The ‘Brexit’ dinner
For a good many years now I have selected the wines for a dinner held at Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire. This year the theme was ‘Brexit’: B for Britain, R for Rhône, E for Echezeaux, X for Xérès, I for Iberia and T for Tuscany. As an aperitif, my Bride Valley, Brut Reserve 2014 showed its chalky soil. With haddock and parsley fishcakes (the menu was also British), a very good white Rioja, Finca La Emperatriz, Viura Cepas Viejas 2013 was outclassed by the Delas, Marquise de la Tourette, Hermitage 2006, which was described by Decanter’s Rhône expert John LivingstoneLearmonth as ‘typical Marsanne with a little skip in its step’. With the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, La Rioja Alta’s excellent Viña Ardanza 2007 gave way to Rocca di Montegrossi’s superb Vigneto San Marcellino, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2007 with 5% Pugnitello to temper the Sangiovese’s firm fruit and structure – robust at 14.9% alcohol, but elegant. With British cheese, a Joseph Drouhin, Echezeaux Grand Cru 2005 showed silky finesse – the perfect companion to Michel Chapoutier’s more masculine Le Méal, Ermitage 2003. Finally, with sherry trifle, Osborne’s Venerable Pedro Ximénez VORS sent us richly rewarded on our way.