Following tastings held in London and Edinburgh, it was the turn of sommeliers in the Midlands to explore the food-pairing potential of the four different appellations of Chablis. Somms and wines descended on Adam’s Restaurant in Birmingham, where chef Adam Stokes has won a Michelin star for his creative modern European cooking.
It was a stylish setting for some equally stylish wines, which have been paired with British fashion icons to reinforce their identities. Petit Chablis is like newcomer Simone Rocha: fresh and with great potential. Chablis pairs with established designer Stella McCartney: stylish and accessible. Chablis Premier Cru is represented by a classic: Burberry’s Christopher Bailey. While Chablis Grand Cru is as unique as the designs of Vivienne Westwood.
Wines from each appellation were tasted alongside three dishes, beginning with a starter of lamb belly served with goats’ curd and saffron. ‘You’ve got salt, sweet and savoury in this dish, so it’s up to you what flavours you choose to enhance,’ said Sonal Clare of Purnell’s. His vote went to complex Chablis Grand Cru, but there were a range of successful pairings for this dish, with votes for Petit Chablis and Chablis wines.
Next up, a dish of ray wing with a crispy bacon crumb, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower purée, jasmine tea-poached raisins and parsley sauce. Again both Petit Chablis and Chablis fielded interesting pairings for this very complex dish, providing a fresh backdrop to the varied flavours. ‘There’s a gooseberry freshness to the Chablis which works well with the raisins and the parsley, adding something extra to the dish,’ explained The Edgbaston’s Luke Pearson.
Chablis Premier Cru put in a winning performance with the final course; a selection of British cheeses including Berkswell, Golden Cross goats’ cheese and Tunworth. Final proof, if it were needed, of the versatility of these wines. ‘It was an eye-opener for me to have such a range of Chablis,’ concluded Tony Cox of Anderson’s Bar & Grill.