Tag Archives: wine and dine

Peter Michael Wine: An Auspicious Meeting

Every bottle of Peter Michael Wine bears the six word credo: ‘Mountain Vineyards, Classical Winemaking, Limited Production’. Learn what happened the last time Robert Parker, acclaimed wine critic, met owner Sir Peter Michael in London.

Peter Michael Wine

It is no secret that wine critic Robert Parker has been a fan of Peter Michael Winery bottles from quite some time.

While Mr. Parker has visited winery regularly to taste new releases, Sir Peter had actually never met him as their visits simply never coincided. This changed when the critic brought his ‘World Tour’ to London last February. As part of the event, Sir Peter had the pleasure of attending the ‘Gala Hedonist’s Dinner’ at the Michelin Two-Star restaurant ‘The Ledbury’ in Notting Hill. There, he and ‘Bob’ finally got to shake hands and share a pleasant chat.

The soiree included a sumptuous menu prepared by The Ledbury’s chef Brett Graham and paired with rare wines, all of which had received perfect scores from Mr. Parker. Sir Peter was particularly proud that two of the nine wines served were his own. 2012 Cuvee Indigene was served alongside Scottish langoustine wrapped in shitake, with mandarin orange and ginger. 2010 Ma Danseuse was paired with aged pigeon with rhubarb, beetroot and olives. Delicious.

Fresh and in season: Peas

We only buy what is in season at the time, to be as close to the natural environment as possible. Peas are in season between June and July. Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche advises how best to enjoy them.

Peas

In-Season Peas

I always look forward to the change of seasons and how that is reflected on our plates, especially when it comes to side dishes and salads. Each season brings its own special selection of vegetables. The fresh, the earthy, the tender, the robust and the sweet, there is always something delicious and new to enjoy.

Peas are one such vegetable that add a wealth of flavour and texture and are available June to end of July. Whether steamed, sautéed, roasted, baked or grilled, the possibilities are endless and the bonus of growing them yourself is that you gain all of the flavour. Lightly blanched really retains their texture and are wonderful to eat alone.

Peas are best when not prepared with too much fuss. Lightly blanched or boiling briefly and they can be added to stews and risottos or pasta.

Or – peas and pancetta, what a wonderful combination. Indeed, fresh peas are really versatile and so much tastier fresh from the garden and used in more innovative ways.

For wine matching, a fresh Loire Sauvignon Blanc can go well with creamy pea risotto, whereas a more exuberant herbaceous Marlborough version can go well with a heavier pasta. For a pea salad, a not-too-leesy Picpoul or Albariño would work well too – the clean and neutral notes would enhance the delicate pea flavours…bon appetit!

Fine rosé from the heart of Provence

Our wine list features benchmark rosés from the Old World, including celebrated Ch. D’Esclans from Provence, the ‘finest rosés on the planet’, according to Matthew Jukes. It is time to take rosé wine increasingly seriously. Here we learn a little more.

Historically, rosés were seen as fun, unsophisticated and the great addition to a girls’ night out. Fast forward a few years and premium rosé is one of the fastest growing categories. This is thanks in part to a host of Old World stalwart producers crafting some serious bottles, with the notoriety to raise them on to the big stage.

Pink, blush or rosé wine – whatever your preferred name- is now seen as a serious industry, and as Jancis Robinson attests, this is thanks in part to the efforts of Sacha Lichine and his team at Château d’Esclans who have set the bar and raised ambition among producers.

In the heart of Provence, Lichine and his compatriot Patrick Leon (previously winemaker and managing director at Mouton Rothschild) purposely tried to craft a world class winery that made the world’s best rosé – and it is widely believed that they succeeded.

Indeed, according to Matthew Jukes, Ch. D’Esclans from Côtes de Provence produce among the finest rosés on the planet. We’re inclined to agree – so much so that we’ve chosen to offer three wines from this infamous château on our wine list (which, we are very proud to say, just won European Hotel Wine List of the Year).

Made using Old Vine Grenache, as this high altitude site is known for, the vines are hand picked and blended with Vermentino. Top cuvées are aged in oak – and are capable of ageing. Generally, good rosé is not heavy or overtly sweet but fresh, dry and offers a complex aroma of herbs, fruits and a balanced acidity. These bottlings offer all this and more.

One thing has remained true throughout – these wines are ideal served chilled outside with, or without, food in the summer sun.

Head Sommelier

Head Sommelier, Romain Bourger

Passion for wine has led to a fantastic career for Romain Bourger. For the past two years, he has held position of Head Sommelier at The Vineyard in Stockcross, which has been his home for five years. Things are going from strength to strength.

