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Wine Words & Wisdom - Supper Club Relaunch

Updated: Sep 23, 2020



As Monday evenings go, this week's was pretty memorable, thanks to the relaunch of Wine Words & Wisdom's Pop Up Supper club - an evening of excellent wines paired with some very very good food.


Our hosts for the evening were Christien Hay and Andrew Yates. Christien is Ex-General Manager of The Black Rat and Wine Waiter at Chesil Rectory (which provided the beautiful 15th-century backdrop for the evening). He also has his own Wine Business based just outside of Winchester specialising in sustainable and small producer wines, so you could say he absolutely knows what he's talking about.


Andrew Yates started his career at Chesil Rectory, moving up to Sous Chef, before heading up Chesil Rectory's Sister Pub - The Three Tuns. He is also well known for his time at The Purefoy Arms, and another of my favourites Pulpo Negro. His cooking style is described as seasonal, hearty, and polished, and having now eaten his food I would 100% agree with all of that.


Typically we travel to eat, but obviously the weirdness that is 2020 has put paid to that. Thanks to this particular evening, we were able to eat and drink to travel, and the dishes together with their wine pairings took us to Catalonia, France, Spain and Italy.


Christien introduced each wine and told us about the blends, the terrain and the producers, so you learn a lot too (if you need any justification for the eating and drinking side of things). He is as passionate about the wines as the vintners who make them, and will only pick sustainable and organic varieties (which I find gives me less of a sore head the next day by the way! Sulphites are not my friend!). Beyond the fact that he's an amazing chef, Andrew is also passionate about the quality and sustainability of the food side, and because of this, they make for a great pairing themselves...



The evening began with a glass of Bruant Cava from Catalonia made with the champagne method, rested on its lees for 15 months, and contains absolutely no sulphites or any other additives. It was quite different to any Cava I have had before (I've tried a few!!), and absolutely delicious, complementing the canapes of tempura coral (which is just a genius idea - A lot of people buy scallops only to discard the coral, which is such a shame as cooked like this, it was nicer than many scallops I have eaten)... There was also a crispy sweet potato samosa and a small haggis Scotch egg of dreams...


Christien had chosen Soif D'Ailleurs 2019 for the first course (first picture!), a clever blend of red and white grapes, it was a beautiful colour for a start and, as we savoured the wine he shared a little about its Cahors Producer Fabien Jouves, who in addition to producing top-end AOCs, loves producing some very creative wines. The wine was light and delicious and proved a perfect match with the starter (beetroot can be tricky to match apparently, but Christien nailed it) - an Autumnal dish of Goat's Cheese, Beetroot, Pine Nuts, Oats and Blackberry. The goat's cheese was whipped and light and delicious, and the tartness of the lightly pickled beetroot and the blackberries cut through it. It was topped with a brilliant pine nut and oat flapjack which I could have eaten 50 times over...


Then followed a cleverly executed combination of some hearty ingredients: Arbroath Smokie with leek, potato, black pudding and mustard, served with a glass of 2019 Thomas Labaille L'Authentique Sancerre. A faultless pairing for the fish and just enough acidity to cut through the creamy mustard sauce...



On to Spain next for our main course with a dish encapsulating so many wonderful flavours of that country - Iberico Pork (please tell me how to cook it like that Andrew?!?), celeriac, apple, chard, treacle and almond. Apart from the pork, the celeriac was also a favourite, cooked very slowly on a big green egg. Christien had chosen a Ca di Ma Vaulatin Garnacha for this dish, which comes from a vineyard an hour west of Madrid, definitely a first for us. Thanks to the mountainous terrain, altitude, and ancient vines, this area produces some of the most impressive Spanish Garnachas, and this one was no exception...


A Cotswold Blue interlude next atop a slice of Pain d'épices, garnished with pickled celery, grapes, caramelised pecans and plump raisins. It's unusual for me to like something so sweet and savoury at once, so that much should tell you how delicious it was (In fact I have spent most of today wondering when I can recreate it with malt loaf)...


Sadly all good things come to an end and before we staggered off into the night, it was time for dessert - a delicate combination of peach, pistachio, lemon thyme, cream cheese and olive oil. I love peaches so, so peaches two ways was always going to be a winner, the sweetness of both the sorbet and the grilled variety was totally complimented by a super light olive oil cake on a bed of cream cheese infused with lemon thyme... Christien had chosen a Dessert Wine of Recioto di Soave made from overripe Garganega Grapes in North-East Italy, a well-kept secret by all accounts with rich notes of orange and honey - the ideal finale to our evening and another great discovery...



This was the fourth Wine Words & Wisdom Pop Up Supper Club, and whilst it was our first, it definitely won't be our last. It obviously has a devoted following, and we felt honoured to be let in on this relative secret and be a part of the evening. Thank you so much guys. We had such a great evening. Now if you could just arrange for every Monday night to be like that?...


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