A warm sunny evening and a pleasant stroll from Warwick Avenue underground station heading towards the Truscott Arms Maida Vale London where Yalumba were hosting their aptly named Butcher, Baker and Winemaker dinner with Yalumba chief winemaker Louisa Rose.
I remember visiting the Truscott Arms many times although it was quite a few years ago now before its makeover and it was nice to return.
My wife and I were invited to the dinner courtesy of Tesco by submitting an online review of two of Yalumba wines the ‘Old Bush Vine Grenach 2013’ and the ‘Shiraz Viognier 2012’ and then Yalumba voting on the best reviews. (see reviews here).
On arrival around 7.00pm we were shown into the outdoor garden area for pre dinner drinks and canapes where we were given a glass of ‘Yalumba Y Series Riesling 2014′ which was crisp and dry but still with a lovely creaminess giving a little weight. This is where we met fellow review winners along with the guys from Negociants UK and of course Louisa who we had a quick chat with before dinner.
At 7.30pm we were shown to an upstairs dinning area where an impressively laid out table greeted us. After a few formalities and an introduction By Louisa Rose about the wines we were drinking our glasses were filled with the first selection of the ‘Eden Valley Viognier 2013’ and the ‘Old Bush vine Grenache 2013‘ to go with the first course Charcuterie. Both paired very well with a slight preference for the Intense and aromatic Viognier which was full of ripe apricots and wonderful texture.
Next up was Halibut with a Rousanne reduction, grapes and Salsify accompanied by a crisp, slightly acidic and perfumed Roussanne in which, after a show of hands not many people in the room had tried before.
Beef Cheeks were next along with a couple of reds, the ‘Patchwork Shiraz 2013‘ and my star of the night the ‘Signature Cab Sauvignon Shiraz 2010‘ a superb blend full of fresh cherries and red currants, slightly dusty and tannic with a touch of menthol, (didn’t decline the offer of a refill ).
For dessert we were treated to another brilliant wine the ‘FSW8B Botrytis Viognier 2014‘ Sweet but not cloying a perfect end to a perfect meal.
Louisa was friendly and knowledgeable answering all our questions and it was brilliant to meet her personally. All in all another fantastic night eating, drinking and meeting the guys behind the wines we buy. Superb stuff.
Always nice to have a bite to eat and a few drinks over a Christmas period even better when the Co-leader in the Wines & Spirits sector worldwide Pernod Ricard asked me if I would like to attend their annual ‘Christmas Media Lunch’, not something I would normally be expected to get an invite for but a couple of weeks ago to my surprise, there it was sitting in my inbox.
At 12.15pm on the 4th December I apprehensively but excitedly made my way out of Gunnersbury station and made the short journey across the road to Chiswick Park Building 12, wondering why a humble amateur wine blogger would be invited to this prestigious event at the new swanky offices of Pernod Ricard UK.
Warmly greeted at the door I was escorted to the floor that had been transformed into a brilliantly white (should have brought my snow goggles) Winter Wonderland. A small crowd had already gathered mostly around the bar, where the bartenders were furiously making all kinds of exotic cocktails made with Pernod Ricard’s vast array of spirits.
I was given a Rum cocktail drink which on first sip very nice but having realised that my first passion is wine I was quickly whisked off to the Wine tasting room for a pre lunch private tasting ( well, I was the only one in the tasting room at that time as everybody else was still hitting the cocktails) of Jacob’s Creek Rieslings and Cabernet Sauvignons where Anthony Gordon their Knowledgeable and friendly Wine Development Executive took me through some impressive back vintages of both Riesling and Cabernets, the absolute stars for me was the 2003 Reserve Riesling and the 2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a lovely start to the afternoon.
Lunch was served around 1.30pm and keeping in theme the tables were set with another winter backdrop which was like sitting in the Artic (only a lot warmer) kept looking under the tables expecting penguins to suddenly appear. For starters we were served Sea Bass, main dish of Smoked Venison and a chocolate and Honeycomb dessert. The wines to accompany the superb food was Brancott Estate Sauvignon Gris 2014, Jacob’s Creek Shiraz and a GH Mumm Rose Champagne.
During coffee we were treated to a glass of the new Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old cognac (I was told it would probably retail at £100 +), lovely end to the meal.
All in all this was a very nice way to spend a cold afternoon in December, a big thanks to the guys at Pernod Ricard for the invite, the warm welcome and the brilliant food and of course wine, capped off by a generous gift of a bottle of Club Havana Rum., to see through the winter nights.