Head Sommelier

When did your passion for wine begin?

It all began when I started studying at hospitality school in my hometown in North-Eastern France. We were taught the basics about wine, such as vine training, fermentation and the growing season. This really piqued my interest and during my second year we started to talk more about the different appellations and grape varieties which was, for me, more interesting. I was very inspired by my teacher, Mr. Jean Pierre Lorrain, who had worked in various top hotels in France and always used to tell us stories from his time working in restaurants (whether it was a wine he served during a dinner with the French President or a memory he had from his youth which was linked to a particular vineyard or region).

When and where did you train to become a sommelier?

My passion was ignited and I wanted to take an extra year to learn more about wine. From 2007 to 2008, I took a more intensive class to learn more about wine in general as well as studies on other beverages – including non-alcoholic ones!

What is the most expensive wine that you have served at The Vineyard and where is it from? 

There have been a few in the five years that I have worked here, but the most memorable was a bottle of RomanéeConti, one of Burgundy’s finest and most expensive producers. Specifically, the wonderful 2007 Grand Cru Domaine de la RomanéeConti, ordered for a special occasion. I won’t disclose the price but let’s just say they had a good time!

Which bottle of wine in the cellar would you most like to drink and why?

There are plenty of delicious bottles in our cellar to tempt me so it is a hard choice! Right now, I’d choose La Tache Grand Cru Domaine de la RomanéeConti, the 1995 vintage. A good growing year in Burgundy, this Pinot Noir has such a delicate harmony between power and elegance, a velvety texture and complexity that it would definitely be my choice.

What is the best part of working at The Vineyard in terms of your passion for wine?

It is so rewarding to help our guests discover more about their wine preferences, whether it be through our wines schools, at a convivial dinner or an informal tasting. Being able to suggest wines to pair with their dish selection or to help them choose a special bottle, either classic or unusual, and be part of their experience is what I love.

 

Recipe: Raspberry Clafoutis

Traditionally, a clafoutis is made with cherries, but the summer brings an abundance of fruit – tender apricots, juicy plums, fat cherries and wild blackberries, all warm from the sun begging to be eaten. However my favourite is raspberry! The sweetness of the berries and the zing of the lime zest send your taste buds twirling!

  • Preparation time 35 minutes
  • Cooking time 25 minutes
  • 250 – 280g/9 – 10 oz/2 – 2 ¼  cups firm raspberries
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 125g/4 ½ oz/ ½ cup caster sugar
  • 50g/2oz butter, half softened and half melted
  • 85g/3oz/ 2/3 cup of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300ml/10 ½ fl oz/ 1 ¼ cups full fat milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the raspberries, lime zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl. Mix gently, then set aside to macerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 24 x 16 x 6cm/9 ½ x 6 1/4 x 2 ½ in a baking dish or clafoutis dish (an oval earthenware dish) with the softened butter and sprinkle with another 3 tablespoons of sugar. Carefully shake the sugar around the dish to make sure it coats the inside.

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk and remaining sugar, then slowly add the mixture to the flour and mix until incorporated and smooth. Slowly add the milk, stirring until the batter has the consistency of a crêpe batter, then add the melted butter and mix until combined.

Put the raspberries in the clafoutis dish and mix to release the juices. Pour the batter over the raspberries and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and set. A tip of a sharp knife inserted into the centre should come out clean and dry. Remove from the oven and serve.

CHEFS TIP: It is also fun to make this dessert in individual 150l/5fl oz/ 2/3 cup ramekin dishes, just reduce the cooking time to 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Daniel Galmiche
Executive Chef at The Vineyard

The Food at The Vineyard

If you haven’t seen already The Vineyard has a new look and feel! The entrance has been totally refurbished and an impressive glass-floored wine vault now takes centre stage! Go through the wine vault to ‘Taste’, an ideal space to enjoy a glass of wine and of course to sample some of my latest dishes. Taste is also home to the magnificent Judgement of Paris painting by artist, Gary Myatt.

I have been working hard to create dishes that are tasty, simple, sustainable and fresh. We have created various menus making the dining experience at The Vineyard a little more flexible, relaxed and enjoyable. This gives diners the opportunity to taste different foods, mix dishes and most importantly taste a variety of wines that The Vineyard offers, which can be matched to your dish by our sommeliers, or wine coaches as we call them.

One of my favourite dishes on the current seasonal menu is line caught pan-roasted turbot, spiced bread, courgette. This would be perfectly paired with a William Selyem, Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyard, California 1999.

Discover more about my current dishes by visiting our Menus page or book a table and come a try a plate or two!

