“Well, an evening at the Wild Garlic in Beaminster, with a selection of stunning fine wines, all pooled by our Majestic staff, was too good to miss! Simon Smith, manager of Dorchester, had organised this meal, with the kind arrangement of Mat Follas, the restaurant owner, (and incidentally, the winner of MasterChef 2009). The idea was to try some top wines from our range, from small producers in Western Australia to classics from Bordeaux, then pick dishes from Mat’s terrific menu, and judge the best combinations, as well as judging the wines themselves. A big thank you to all the team at the Wild Garlic for hosting the night, the food was stunning and the wines were presented in perfect condition.
The tasting notes and results were as follows:”
Richard Milward, Business Development Manager
“Our evening started with a glass of Vilmart Grand Cellier d’Or 2002, which was a tip-off from Adrian Heaven, Senior Wine Advisor at Lay and Wheeler. This blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir has a fine bead and nose that offered subtle aromas of ripe apple, apricot and brioche. The youthful palate has clean fruit and persistent acidity that will ensure a long future. A classy example of a grower Champagne that will gain more complexity with further bottle ageing. It went down a treat with Mat’s canapés of smoked venison with beetroot and clams with caper mayo. Thanks for the recommendation Adrian!”
Simon Smith, Manager, Dorchester
“Next came a selection of starters, including sprats, ceviche of brill and a Dorset version of bouillabaisse. These were enjoyed alongside the first flight of wines which were based on a Chardonnay theme.
A peach and crème fraiche nose hits you straight away followed closely by a decent whack of creamy hazelnut and spice. It all follows through on to the palate where there’s a zestiness and acidity that binds everything together to leave the wine lingering on and on.
Australian Chardonnay doesn’t get any more elegant than this. Loads of ripe fleshy stone fruit and delicate blossom are bound together by light vanilla notes. There’s a complexity that becomes more and more evident as it opens up in the glass. It gives any Puligny of the same price a run for its money. For me this was the wine of the night.
This is entirely the other end of the Chardonnay spectrum to Puligny. There is loads of stuff going on in here; apple, spice, zest, peach but the main attraction is the big butterscotch notes. All these elements become so much more evident when compared to the previous two wines, a real palate filling pleasure. A real treat to try all these wines together.”
Adam Barlow, Assistant Manager, Salisbury
“We then moved onto the Main courses, accompanied by a flight of three stunning clarets.
Chateau Montrose 2001 £65
A classy second-growth which showed a palate of ripe cassis fruit, tobacco, earth and complex sweet spices. The intense fruit and grippy but ripe tannin suggests this wine will continue to improve for many years to come. It was thoroughly enjoyed by those that had opted for the Ribeye steak!
This well-known St Julien showed pure blackcurrant and dark berry fruit, with black pepper and a touch of spicy oak. This is still youthful but opened up nicely over the course of the evening.
Excellent value and a great match with my roast partridge.
This third growth showed typical Margaux elegance. It showed dark fruit such as plum and blackberry as well as a hint of cedar on the nose. A lovely palate with layers of ripe cherry fruit and an underlying minerality.”
James Button, Assistant Manager, Dorchester
“To go with the desserts we had a bottle of 2003 Rieussec. This was the first bottle from a case originally bought En Primeur from Majestic. A lovely Sauternes that had aromas of caramel, marmalade and tropical fruits. On the palate there was an intense sweetness which wasn’t cloying, accompanied by honey, ripe peaches and tangerine. Despite the luscious, sweet texture there was enough underlying acidity to give a long finish. An excellent wine to end the meal with and great match with the fruit based desserts.”
Jamie Baxter, Manager, Southampton
“Just as we were contemplating coffee, a large cheese board arrived with two decanters of Port.
Very deep fruit and a healthy dose of wood, obviously a wine with massive potential, however presently the acidity is a touch piercing and the spirit is still evident, despite the fact the wine is 26 years old. It would be a good christening gift as I would expect that in 20 years it will be absolutely divine, as all the components come together into a sinuous whole.
Delaforce Corte 1991
£17.99 buy two save £4, £15.99
This is a serious steal this winter. Mature, and still showing good fruit and soft luscious structure. The balance is lovely with the characteristic sweetness and a refreshing acidity married to that cherry plum and raisin palette. An excellent sipping port, which once decanted will impress any dinner party guest.”
Bruce Evans, Manager, Exeter
“My own consumption of the port was rather tempered as I had foolishly agreed to a game of tennis at 9am the following morning. That said, a small taster of the Delaforce was very much enjoyed and I agree with Bruce that this offers excellent value for money. It’s one of my top recommendations from our Christmas list and a great match for some Dorset Blue Vinney.
The following afternoon a group of us decided that some clay pigeon shooting was in order. We were joined by Heather, ex-Majestic and now sous chef at the Wild Garlic, who came and joined in the fun. Even before the first clay had left the trap the excuses came flooding in, “I haven’t shot for ages” etc. I’m not going to repeat the cartridge-to-clay ratio, but it was dismal! However, it’s amazing how a few hours spent in a cold, wet field can clear any symptoms of an indulgent evening!
Our thanks once again to the team at the Wild Garlic who looked after us extremely well and made it a memorable evening.”
Simon Smith, Manager, Dorchester