Sunday lunch, discovering the origin
Oh England, what a haphazard summer this has been. Started out mostly warm and sunny (June/July) but now it seems that come August the weather is pitching a hissy fit. One day it’s hot, next it’s cold and rainy and everyone is twittering on about how “there’s something autumnal in the air.” Whatever, according to my calendar, it’s still summer.
In defiance of the capricious weather, my friend Claire invited a few of us round for Sunday lunch in her new garden. On the menu: beetroot gravalax, lamb shoulder, samphire and lentils, roast figs and peaches and a cheese plate to finish it all off, with some cheeky chocs thrown in for good measure.
I had a couple of bottles laying around the house, as you do, that were sent to me by the Discover the Origin campaign so I toted those along. According to the website…
…Discover the Origin is a campaign promoted by the European Union, Italy, France and Portugal and achieved by the office representative of five key European products: Burgundy wines, Port and Douro Valley Wines, Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese. The aim of all of them is to enhance knowledge of the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) among consumers, distributors and food professionals and to educate on the benefits of the provenance indicator schemes, the relevant checks, controls and traceability systems that are put in place to ensure ongoing quality, and to differentiate the products and raise their profiles…
To that end, I had a bottle of red Burgundy and some LBV port for lunch. What is it about red Burgundy that makes me love drinking it? Is it the silky smoothness of the wine, the floral, ethereal aromatic notes, bringing to mind fields of lavendar, the taste of cherries, raspberries and red currants, a certain earthiness that seems to permeate my tastebuds. I just can never get enough of it. This one was a Chorey-Les-Beaune 2005 and even though it was just a Grand Vin de Bourgogne and not a premier cru or anything of that ilk, it was such a charming wine. There are pinot lovers and pinot haters out there and you can firmly put me in the camp of pinot lovers. French pinot in particular, although I wouldn’t say no to New World pinots. We had it with the lamb and whilst the lamb was excellent, I think it probably would have been a better match with the salmon we had as a starter.
Even though it’s summer, why not drink port? Chill it up and it’s good to go. Not vintage port but LBV is just fine on a summers day. LBV means that the wine is basically all from a single year’s harvest and is bottled after no less then 4 years in wood. I popped open the Taylor’s 2004 Late Bottle Vintage and we were off. We were greedy little piggies and had chocolates AND cheese to go along with the port. I like LBV because it’s ready to drink now and is not as heavy going as vintage port. It’s also a lot easier on the pocketbook and you don’t have to wait decades to drink it. The LBV was classic, notes of dried fruits and chocolate on the nose and palate, it was perfect with both the chocs and cheese. Luiz had brought an unpasteurized brie, which was amazingly creamy and pungent and Debbie had brought a little number she’d picked up from La Fromagerie,a Petit Creux (cow’s milk) from Burgundy. I suppose we should have had the red Burgundy with it but it went just fine with the port. Some people say you should have hard cheese with port but not me. If it tastes good, then why not.
I was happy to share these wines with my dining companions as although they were familiar with them, I did give them a little primer on red Burgundy and LBV port so I guess I did my bit to help them “discover the origins”. It was a fun afternoon, delicious food, excellent wines and rather random events happening after lunch – walking to my house afterwards someone fell into Regent’s Canal and once we got to my flat, we managed to blow out the fuse box but those are stories for another day.