We had a little taste off yesterday to determine which wine we will be pouring at the upcoming dinner to launch the new Westminster Suite. After spunking £3.5 million on the refurbishment, the boss has invited loads of VIPs to a dinner to unveil the new room and show it off (well why not!!), so the wine has to be good. Hence the taste off with the two options for the red wine. Luckily Cheffie was wanting to knock together a dish to see how it looked on his spiffy new plates.
The dish - Slow poached fillet of Welsh Black beef with a mushroom ravioli and herb reduction.
The wines had come from the Keg room, part of our holding stock - wines that we are keeping until they are ready for drinking. I know what you're thinking though - surely the 95 is ready by now - and yes it is. But Ive got about a dozen Gevreys on the list and when one gets finished the 95 would be the next to get listed. Both wines were brought up from the cellar five minutes before the tasting.
The Vosne Romanee was quite aromatic on the nose with Parma Violets and Cherries - more Griottine cherry I think, and a really animal earthyness about it. On the palate I was getting a touch of pear drops - ethyl acetate - not really enough to class it as a fault, but enough to lower my enjoyment of the wine. It went quite well with the meat, and the flavours seemed to complement it quite well, although I felt the herbyness of the reduction overtook the flavours of the wine a bit.
The Gevrey was interesting. Despite coming from the same part of the cellar as the Vosne, it was considerably colder, and hence there wasnt really much on the nose. But what it lacked in aroma, it more than made up for on the palate. Despite being the elder of the wines, there was quite a bit more fruit present on the palate, with soft red fruit flavours, raspberry and alpine strawberries, with a touch of spice - not quite cinnamon, but a warming bark-like spicyness. Perhaps nutmeg? For me this worked really well with the dish, the flavours of the wine melded beautifully with the medium rare meat and the herb reduction seemed to add an extra dimension to the wine. It was served "chambre" and I personally felt it was perfect. But it is a risky wine to serve to 120 people, and the odds of getting the temperature that spot on are slim to non-existent, so perhaps the Vosne Romanee is the sensible option. That seems to be the route we are taking anyway.