Following the tasting held in London, our intrepid case of Chablis headed to Edinburgh to pit itself against Paul Kitching’s Michelin-starred cuisine at 21212. Lifted and modern, yet elegant Kitching’s food is representative of the airily sumptuous Royal Terrace Georgian townhouse in which it’s served.
But could our Chablis pull off similar relaxed regality? And stylistically, which of our fashion-icons would perform best: the Petit Chablis of Simone Rocha, Stella McCartney’s Chablis, the Premier Cru of Christopher Bailey (head of Burberry) or the grand old Grand Cru dame, Vivienne Westwood?
The starter of smoked salmon ‘geeks’ with eggs, neeps (swede) and leeks looked relatively straightforward on paper, but proved more difficult in practice, with an awkward range of flavours and textures. In the end our team agreed that the AC Chablis generally performed best, having a good combination of palate-setting freshness without having too much weight for the food.
The main course – chicken, pecan and pimento, with spring vegetables and crème dubarry proved even more difficult – a riot of different elements from chicken, white pudding and beetroot to jamon serrano, courgettes and cauliflower puree. After understandably lengthy debate, and a good deal of re-sampling, our tasters settled on a Grand Cru Chablis, which had a touch of oak (that worked well with some of the smokier, earthier elements of the dish) but also sufficient lift and freshness to pair with the spring vegetables.
After this challenge, the cheese course – a mixture of blue, brie, goat and a Spanish red wine-washed cheese was relatively easy. While nothing really worked with the brie, the Petit Chablis proved excellent at giving all the other cheeses a platform to speak, while still refreshing the palate.
All in all, the wines coped manfully with some incredibly complex and wide-ranging food. The key to their success? All were agreed: ‘minerality’.