11 Jun 2007

Size Matters with Strawberries

CONTINUING THE theme of tall fillets photographed, here is a particularly succulent example, sampled Saturday PM. Sealed on the surface and uniformly hemic within, I joked with its Chef that it looked like 'meat brie'. This was the main course served at another couth, urbane Cellar Society 'gig' where I am periodically engaged as sommelier.
Yesterday I poured wine from the 'garden of France' within a secret garden in Marylebone proximate, Bryanston Square. Normally open only to residents (including Masters of the Wine Universe: Serena Suttcliffe and David Peppercorn), this 35 plane tree shaded oasis was included in the 'Open Garden' trajectory. It was particularly verdant with a soft, herbaceous texture.
My role: to dispense Muscadet from the favoured Sèvre et Maine - Dom. les Hautes Noëlles '05. Green apples dusted in marzipan inveigled pear with a refreshing rather than rasping acidity. It was fuller than most Muscadet's, being closer in mouthfeel to its Burgundian counterpart.
Telling people it tasted better because of time spent on dead yeast cells (sur lie) must have seemed as initially attractive as tartare of tripe. But served nitrogen cold, it was the perfect liquid pursuit for such a beautiful day.
Pictured, size matters with strawberries (in my experience the smaller, the more flavoursome) - these given to me by a charming lady author/resident.
A more formidable wine, sampled after, was Château Fleur Cardinale's millennium 'Cuvée Antholien', a Grand Cru St. Émilion. Whilst straight G.C.'s here can be as banal as breeze blocks, this very intensely coloured, polished wine radiated warmth like whisky, but always with an elegant attitude.
An alarmingly powerful, but well-paced, harmonious nose suggested fresh blueberry, blackberry with mild raspberry chews and cola cube confectionary, followed by sweet spice including finely shaved nutmeg. On the palate cloves, blackcurrant, finely contoured minerality and a hint of vanilla from the new oak barrels. Ever so slightly secretive; cleverly put together.
It will easily ride out another two decades.