Ruinart 2002 lunch

This week marked the beginning of Spring and I am so ready to say goodbye to winter! What better way to celebrate then with  the launch of the Dom Ruinart 2002. Oh, yeah! Ruinart have a very distinctive bottle shape and it’s easy to spot one across a crowded room. I am a sucker for design but what’s in the bottle is just as distinctively designed. One of the qualities I most admire about champagne is the concept of assemblage.  Having spent a fair amount of time around vineyards both in Champagne and in other wine producing regions, I think that to blend champagne must be one of the most difficult things to do (no disrespect to other wine makers as I know how hard producers work to coax wine from the vine).  The cellar master uses base wines (which are thin and acidic forerunners of the wine to come) from various vintages and is able to foresee how that wine is going to transform into champagne after going through not one but two fermentations and then spending a minimum of 3yrs in a cold dark cellar laying on a sediment of dead yeast cells. Incredible and yet, the Champenois manage to produce their amazing champagnes year in and year out. Ruinart Chef de Cave Frederic Panaiotis pointed out that for Ruinart, the quality they most desire is a refined timelessness and elegance while at the same time not becoming a boring champagne which never changes with the vintages. He said that when they work on blending the wine they pay particular attention to the mouthfeel, weight and softness in the mouth while at the same time ensuring that they are making a lively and flexible champagne. He likened their champagne to alpaca wool, instant luxury and quality combined which, although you don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate, does help. The complexity and depth of the champagne is a pleasure for experts but it also has an immediate appeal and he says...

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Riesling at The Modern Pantry, Spring Tasting menu

Spring is just around the corner, now if we could just get the weather to cooperate. In anticipation of warm days and sunny skies, The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is featuring a riesling paired Spring Tasting menu for the month of March.This is first of what they promise to be a series of wine themed dinners. I think it’s apt to have riesling for Spring as it’s such a refreshing wine with it’s racy body and zippy, zingy acidity, represented by the New World’s offerings to the rich honeyed aromas and ripe stone fruit flavours and minerality of the Old World, riesling rarely let’s me down. It’s also a very versatile food wine and, with recently awarded MBE, Anna Hansen’s cuisine, is the perfect partner to the often spicy, exotic flavours of her food. The wines were chosen by Bill Knott for the restaurant and what was most interesting was that Bill said he chose the wines first and then worked with Anna to find just the right food matches. Usually, it’s the other way around when doing food and wine matching. Bill chose an array of rieslings showcasing it’s versatility from a variety of wine growing regions, from its homeland of Germany to the ends of New Zealand, we were presented with a delightful profile of the grape. An amuse bouche of tempura battered oysters was followed by the first course of Black fried squid paired with a kabinette riesling, the Bernkastler Badstube 2010 from the Mosel was a nice foil to the spicy sweet squid, the wine being slightly spritzy with loads of sweet ripe peach fruit on the palate, salty and sweet…mmmmm. Albert Mann is a great producer from Alsace and biodynamic to boot. His wines are always refined and fresh, the 2009 Albert Mann was pleasingly aromatic, almond blossom notes floating about. A slightly off dry but tasty wine with delicious ripe fruit on the palate. The seared King oyster mushroom, yuzu & tamari and kimchee & manouri pot sticker...

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New Wine Society launching at 1 Lombard St in the City

Aug 10, 11 New Wine Society launching at 1 Lombard St in the City

Posted by in Food and Wine

Charles Dickens used to work in a bank at 1 Lombard St. That bank has since been turned into the restaurant 1 Lombard St and I was there the other night for the launch of their new Wine Society. The restaurant’s sommelier Matthew Mawtus is going to be conducting winetastings in the bank’s former vault featuring not only his favourite wines but also the wine makers who make those wines. I Iike Matthew’s favourite wines as well. It seems his Society will be focusing on some of the world’s greatest wines of which I’m always happy to partake of, being an Old World wine kind of gal. Monday night he featured white Burgundy, Bordeaux and a tokaji – yum! All of the wines came from the restaurants extensive cellar and there are plenty of big names on the list from all the classic wine regions, which I suppose is to be expected from a restaurant in the heart of the City. The restaurant is right across the street from the Bank of England and I can imagine many a banker’s meeting being held the modern brasserie dining room. We started with an elegant Chassagne Montrachet, the 2007 from Domaine Louis Carillon. I just love those elegant white Burgundies, complex but harmonious on the palate and constantly evolving as I was drinking it. It was paired with poached sweetbreads, which I’m not a big fan of, but the sweetbreads were so well prepared that I ate them all and the wine was well matched, lemony citrus finish and a subtle chalky note to it. Everyone knows I like a good Bordeaux or Bored-O as my friends say because I seem to drone on and on about them but I do love them and so does Matthew. The 2004 Leoville Barton was served with noisettes of lamb. A classic Bordeaux, savoury nose- leather, cedar, graphite, and a touch of brett, which I always enjoy. The Leoville was free flowing and much enjoyed by everyone round the...

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BYOwineclub has begun!

Back in January, I wrote a short post about BYOB and the lack of it in London. Little did I know what a response I would get and what a *ahem* thirst there was for it here in London. Fast forward 6 months and a new club has just been founded here in London to address that very problem of the lack of BYO in our fair city. Now, I have nothing to do with the club other then being a member but I think it’s a great idea who time has finally arrived. Founders Chris and Khadine Johnson-Rose came up with the idea after they wanted to have a going away party in a nice restaurant drinking their own wines and couldn’t find a place in West London that could accommodate them. They got to thinking and came up with the BYOWineclub. The premise is quite simple. You pay a fee to have access to restaurants that would normally either not offer BYO or charge very high corkage fees. In exchange for your yearly membership fee, the restaurants will either charge little or no corkage fee. Most of the fees range from £5 – £15 pounds. So far they have signed up a number of great London restaurants, including Baltic, Boisdales of Bishopsgate, Club Gascon, Arbutus, Hix, Aubergine, Tom Aikens and Apsleys at the Lanesborough to name check a couple of them. There are a few restrictions but my favourite has to be from Cafe Anglais who stipulate that you cannot bring more then one bottle per person! While it is true I had my last birthday dinner there and we did BYO, I ‘m pretty sure I’m not the reason for that rule More and more restaurants are being added all the time, so be sure to check their website to see if your favourite restaurant is part of the club. As an added bonus, BYOWineclub has teamed up with the wine merchant, Nicholas, and they will be running special promotions in...

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