A Fine Wine farewell
Author: Martyn Rolph
David Jones has been a much loved colleague in our Fine Wine Team for many a year. Having spent last year working in our Tokyo office, he’s now decided to extend his stay, taking on a more permanent role in Japan. A goodbye meal was suggested and quickly accepted by all.
The location – The Hoddington Arms in Upton Grey, just North of Farnham. Armed with a selection of carefully selected Fine Wines (having agreed a very fair corkage fee) six of Berrys’ finest settled in for a great night!
The pub was welcoming and homely and after a quick G&T at the bar (very important to cleanse the palate) we were shown to our table. The food at the Hoddington Arms is fairly classic in style but it is very well done and the ingredients used are clearly top class. We ordered some bread and shell-on prawns to sustain us whilst we studied the menu and cracked open the first bottle, UKC Berrys’ own Grand Cru Champagne - always guaranteed to get the evening off to a good start.
The starters arrived just in time for bottle number two, 2006 Riesling, Cuvée Frédéric Emile, F.E. Trimbach. This is a real favorite of mine, dry with rasping acidity, it’s incredibly clean and pure and was very tasty alongside my sea bass, cod and ginger fishcakes! It’s the freshness that makes Riesling such a wonderful food wine, under appreciated by us Brits I think. I must admit to food envy, the mushroom dish ordered by everyone else looked great.
Rose Veal was chosen by all as the main, a really good dish with a wonderful mushroom sauce. 2007 Nuits-St Georges, Clos St Marc, 1er Cru, Domaine M & P Rion was a great match with this, bright red fruit characters (in the typical forward Rion style) and the acidity to cut through the richness. ‘07’s are beginning to show well now and often don’t receive the praise they deserve. It’s not a vintage like ’05 or ’09 but they are pretty, fresh and very approachable now so do give them a chance.
The evening was rounded off nicely by a 2001 Ch. de Malle, Sauternes, to go with dessert. This is a great wine for the price from a superb vintage; viscous and rich, ripe and honeyed with plenty of acidity to keep it fresh, this is definitely worth trying! The desserts were exceptionally good, I ordered a rhubarb Crème Brulee but I inevitably had a mouthful of everyone’s and there wasn’t a bad one to be found!
A great meal all in all, and worthy of a strong recommendation.
A selection of other bottles may also have bolstered the quantity consumed which goes some way to explaining my blurred vision. A shot of Sambuca for the road certainly didn’t help me either but I do remember giving David a manly hug!