Guest speaker Martin Sheen – host Anthony Borges – Catering by Chimneys
Excellent speaker (thanks Martin, really interesting and fun) and first class food and service by Chimneys. Well done Gareth, Alex and Rochelle. The Muscadet made a fabulous aperitif – and was always going to be a hard act to follow. But the Gavi di Gavi with Chimneys tian of oaked smoked salmon and trout was inspired. The two burgundies were argably text book matches with the tian, but the Gavi shone brightest for me! With the truly exceptional rump of lamb the Dog Point Pinot Noir was superb, the claret (also text book with lamb) not so much of a match this time. The juicy rump simply went best with the soft, juicy red-fruited Pinot. Had it been served with rosemary it might have turned out in favour of the claret, but not this evening. The two big guns of the evening were served with hard cheese – I loved them both, the Bonny Doon a more supple, sensual expression of Chateauneuf, the Vieux Telegraph more complex and explosive - in fact simply awsome. The sweet was fabulous with a single blue cheese, also explosive, the contrasts of sweet and salt working to great effect. And the deserts, enjoyed unaccompanied, were a masterpiece - a trio of dark chocolate mousse, Benoffee and gooseberry fool. Well done Chimneys.
Muscadet Prestige Saupin, 2011, “leesy”, £10.99
Produced by Mathieu Saupin at his property north east of Nantes. A zippy vibrancy and richness acquired by extended lees ageing. Perfect as an aperitif – and would be perfect with oysters were we in season. We had it with a crisp snack to take away the wine`s natural acidity. Excellent.
Sarotto Gavi di Gavi, 2010, “mineral-rich”, £11.99
Roberto Sarotto’s Gavi di Gavi comes from his 50 year old Cortese vines lying in the vineyard of Bric Sassi della Maddalena, where the vines are mostly south facing. His wine is fresh and clean with white peach, stone fruits and a creamy, delicious minerality. It was only following phylloxera here in the late 1800′s that the vineyards were planted with Cortese to take advantage of the marvellous seafood nearby.
Bourgogne Tradition, Collovray & Terrier 2010, “biscuity”, £13.99
Chardonnay grown in the Maconnais in the picturesque and rolling hills surrounding the Rock of Solutre. This is a very pleasing unoaked wine and eminently quaffable. Winemakers Jean Luc Terrier and Christian Collovray are acknowledged as masters of their profession.
Bourgogne Chateau de Puligny, 2009, “fine expression” £24.99
Under the former ownership of Michel Laroche of Chablis fame the park of mature trees in front of the Chateau was torn up and a vineyard planted. It was subsequently sold to Credit Foncier where Etienne de Montille converted to organic and biodynamic practices. The results are clear to see – a very fine, ripe expression of fruit length and quality and showing every vestige of its origins. This is Puligny-Montrachet without the price tag!
Dog Point Pinot Noir, 2009, “silky red fruits”, £26.99
Ivan Sutherland and James Healy were vineyard manager and winemaker respectivelyat Cloudy Bay before creating Dog Point, so named because the vineyard used to be a sheep station occupied by wild dogs. The Pinot spends 18 months in Troncais oak, adding complexity and richness to its silky red fruits.
Ch Lucas 2008, St Emilion 2008 “soft & spicy” £13.99
A 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc lying in the St Emilion satellite community of Lussac roughly 45kms east of Bordeaux. It belongs to the Vauthier family who also own Ch Ausone and comprises of 10 hectares. Here in the vineyard lutte raisonee is practised “reasoned fight” in that chemicals and sprays are only used when absolutely necessary. The wine has ripe red fruits with a touch of vanilla and a succulent ripeness from the Merlot on the palate complemented by a crisp firmness from the Cab Franc.
Cigar Volant 2007, “New World icon wine”, £35.99
This flagship wine comes from Randall Grahm (not a spelling mistake – it is Grahm) and his winery Bonny Doon. Cigare Volant is French for flying saucer and is Randall’s take on a Chateauneuf blend of Grenache Syrah Mourvedre and a dash of Cinsault, whilst at the same time taking a pop at the French as it was in 1953 that the mayor of Chateauneuf had a law passed stating that flying saucers were not permitted to land in the vineyards! Bright cherry, red currant and cranberry fruit combine gloriously with a savoury, gamey spice note. Fabulous New World icon wine!
Chateauneuf Vieux Telegraph 2008, “Old World icon wine”, £53.99
The original Cigar Volant! One of the most renowned, traditional estates of Chateauneuf in the southern Rhone, a 45 hectare estate with an average vine age of 55 years and cared for by the Brunier family who has owned it for the past 100 years. Two thirds of the blend is Grenache with equal amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre and a little Cinsault. The wine was truly memorable – glorously unfolding into the most complex layers even as we were drinking it!
Tokaji Noble Late Harvest 2008 (37.5cl) “nectar of the gods”, £17.99
This is a modern style late harvest bunches of the Furmint grape variety, about half affected by noble rot. It is exotically fragrant with honeyed apricot fruit kept in check by a lively acidity. The estate is in the ownership of David and Pablo Alvarez who also own Vega Sicilia arguably Spain’s most famous winery. They bought here when the Hungarian state monopoly was broken up in 1993 having realised the immense potential of the centuries old Oremus vineyards.