Tanners Wines Blog
Our Trade Director, Adrian Patterson, had kindly volunteered to nip down to Oxfordshire, to host a small dinner at the very lovely Fleece Hotel in very pretty Witney… then he dropped out and I had to go instead. (I’m sure he does it this way so there’s no time to take his name of the posters and tickets!)
Anyhow, lots going on at The Fleece, with a new management team attempting their first gourmet evening in their newly refurbished Private Dining Room, with only a rough idea of how many people might actually turn up! Despite the uncertainty however, General Manager Suzie Ayling, Head Chef Alistair Barlow and the restaurant team did a fantastic job with this really neat four-course menu:
Honey & Ginger Pheasant, Crisp Pancetta & Pistachio Salad
Saumur Blanc ‘Scherzo’, Domaine de la Paleine 2008
Venison Medallions, Cherries, Cinnamon & Walnuts, Pomme Puree
Massaya Classic Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2008
Rabbit & Bacon Pie, Roast Beetroot & Baby Spinach Salad
Esterházy Pinot Noir, Austria 2009
Bramley Apple Crumble, Kirsch Custard
Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese, Weingut Meulenhof 2005*
I could have gone Alsatian for the Pheasant, Pinot Gris or possibly Gewürztraminer but the Saumur showed so well at our recent Hereford branch tasting and besides, it’s something a bit different too. Only an impression of that woolly lanolin character, which really took a back seat to the wonderful aromas and flavours of golden honey and baked apple fruit, with a fascinating balance between obvious ripeness and an impressive core of juicy acidity keeping everything ticking along nicely.
Next came a surprisingly sweet and sticky main course, with a rude mash and absolutely delicious, fruity gravy. Initially, Massaya was all about giving the guests something controversial to drink but the cinnamon-laced fruit turned out to be a match made in heaven! The Classic Rouge packs a punch at 15% vol. but as I explained to the diners, as long as the alcohol is in balance with fruit, acid and tannin, especially accompanied by food, it really shouldn’t matter. And besides, do you need to finish the bottle in one sitting? (Silly question Aiden.)
Rabbit gave us the chance to cool things down a bit ahead of the dessert (I like the idea of finishing on a lighter note) and Pinot Noir seemed to be the natural choice. Sadly I didn’t get chance to try the pie, although it looked amazing but what I can say is, we ran out of Pinot because everyone loved it! The wine was showing very well, with the barest hint of oak giving a savoury edge to the earthy red fruits, lovely freshness as always and fine-grained tannins. The guests were pleasantly surprised that an Austrian red had shown such intensity along with a genuine lightness of touch.
And this led us perfectly to a dessert that gave me a great excuse to try to get some German wine on the table! Meulenhof’s wines always have a broad, creamy texture and although the Auslese is a big sweet wine, like most Mosel offerings, it is perfectly balanced by acidity. 2005 was a very warm vintage that produced almost tropical fruit flavours in the ripest wines but this also has plenty of apple and pear fruit too, something that I was counting on to best partner the crumble. Do you know what? There were loads of mutterings about how sweet the wine was (and the fact that it was German), right up until they tried it with the food - and then it was all smiles! The intensely tangy sweet and sour crumble swung with the punches of the Auslese and the creamy custard just tied the whole lot together… A fine match if I do say so myself.
* Currently stocking 2009
This post was posted in Food and Wine Matching and was tagged with Austrian Wine, Domaine de la Paleine, Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese, Esterházy, Food and wine matching, German wine, Gewürztraminer, Lebanese Wine, Massaya Classic Rouge, Meulenhof, Pheasant, Pinot Noir, Saumur Blanc ‘Scherzo’, Venison, Wine
We've decided to view the snow as a 'challenge' rather than an insurmountable obstacle to delivering your wines in time for Christmas... and at Tanners, we like a challenge!
Of over 14,000 courier deliveries that we've carried out so far this Christmas, only 4 have got stuck in depots in Scotland - not too bad! But it does show that there can be no 'guarantees' for Christmas Delivery this year.
Our couriers, APC, are still beavering away all over Great Britain and putting in a huge effort. Obviously there are delays in the worst hit areas, for example Scotland deliveries are taking an average of 3 days longer than normal.
If your wine is to be delivered to a snowy area, all that is required is a common-sense approach when ordering for Christmas - if you can't get out of your drive without a four-wheel drive - unfortunately, the courier won't be able to get to you. However, all wine should be collectable from your local courier depot and we're shipping it out of the Tanners warehouse as fast as the orders are coming in (Welshpool remains relatively unscathed!)
To check the status of your delivery, you can email us (please quote your order number) so that we can then check where it's got to. If it's not possible to do the final leg to your front door and you're feeling intrepid, we'll provide a consignment number and you can contact your local APC courier depot to arrange collection from them even if they can't take their vans on the road.
You can find out how local your APC depot is by using the postcode checker at the top of the left hand side of the APC website.
I love Christmas Day. It gives me a brilliant excuse to indulge myself without any guilt, not that I need much of an excuse! I'm looking forward to spending this Christmas with my family in North Wales; we always have a few people round in the morning and I like to open a bottle of fizz to get the morning started properly whilst cracking open the prezzies.
Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills 2010 (£13.50) fits the bill perfectly, elegant strawberries and cream on the palate and a really attractive, festive pink colour.
Christmas dinner always starts with prawn cocktail. It's retro, a bit of a Christmas dinner cliche, but just like on Shrove Tuesday with pancakes you end up saying "why don't we have this more often?"! It's a tricky one to match with wine but a Mosel Riesling fits the bill nicely, particularly at Kabinett level where the wines are dryish to match the prawns, but with a nice touch of sweetness to match the Marie Rose sauce. Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett, Kurt Hain 2009 (11.60) will be my wine of choice.
For the main course, we tend to alternate between turkey and beef. I must confess, beef wins for me every time; who wouldn't rather a delicious slab of aged Welsh Black rib over a dull, pale, dried out turkey? It also gives me a good reason to serve beautiful claret, with a bit of age to it.
This year I've plumped for Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc 2001 (£18.40). This is showing really well at the moment, just starting to get ready for drinking now, ten years after this excellent vintage. The colour is most surprising, still almost purple as though still in its infancy. Wait until you try it; blackcurrant, cassis, tobacco and pencil shavings come through, with endless length. More than a match for any roast. Pop it in a decanter for an hour before serving to really open it up and show off the colour.
After that lot, no one usually fancies a spot of Christmas pud, but for greedy guts like me an Aussie Muscat like the Stanton & Killeen Rutherglen Muscat (£9.20) is the perfect match. After that, it's usually time to 'rest my eyes' in front of the tv!
I wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas, hopefully enjoying some amazing wines.
Matthew Evans, Area Sales Manager
This post was posted in Food and Wine Matching, Twelve Days of Christmas and was tagged with Adelaide Hills, Bird in Hand Pinot Noir, Château Lanessan, Christmas tree, claret, fizz, Haut Medoc, Kabinett, Mosel Riesling, Muscat, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese, Pinot Noir