13 May 2006

Strange gets Stranger - Lustau, Musar, Monzbazillac

Dinner with Lustau, Musar and Monzbazillac
Wines from Bedales, Borough Market T. 020 7403 8853

A former Vinopolis colleague joined us for dinner. Worth mentioning some of the ingredients as the suppliers come recommended.

We started with a chilled Manzanilla, the dry sherry with a precise salty tang from the ocean-close vineyards around the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Lustau is far and away my favourite, founded in 1896 and still family owned. Their 'Papirusa' [£5.99/37.5cl] is outstanding. Partnered with some ripe green olives stuffed with anchovies (from Borough Olives, Borough Market) this formed a superb appetiser. If sherry was French the product would be at least three times the price...

We followed with a risotto of smoked maple bacon and small wild Queen scallops from the Orkneys (the fishmonger, Borough Market). A hard dish to match in terms of wine, and unconventionally I chose a Chateau Musar, the famed and idiosyncratic premiere Lebanese chateau. I served the 1996 [£19.99] just on the temperate side of cool as recommended. Despite both smelling and actually tasting like a full bodied red, it was white. Made with household names 'Merwah' (alleged Granddaddy of Sauvignon Blanc) and 'Obaideh', this Goliath possessed a slightly sappy, slightly waxy style. Intriguing and very good, but unsuprisingly, not a good food match.

Finally a dessert of baked Turkish figs (Elsey & Bent) overlayed with Selvapiana honey, brown sugar which caramalises and greek yoghurt was partnered with a Monbazillac from Chateau Belligard. This gentle, not overpowering, slightly aromatic blend of Semillon and Muscadelle felt at £12.99/50cl a touch overpriced, however.
By the way I'm tiring of the 'wine soaps' cropping up in delis and wine shops. The Shiraz one smells of soap. The Chardonnay one smells of soap. They all smell of ... soap! Wine is for drinking not ablusions.