Our Apéritif, Domaine François Pinon Vouvray Brut NV (Loire valley), found favour with most of the 21 diners.
This traditional method sparkling wine is made from 100% Chenin Blanc from old vines and spent over 18 months on lees in the bottle lending complexity and depth to the style.
Knowing in advance that our starter was to be Cantabria Anchovies and Tuna Tartare with Caviar and Tofu-Yuzu Emulsion, some of us deliberated on a suitable matching wine. Thomas Boedinger’s final choice of Domaine Frédéric Lornet Arbois Nature 2015 (Jura) was confirmed by wine spokesman Tom Whitcraft, to be an excellent one.
Made from the indigenous Savagnin grape variety, it was not too dry and even had some hints of apple. Food spokesman John MacTaggart singled out the tuna which was especially nice and the dish colourful.
The next course was Fettucine with Quail Périgord Truffle, which featured generous shavings of the prized fungus along with delicious portions of quail that was cooked to perfection. This was paired with Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Western Cape, SA), which proved to another good match for the food, though it is perhaps still a bit young.
Venison with Rustic Polenta and Chestnut Honey, Chestnut Purée and Blueberry Juice was our main dish. Chef Roland did an excellent job of cooking the venison just short of medium rare; overall this was a really excellent presentation.
To accompany it, Thomas had selected Hacienda Monasterio Crianza 2014 (Ribera del Duero, Spain), for which Robert Parker had awarded 94 points. “The secret was an early harvest to keep the acidity and freshness in the wine and keep the alcoholic degree under control. It’s mostly Tempranillo, with 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, fermented with indigenous yeasts and with long and soft macerations. It matured for some 18 months in French oak barrels”. A big and lovely wine said Tom.