Daniel Galmiche
Executive Chef
The Vineyard

The Dinner Party

Imagine the scene…you are in the position of needing to impress your boss, mother-in-law, parents etc, and in a moment of madness you suggested a dinner party at your house! Well, I can’t promise that you’ll cook the perfect dinner, or that conversation will flow…but I can give you a “heads-up” on what you should be drinking.

I guess the golden rule is to keep it simple. Start with the aperitif. Sparkling wine is the classic choice here, led by Champagne of course, but don’t be afraid to check out decent New World sparkling wine as well. New Zealand and California spring to mind. Alternatively a good glass of dry white wine is presently in vogue. Look out for Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc or a delicate Macon Villages from Burgundy. Do some nibbles. Cheese straws and salted almonds always work and please, please stay away from highly flavoured crisps. Chilli, mature cheddar, balsamic reduction stuff is never going toleave the palate all evening!

Head to the starter and go fuller bodied or more aromatic with white wine. If there are spices in the dish, try Alsace Pinot Planc or Riesling. More conservative foods would be absolutely fine with New World Chardonnay or maybe South African Chenin Blanc. I find pan-fried scallops matched with Condrieu (Rhone Valley) heaven, if a little ostentatious!

Main course heads two ways with red wine. Softer, more delicate food (fish, poultry) needs Pinot Noir. Preferably Californian, preferably Sonoma Coast, whilst the robust meat courses (beef, venison) cry out for the Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec. Remember that if you like your meat well-done, you can safely drink older wines, whilst if rare beef is your passion, a juicy young and tannic red will hit the spot.

With the dessert course, two choices again. Fruit-based offerings work great with Late-Harvest Muscat or Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc. Chocolate is just amazing with Banyuls, Black Muscat or event Tawny Port.

Follow those ideas and you won’t go far wrong…

James Hocking
Director of Wine
The Vineyard Group

Another Year!

It has been another very busy year both at The Vineyard and working with Panasonic, touring England during 2011.

2011 has been a very interesting year though. My first book came out in September after 18 months of hard work, labour and valuable help from my wife Claire, I did this whilst working full time so the support I received I am most grateful for. Thank you to Panasonic too as we made a version of my book (French Brasserie Cookbook) and adapted nearly half of the recipes for the new microwave combi oven, and I am pleased to say that it has been very well received.

I am very much looking forward to a good 2012 and to start another good year. But first I am having an operation on my ankle through key hole surgery. This was an old painful injure I got whilst playing football with my son Antoine four and half years ago. They finally found out what was wrong so looking forward to getting back to normal.

I would like to say a big thank you to my agent Rosemary from celebritychefs Uk for all her support this year. Of course not forgetting to mention the team at Saturday Kitchen including James Martin, BBC Good Food Show and everyone who helped at the taste shows.

And finally – I kept it for the end. I got married to Claire last July after 7 ½ years together and I am very proud.

Cheers
Daniel
Executive Chef
The Vineyard at Stockcross

Thomas Keller’s Pop Up Restaurant

A couple of weeks ago I was very fortunate indeed to have been invited to the launch of Thomas Keller’s pop up restaurant at Harrods. Knowing that he was there for only 10 days, I knew I was very lucky.

I have been at his table before, years ago, with some other very famous Chefs, so I was very excited about it.

We had a lunch representing his trademark dishes made by his team and himself, created using his own imported produce, in a wonderful pop up dining room. Great day overall, not easy when you consider you are performing abroad, but I was not surprised as he is a great professional.

Merci Thomas!

Daniel Galmiche Executive Chef The Vineyard at Stockcross

The French Laundry at Harrods

Working as an assistant sommelier at The Vineyard at Stockcross, it was fantastic news when I learnt that I was going to have the opportunity to work at a pop-up restaurant at Harrods with teams from Michelin star restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se, both owned by one of the world’s most influential chefs, Thomas Keller.

Starting on 30th September and finishing on 10th October, it was really more than just an experience to work in a pop up restaurant. I think every one of us considered it to be ‘our’proper restaurant, seeing all the preparation it required and learning new ways of service. I very much enjoyed working and sharing the experience with the whole team.

What did I learn from being part of this exciting event? The pride to have participated in this event with fantastic people, to have had the opportunity to taste excellent wines, and to have been a part of the success of the great nine course tasting menu created using local American products.

It was hard work for all of us, but if anyone would have asked if we were ready to continue for a further 11 more days, without any doubt the answer would have been yes!

Romain Bourger
Assistant Sommelier
The Vineyard at Stockcross – http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/index.asp

Find out more about Per Se in New York – http://www.perseny.com/
Find out  more about The French Laundry in California –http://www.frenchlaundry.com/