish.
This was an elegant example of how contrasting flavors work together to achieve balance. The BabeNDaz (which is one of BABE’s most famous signature dishes!) was rich and earthy, while the ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2013 has lots of acidity to cut through the richness, keeping the palate fresh and ready for more! The mineral notes added a nice depth to this pairing, balanced nicely against the floral aromas and citrus notes.
Black Butter Cod
Dried Black Mushroom Teri, Broccoli, Pickled Mustard Seeds and Kale
Paired with Raventós i Blanc ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2012
Toasty and generous with minerals and dried flowers on the nose. Juicy, with a fair bit of foam, the palate is rich, concentrated and dry with lovely crunchy green apple acidity on the finish.
The cod came with a sake and soy teriyaki sauce which provided loads of sweet, umami flavours, with pickled mustard seeds that was really unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before but went so well with the cod. The ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2012 was an excellent pairing for the cod, imparting dry, green apple notes to complement the flavours of the dish. Before tasting, I was somewhat apprehensive that the minerality would work against the fish, however it turned out that there was enough minerality to balance out the wine, but not overpower the fish.
Duck Fat Fried Sunchoke, Roasted Barley Jus with Clove Perfume
*Raventós i Blanc ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2011*
Zesty mineral and orange zest flourishes brighten musky pear skin, peach pit, chamomile and brown butter aromas. Full, fleshy and emphatically dry, with sappy citrus and orchard fruit flavours that are accented by fennel, toasted nuts and chalky mineral notes. Walks a fine line between richness and delicacy, finishing extremely long and emphatically stony.
I rarely come across Sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichoke) in Malaysia thus I was rather surprised (albiet a welcome surprise) to find it in this dish. This was an interesting dish. The roast quail was pleasantly complemented by the jus, and also the ‘La Finca’ Gran Reserva 2011 which imparted a whole host of sophisticated flavours to this dish! Again, the minerality was evident and very welcome to added a nice touch of balance.
Pure Strawberry Sponge, Almond Cake, Liquid Sable and Pickled Rose Petals
Paired with Raventós i Blanc de Nit 2014
A sparkling rose. The wine has light citrus, red flowers, white fruit, and a touch of cassis on the nose. The clean, direct sensation of the nose changes radically in the mouth where it combines a smooth, voluminous and fruity texture with a pleasant freshness and fine bubbles. Driven by a very good balance, with low dosage.
A playful dessert of which you would expect at BABE paired with a sparkling rose which cut through the sweetness. A delightful end to a wonderful meal with wines that I surprisingly liked quite a lot!
I’m not a huge fan of wine (I’m more a whisky, beer drinker but I do like wine and food pairings) but I quite liked the wines served as it had a good minerality notes, which provided a really nice balance as compared to most wines which are sweet/ fruity. The food at BABE was as always – playful, yet sophisticated and delicious.
For more info, head over to http://www.raventos.com/
BABE – Japas Fun Dining is located at:
11th Floor, Work@Clearwater,
50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Telephone: +603.2095 8599
Operation Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 7pm & 8.30pm seatings (CLOSED on Mondays)