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A roller coaster ride of the senses

Our wine-tasting dinners can be, as regards all five senses, something of a roller coaster:  For most guests it`s the end of a long week (almost always a Friday night) and they arrive, a tad jaded, at 7.30pm. Most are tired, a little hungry – yet at the same time excited. There`s a palpable feeling of anticipation about the shop, as guests mingle and chatter. The first drink is served: the aperitif. Guests are more than ready. Tonight it`s a white wine (rather, pale green) by talented winemaker Anthony Hamilton Russell, South Africa`s “The Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (£13.99)”. It’s juicy and lip smacking, grapefruit and dill scented, with a thrilling mineral streak. No oak whatsoever. Guests are suitably refreshed, and the tingling acidity of the wine has stimulated their appetites. The evening`s Chef, Dominic Carter, delights guests with an amuse-bouche, of sorts, his deliciously crunchy “Parmesan and Poppy Seed Lollipops”, taking the wine`s acidity away. Now guests are invigorated with a new sense of expectation as they sit down at the table. It`s 8pm and the roller coaster has only just begun. The first course is served: a zesty lime, dill, prawn and crab salad in a crispy tortilla bowl. Another pale, unoaked white wine is served alongside, this time from France: Petit Chablis Domaine de la Motte 2017 (£16.99). Guests tuck in, for a few minutes oblivious to their surroundings. The crisp,  cool climate Chardonnay washes seamlessly over the seafood salad, both light, intense and refreshing, in perfect harmony.   The second course is a richer one. Creamy Tuscan chicken thighs with crisp pastry disc and toasted pine nuts are accompanied by a much deeper golden yellow wine this time, rich, rounded, soft and unctuous, from Chile. It`s a roller coaster around the world no less! The wine is Signos de Origen La Vinilla Estate, Casablanca Valley 2016 (£16.99), aged 12 months in French oak, and a blend of 72% Chardonnay, 12% Viognier, 10% Marsanne and 6% Roussanne grapes. Characterised by its subtly rich creamy quality, the wine is a perfect match with delicious flavours of white peach, butter, almond and walnut. Incidentally, this is surely also one for the Christmas day turkey and all the trimmings! Now, still on the roller coaster, it`s 8.40pm…

The second instalment to this blazing roller coaster of a wine-tasting dinner will be posted soon, following a brief drum roll (like much of this, also left to your imaginations).

Cheers everyone!

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