Friday, November 11, 2011


The Menu
Aperitif:  Cotes de Provence, Domaine Houchart 2010

Pan Fried Bantry Bay Scallops, Tomato and lime salsa, Beetroot Jelly, Caper and Sultana Dressing served with a Chateauneuf du Pape white, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret  2009. Famille Quiot.

Orchids Home Smoked Breast of Duck, Duck liver and Foie Gras Parfait, Fruit Bread, Orange Dressing served with a Cotes du Rhone  Villages Sablet, Chateau du Trignon 2007, Famille Quiot.

Seared Loin of Venison, Confit Yam, parsnip, Parsley..... served with a Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Exceptionnelle, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret 2006, Famille Quiot.

The Cheeses (Cooleeney Farmhouse, French Brie, Bandon Vale Vintage Cheddar, Cahill’s Farm Irish Porter Cheese) served with Chateau du Trignon Vacqueyras 2007, Famille Quiot.

Baked Cheese Cake with Warm Tropical Fruits...served with a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Chateau du Trignon 2008.

This was the promising menu ahead of last night’s first Wine Dinner of the Hayfield Manor Wine Society . The promise was indeed delivered, thanks to the superb wines, introduced with wit and inside knowledge by Jean-Louis Smyl of the Famille Quiot, and thanks to the superb food prepared by Executive Chef Graeme Campbell and his team. And a big merci also to Sandra Biret-Crowley, the sommelier at the hotel, who worked so hard to bring the whole event together.
Yours truly with sommelier  Sandra
Started in the bar with a  big welcome from Joe and Marcus of KarwigWines and soon an introduction to Jean-Louis who told me the family has five vineyards in the general area. It was from the most southerly of these, Domaine Houchart, that the aperitif came from, a lively and fresh 2010 rosé.
More introductions followed as we moved from the bar to the Vine Wine Cellar and our tables and here Jean-Louis told us about their white Chateauneuf, made from Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Roussanne. Very supple and with quite a decent finish and a pleasing match with the excellent scallops.
Now we were on to the Smoked Breast of Duck, embellished by well chosen accompaniments and further enhanced by a splendid Cotes du Rhone Village from the highly regarded village of Sablet, set in the hills, and a big favourite of Jean-Louis.
And then came a high point of the evening. The Venison was superb and the wine match was made in heaven, well made in Domaine du Vieux Lazaret actually. This was a Cuvee Exceptionnelle, not made every year. They decided to make one in 2006 and we benefitted from the choice last evening. Inviting aromas, soft and round on the palate, no shortage of spice as you might expect with Grenache and Syrah to the fore, and a long finish.
The village of Vacqueyras is one of the eight crus of the southern Rhone and it was the family’s Chateau du Trignon that the 2007 came from and it proved a terrific match for the line-up of cheeses.
Beaumes de Venise, another small village, is just down the road and here our wine journey for the evening would finish.  Quite a decent red is produced here but we were treated to the well known AOC Muscat Beaumes de Venise, a sweet end to a sweet evening as it went down very well indeed with the Baked Cheese Cake.

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