They assembled to enjoy tasty canapés (curried crab and liver terrine) and Robert Denogent Macon Les Sardines 2017 (Mâcon, France), an unconventional chardonnay found by wine spokesman Robert Lea not to fully justify Parker’s score of 89 points but still a presentable wine with a creamy long finish.
The first course attracted both praise and disapproval; the “Ayes” won, I think, but those who do not enjoy goat cheese were not to be won over. The dish, Goat Cheese Soufflé with Hazelnut, Nutmeg, and Green Apple I found to be tasty. Similarly Tegernseerhof Loibenberg, Smaragd Grüner Veltliner 2016 (Wachau, Austria) was found by some a little underwhelming but the wine earned deserved endorsement from Robert and lived up to the winemaker’s description: “Spending 9 months on the lees, the result is intense and rich with aromas of white pepper, lemon, lime, salt, and smoke, crisp acidity, and a powerful finish”.
Next came a real treat for fish lovers: Turbot with Viennoise Crust and Sauce Mousseline and Whit Beer. As confirmed by food spokesman Mike Usher, cooked to perfection, the fish was hidden under a savoury coating and enhanced by the sauce. It was excellent. More of the Grüner Veltliner followed and found to be well matched to the fish. A great pairing for two special items.
The main course included Venison Loin Sous Vide with Braised Cabbage, Black Forest Ham, and Parsnip. It was delicious as was the accompanying Hacienda Monasterio Crianza 2016 (Ribera del Duero, Spain). Parker awarded it 94 points: “The Crianza is a powerful wine from a large vintage where the vines delivered a good crop of ripe grapes [80% Tempranillo and 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot], even when the grapes were harvested early. They told me they have seen the climate change in their vineyards, and the ripe grapes and the wine now achieve 15% alcohol. This is a generous and ripe wine with a juicy texture, ripe flavours and abundant, round tannins.” Robert went on to confirm that global warming is a threat to future vintages. Mike, rarely lost for words, was fulsome with praise when it came to describe the venison; it was tender, juicy and full of flavour and an excellent choice from Chef Nico.
Assiette de Fromage followed. There were a number of cheeses to be found providing our gourmands with lots of choice. It (and the dessert) were served with a second Spanish wine, Dominio de Pingus PSI 2016 (also from Ribera del Duero) which is deservedly currently enjoying fame; Robert drew our attention to the differences between the wines and suggested that the more powerful Monasterio might have followed the Pingus.
Our final dish Black Forest Gateau arrived; Mike a long term resident of Bavaria did not think it was an authentic rendering but correctly said it was truly excellent and a fitting conclusion to a great lunch.
However the lunch was not yet over. Wine Master Thomas Boedinger will celebrate one more year on the planet this month; he very kindly treated us to a glass or two of Chivas Regal Mizunara which was truly appreciated by one and all. Rewarding Thomas’ sterling contributions to our enjoyment over several years, he was invited to deliver our thanks to the Belga team for their hard work, enthusiasm, and professional delivery.