Unusually, our last dinner of the year, last night, was a mid-week Thursday. A change of vibe then from our usual Friday night before-the-weekend extravaganza. Well no – actually it had every bit the party feel, So much so, in fact, I keep thinking today is Saturday. Moreover last night had the Christmas feel as well. After Guy Fawkes, Merrill went to work on our Christmas decoration in the shop, and by the time guests arrived we were fully baubled up – the theme for 2017 revealed, in spectacular turquoise and gold. And oh (ho ho) what fun we had – surrounded by Christmas lights and bottles, drinking Champagne and fine wines, tucking into great grub with lots of chatter and music. An exemplary finale to our 2017 programme of events. We have several parties to thank for this. First, Merrill, for her creativity. Every year she decorates the shop and this year is another great tribute to her talents. Thanks Merrill. I would also like to thank chef Dominic Carter, of top caterer The Food Station, for the delicious food he served up (menu below). This, his signature menu, was just a little something he cooked up after his years of training at The Great House in Lavenham. We are delighted to be working with Dominic and his partner, Emma Bennett, supplying the wines for their events. I would also like to thank George Randall, our guest speaker, for entertaining us. What an inspiring, likable young man! Finally my thanks to our paying guests(second time coming) who we hope will come again.
Guest speaker: George Randall
Host: Anthony Borges Chef: Dominic Carter
Champagne Gremillet Sélection Brut, £25.99 – Aperitif
A stunning, award winning Champagne that delivers on all fronts! Fresh floral aromas combine with characteristic sweet brioche overtones, balanced by peach skin and baked biscuit flavours with a crisp citrus finish. Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%
Chablis, Domaine de la Motte Vieilles Vignes 2014, £18.99
Low-yielding 40-50 year vines provide for concentrated, rich Chablis with depth of flavour and complexity. The palate remains nervy and fresh to the finish. This is a textured and full-flavoured expression of Chablis.
La Fleur Solitaire, Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2016, £11.99
The nose offers hints of hedgerow flowers and the medium-weight palate is nuanced with apricot and peach. Careful use of oak has added texture and vinosity to this very drinkable white. Grenache Blanc 50%, Viognier 20%, mixed Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Marsanne 30%
Dom. des Perserons Saint-Véran, Le Quartier des Girouettes, Burgundy 2015, £16.99
True Mâconnais white with steely elegance and real finesse. This has vibrant citrus fruit and taut minerality. It is a truly good example of a traditional white Burgundy and a delicious food accompaniment. Girouettes are weather vains to be found on the numerous church spires typical of the Mâconnais.
Château de Belleverne, St Amour, Le Cru des Amoureux 2016, £14.99
Master Blender Samantha Bailey chose to work with three cuvées, each one bringing a specific character to the blend combining fruit, structure and finesse to result in a wine that offers delicious wild strawberry fruit aromas with berry flavours backed up by a touch of savoury liquorice providing complexity and a lasting finish
Boutinot ‘Les Coteaux Schisteux’, Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014, £16.99
An impressive classic Séguret – about as good as Côtes du Rhône-Villages gets! Hedionistic aromas, plush and opulent as ever, layered with exotic spice, cracked black pepper and crushed vanillin. The palate is instantly appealing, polished and smooth on entry but steeped in depth and texture as the flavours swirl around, lengthen and delight. Grenache Noir 80%, Syrah 20%
Nieto Don Nicanor Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2015, £16.99, £15.00
High quality Malbec from this standout producer. The combination of altitude (1300m) and rocky, calcareous soils provide a platform for Malbec to excel. Intense purple in colour, the wine displays great minerality, fresh herbal notes, spice and beautifully expressive black fruits. The palate is elegant with nice fresh acidity, silky tannins and a long finish.
Champagne Gremillet Rosé d’Assemblage Brut, £36.99, £33.00
Highly acclaimed and highly quaffable Champagne. A delicate yet rich, 100% Pinot Noir rosé from a Pinot Noir specialist, this has a fine mousse, wonderful texture and deliciously tangy finish. Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%
Pan Seared Mackerel Fillet
lemon, Caper Berries and Shallot Butter Sauce with Courgette Spaghetti
Corn-fed Chicken with Almond and Sultana Stuffing
Baby Fondant Potatoes and Amaretto Sauce
Beef Wellington, Creamed Parsnip Purée, glazed Tender Sweet Carrots
& Bone Marrow Sauce