A quick run through of the wines and the food matches. Opening with Charred Norfolk Asparagus, Truffled Ricotta and Watercress – a sublime match with the Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut NV [Adegga / Snooth]. The truffle dimension work gorgeously with the wine, opening out the complexity and adding much to the crisp, apple-led, pure flavours. The Vintage Reserve is a mix of Reichensteiner, Rivaner and Pinot Noir.
The second pairing saw Roast Fillet of plaice, sprue asparagus, samphire and lemon vinaigrette matched with Chapel Down English Rosé 2009 [Adegga / Snooth]. Another melange of obscure grapes here – Schönburger , Rondo, Regent, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir producing a dry rosé with a vibrancy that runs from the colour through to the closing line of the palate. Fresh, summery, cherry edged flavours and an edge of savouriness. Fuller than a Provance rosé and a stellar match with the fish and the delicate sprue asparagus. Lightish in alcohol too at 11.5% making an ideal lunchtime/picnic wine.
Then a red – the Chapel Down Trinity 2009 [Adegga / Snooth] (a mix of Rondo, Pinot Noir and a version of PN, Pinot Noir Precoce) was served with a succulent Rump of Herdwick Lamb, Jersey Royals and Minted Lincolnshire Asparagus. High acidity in the wine – understandable as England is a cool climate – cut through the fat of the lamb beautifully. In conversation notes of coffee, chocolate, pepper, spice and bramble were banded about. A surprising depth of colour too.
A slice of cheese next Tymsboro with white asparagus with rhubarb chutney and buck wheat biscuits. The cheese was nice with the Chapel Down Bacchus Reserve 2009 [Adegga / Snooth] although the sweetness of the chutney clashed somewhat. The wine itself has the most gorgeous aroma; think English hedgerow with elderflower predominating and a distinct edge of exotic passion fruit. Wonderful. A full palate with a similar flavour to the aroma. The acidity is high but a fine alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
Finally, Poached English Strawberries, Muscat and Strawberry Jelly, Honey and Thyme Ice-cream. Not a great match with the delicate and dry Chapel Down Brut Rosé NV [Adegga / Snooth] jarring with the sweetness of the dessert. Individually superb however. The evening was worth attending just for the ice-cream! Stunning.
Ever heard that asparagus is a tricky thing to match with wine? That the flavour dissipates into something metallic or sulphurous and unpleasant? Poppycock. Avoid wines with heavy tannins or lashings of oak – all the wines here are unoaked – add bubbles too for a little decadence.
I do think some of the ‘charms’ of the White Swan were lost on me. Mirrored ceilings have their place I guess. Somewhere. Please forgive the poor quality photos, slightly cramped conditions and working by candle light are not the best of environs…