Phew!! What an extremely busy month May was for me this year. Not only did I celebrate my 40th birthday, but also I was involved in many vinous and epicurean shenanigans and activities. Hence, a sincere apology for my belated blog post. They have now been stacking up and my output has been reduced to around one or two a week. I’ve also started tweeting too! Hmmm…exciting stuff ahead. In addition, you know the phrases: “It’s all about who you know, not what you know” and “It helps to be in the right place at the right time”? Well, this was certainly true recently. There were the three days of LIWF wine tastings at Excel in London, whereby I was assisting New Zealand Wine Growers with my ‘UK On Trade Sommelier/Ambassador role’ on their generic stand. It was great fun and rest assured some blog posts and photos will appear soon.
Anyways, I digress…back to the topic of this article. With my ‘illustrious’ career and sommelier pedigree behind me over the past 13 years in London, I was called upon recently to provide my services at a very prestigious wine tasting and dinner. Sophie Jump of Taste-In asked me to serve the wines at a private residence in Kensington. I can reveal the wines were a vertical of Chateau Leoville Barton, St Julien in Bordeaux going back to 1961. Moreoever, Anthony Barton (Proprietor and Director of the Chateau) was over in London to specially co-host the evening. Fond memories came flooding back of when I used to work for Harvey Nichols, based at Fifth Floor and Oxo Tower and I used to act as ‘private sommelier’ and serve owner Dickson Poon whenever he came over to London.
Of course, with discretion and my respect for the host (as it was in a private residence), I do not wish to say where the venue was and will not be including any photos of the guests and the occasion either. I’m sure you can conjure up the images in your vivid imaginations – think exquisite dinner party with amazing wines, delicious food and very courteous and efficient staff. In addition, there was much chattering about the recent general election. However, if you are really desperate for a sneaky peak, I do have some photos on my Facebook profile page. As this was a ‘top-notch’ event, I had Charlotte by my side to help with the wine service. Everyone was certainly in for a treat though with flights of at least two vintages per course…Riedel glasses and double-decanted wines ahoy!
Aperitif – 1999 Dom Perignon Champagne and Canapes
Course 1 – 2009 Leoville Barton; 2001 Leoville Barton and 2000 Leoville Barton (en magnum)
Rabbit rillettes, Armagnac and prune compote, sourdough crostini
Course 2 – 1996 Leoville Barton and 1995 Leoville Barton
Risotto of morels and wild garlic
Course 3 – 1990 Leoville Barton and 1989 Leoville Barton
Ravioli of veal shin, sage and parmesan
Course 4 – 1986 Leoville Barton and 1982 Leoville Barton
Roast pigeon, foie gras croute, truffle pomme puree, baby spinach, Madeira jus
Course 5 – 1975 Langoa Barton (en magnum) and 1970 Leoville Barton
Roast rack of spring lamb with a herb crust, creamed cannellini beans, char-grilled courgettes with Taggiasca olives and marjoram, lamb jus
Course 6 – 1961 Leoville Barton (en magnum)
A selection of hard cheeses from La Fromagerie with carta di musica crisp bread and quince
All the food was prepared and cooked by Harry of Harry’s Kitchen and his team.
Many thanks to our hosts, Sophie Jump and her business partner John Stimpfig. I’m looking forward to serving on the next banquet.
The epicurean odyssey continues…