Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pacos leaving do

On Sunday night we all had an emotional send off for Paco at the Foxcote Inn, Little Barrow. Leigh and Cathy had invited the Arkle team to say goodbye to Paco and to wish him all the best for the future. As Leigh had very generously hosted the event, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to share a few special bottles from my "stash" that had been given to me at key points in my career.

We all gathered at the Foxcotes for champagnes and canapes, and it was great that we all dressed up for the occasion!

(Greg and Walter wearing their Duschamps ties from Mr & Mrs B, Edwin in his Bruce Lee jacket!)

Eventually Andre and Hester arrived, via Cardon Park, and we sat down to a fabulous meal. An amuse of miniature fish and chips with mushy peas, a foie gras parfait with brioche, filo parcels of langoustines and king prawns with seafood bisque, best end of lamb with dauphinois potatoes and seasonal veg, a white chocolate parfait with pear poached in red wine and spices before finishing off with some extra mature Vacherin de Mont d'Or. The food was absolutely fantastic and Kelvin and his brigade did Leigh and Cathy proud.

For the starter the guests were offered a choice of a 1988 Sauternes or a 2005 Late Harvest Chenin from Plantaganet. The Sauternes (forgot the producer!) was a rich golden orange in colour with a ripe botrytis nose and aromas of dundee marmalade and candied fruits. The chenin was much fresher (hardly surprising eh?), tropical fruit aromas with a touch of pineapple and galia melon.

With the intermediate we were served a magnum of Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet, Morgeots 1995 which was given to me when I worked in Glasgow. It had a really well developed colour and was starting to show signs of oxidation, but on the palate it was still very lively, less minerality, more secondary flavours. Very filling on the flavour but it was hard to pick out defining flavours. Paco loved this wine, and I have to say it was one of the stars of the night for me too.

For the main course Leigh chucked in a few magnums of Vieux Telegraphe chateauneuf du pape 2000 which were really lovely, but only just starting to open out. They are definately worth keeping a bit longer. Then Bob put out the selection of fine wines that I had sent along.

1990 Pesquera Crinza - I think I got this bottle from a broking list when I worked at Gleneagles. Well developed aromas of mature Tempranillo, lacking the big oaky backbone of a reserva or gran reserva, but still amazingly drinkable.

1990 Mouton Rothschild - a present from a grateful customer at Gleneagles after serving their birthday party. Ive waxed lyrical about this wine often enough on here. This was a touch earthier than others Ive had, but then I guess it all comes down to the cellaring.

1996 Henschke Hill of Grace - a xmas present from Mr & Mrs B last year. Danny was loving this wine. Everything you would expect from Hill of Grace - big dense black jammy fruit with a generous dose of menthol and rich oaky finish. You could smell this from two foot away it was that powerful.

1985 Dujac Chambolle Musigny "les Gruenchers". Gifted by a particularly challenging customer at Amaryllis whom I eventually won over. I didnt hold out much hope for this wine, but I was spectacularly proved wrong on this. Me and Greg had much love for this bottle. Very light, both in colour and on the palate, there was nevertheless quite a dominant nose of strawberry fruit on this one, with a slightly feral edge to it that I love in old Burgs.

1994 Bruno Clair Chambertin Clos de Beze - Think I got this one when I worked at Amaryllis. Bit of a disappointment really, lacking a bit of flavour and character. Not sure if it is maybe in a slightly closed phase, or truthfully it may well have been seriously outshone by the other wines on show.

It was interesting that we all had our own favourites and there was quite a bit of discussion over the wines. It was really good to share them with friends who I know appreciated them.

We all had a great night, more than a few tears at the end of the night. Many thanks to Leigh and Cathy for such a fantastic night, to Bob and Kate for wonderful service. We are all going to miss Paco terribly much, hes an incredable act to follow, and Im sure he is going to do marvelously well in his new role in sunny (E)Spain. At least we've all got somewhere to go on holiday now!!

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