The Vineyard has had a recent makeover and the addition of the glass floored cellar makes for a great entrance. It’s a little unnerving when you walk across a glass floor at any time but particularly when walking above a cellar that holds 5000 bottles of extremely fine wine. The picture at the end of the cellar has a story behind it and our sommelier for the evening, Yohann, was more than happy to explain it. It is based on a wine tasting that occurred in France in 1976 when French wine was considered the best in the world. The picture depicts a famous Parisian blind wine tasting between French and Californian wine. The upshot being that Californian came out on top every time, much to the shock of the tasters as the painting shows, and it was this tasting that was said to change the wine world forever.
Dessert was Griottine cherry and cranberry terrine with pistachio parfait. I was brave and ate the cherry in one as I wasn’t expecting it to be as alcoholic as it was, tasty though. I enjoyed this dessert and the colours were great. There was a little log of white chocolate on the plate, I’m unsure exactly what it was, but it was divine. I could have eaten a bowlful of that. An interesting wine to pair with this was a chilled red Syrah from Rhone which was kind of like elderberries mixed with sloe gin mixed with wine and syrup. I could have drunk that not even knowing there was alcohol in it, a wine I will be endeavouring to try again.
Cheese is not something I normally order as I am not a fan of blue cheese and there always seems to be a stilton or gorgonzola waiting to ruin my cheese board. Not this time though the three cheeses were complemented with fennel bread, Muscat grapes, crackers, quince jelly and fig cake. Gruyere is one of my favourite cheeses so I enjoyed this board immensely. The wine with this was a delicate pink colour and smelled of strawberries; a Chenin Blanc from South Africa.
This is, of course, exquisite fine dining. What made it for me were the extra little bits, the things I have never tried before and the flourishes and finishing touches. It is unlikely I will ever have another sugared celery leaf but I will never forget it. At the same time I can’t wait to start pouring pearl barley into every soup I ever make. It was a great experience to have the wine paired to the food and I can’t wait to try more wine in the future. The enthusiasm, expertise and interest in wine shone through and if you’ve ever wondered what all the wine fuss is about, this is the place to find out.
This meal was paid for by The Vineyard. All opinions expressed and words are my own.