Friday 13th – A Night to Remember


friday-13The second Friday in July saw the 7th annual Wine Club Dinner for members and their guests. Our host, David Berry Green, was flying into Heathrow on an afternoon flight from Italy so I had everything crossed that the inauspicious date wouldn’t ruin the evening! I didn’t need to succumb to superstition though as David’s plane landed on time and we were ready and waiting in the shop, glass of Champagne in hand, when the first guests arrived just before 6.30pm.

We were delighted that the event had sold out so it wasn’t long before the shop filled up with guests and we sipped our way through a few bottles of the deliciously appley Champagne Lahaye.

7pm soon arrived and after a welcoming speech from our host we descended down two levels to the subterranean Napoleon Cellar where we enjoyed our first course of grilled English asparagus with burrata, peas, mint and pesto accompanied by 2010 Wickham Vineyards Vintage Selection Dry White from Hampshire, England. Fresh and crisp, with plenty of depth of flavour it partnered beautifully with the verdant asparagus and creamy burrata.

The second course was my favourite; veal sweetbreads with roast langoustine, onion puree and charred onion powder. The wine to match was 2010 Pinot Blanc, Barriques, Ostertag, Alsace and at my end of the table we felt it was a great pairing; the delicate weight of the dish was in perfect harmony with the elegance of the wine.

The next wine was probably the stand out wine of the night in my opinion and in those of most guests- and what a wine it was! 2005 Barbaresco Paje, Roagna from Piedmont gave us a glimpse of top quality Barbaresco and it matched wonderfully to the main course of braised beef ravioli, seared fillet and tomato flavoured beef tea.

With the main course finished, we delved into a sumptuous white chocolate crème brûlee with caramelised white chocolate and raspberries accompanied by the gently-spritzy 2011 Moscato d’Asti ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cerutti, Cassinasco, Piedmont. David had cleverly suggested this match and I really enjoyed the wine; graceful and light on its feet with a bright fruity intensity that was a match for the crème brûlee with its crunchy, caramelised crust. It was the ideal palate cleanser after the richer previous course.


The final dish before coffee and chocolates were served was shaved Gruyère with walnut, pickled pear and membrillo washed down with 2001 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, San Lorenzo from Bibbiano in Tuscany in half bottles. It was a real treat to taste a mature Vin Santo; the vivacious acidity really complemented the nuttiness of the dish.

I do hope those who attended the Dinner enjoyed it as much as I did. Long term Club member (and regular attender of the Wine Club Dinner) Stuart Pemble had this to say: ‘Please pass on my thanks to everyone involved with making Friday night a success: it was absolutely brilliant and I think the Dinner gets better each year. The food was wonderful, the wine even better and the service very smooth.’

With the bar raised higher than ever, I very much look forward to next year’s Dinner!

If you’d like to find out more about the Wine Club please drop me an email and I will be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

Katie Cooper, Wine Club Manager