Another fine evening of food and drink
Nick and Lesley Richards are really the perfect hosts and would be to anyone who has a real interest in food and wine. Lesley is a really accomplished cook and Nick’s cellar is legendary. He buys for laying down and there’s not much available to drink when you visit him that is less than 10 years old. They are both very keen on Spanish food and wine and although the food had a definite Spanish flavour this evening, the wines were mainly from California.
it was a hot enough evening to have our apéritif in the garden and our nibbles of Salchichon Iberico Bellota (acorn fed pigs); Prawns in Ajo Negro (black garlic) Mayonnaise; Morros (fried pig snout and Mixed Nuts, were suitably washed down with some Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir Brut NV (Carneros, Sonoma County, California). Although NV, this certainly had some bottle age with a nice nutty flavour.
The meal kicked off with a couple of starters – Chilled Pea Soup with chive flowers; Foie Gras de Canard with violet jelly, raspberries and sourdough crispbread. To accompany these Nick opened a bottle of Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, California). This was rich enough to take the foie gras but with enough balance and finesse to take it out of the “typical blowsy Californian Chardonnay” syndrome. And in addition, still with plenty of life in it.
Three Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noirs followed, 2009, 2007 and 2006, all still in their prime but with the 2007 perhaps outstanding for its wonderful fruit beneath the tannins. Whilst we were making our way through these, we were making our way through Lesley’s wonderfully executed Hereford Fillet Steak with Colombian chimichurri, Charlotte potato salad with mustard mayonnaise and babyleaf salad with Pedro Ximenez dressing.
Not to mention the cheeses! Epoisses (washed rind cows milk from Burgundy, France), Selles-sur-Cher (unpasteurised goats milk from Loire, France), Stilton (cows milk from Cropwell Bishop, England), Manchego (cave aged unpasteurised ewes milk from La Mancha, Spain).
Dessert was a delicious Summer Pudding (sorry, we gobbled it up before I had a chance to photograph it!) With this was a grapey, fruity, Samos Anthemis Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains 2000 (Samos AOC, Aegean, Greece) – a unique experience for me and a perfect accompaniment to the acidity of the summer fruit.
Finishing off with some Warre’s 1983, Sonia and I thanked our hosts and staggered off to the underground station before the last train left. Lucky we live in London and don’t have to drive!