• Simon Reilly

Wine(s) of the week #7 & 8 2016

Bit of a change this week. You won't see any of the following in the background of the bottle shots - my checked lounge wear, the telly, my kids toys, dirty dishes. Sorry to disappoint, but Mrs Wineloon and I made it out of the house together for a meal this week. Half term means the in-laws are here all week to look after cost units 1 and 2, which means...free babysitting on tap - woo-hoo!

And we didn't just go out for any old meal, we went to new wine mecca Noble Rot in Lambs Conduit Street, Holburn-ish. It was superb, all the food was spot on, highlights being; their treacly soda bread (went particularly well the Nottinghamshire blue cheese on the cheese plate - note to chef, I stashed a bit of the soda bread from the start of the meal but please serve it with the cheese plate as it is made for blue cheese, thanks), the massively oversized plate of iberico and the tarragon sauce served with the duck hearts and fennel.

But more importantly, what about the wine? We kicked off with some of the house champers. Can't remember what it was but it was good and washed down the oysters well. It was served in a Zalto universal glass (i.e. normal wine glass) rather than a flute. The jury is still out on this new phenomenon, does anyone else think it makes it feel a bit flabby? I am still to do a taste comparison with the same champagne in different glasses so don't think I can say for sure what I prefer, but I think i may be of the old school on this one.

Moving on to the highlight of the week (and possibly month, or year), this:

Now, I perused the whole wine list first and was a bit spoilt for choice, everything looked so good nothing really jumped out, until I looked at the back of the menu where the ever-changing "by the glass" list sits. On it was this 1996 Collioure by Domaine de La Rectorie. A producer I had heard of in an AOC I had enjoyed before which was 20 years old....and it was £45 a bottle in a restaurant in London? I had to give this a pop. I mentioned my interest to the sommelier and he started gushing enthusiastically about how epic the wine was. That sealed it, confirmation it wasn't a misprint was all I needed.

Turns out they had been sent a case of it in error by the merchant instead of a Banyuls that they stock. The sommelier said they had priced a case of the 1998 at a merchant in Hong Kong at £40 per bottle before duty & tax but since they got it so cheaply they passed the savings on to the customer. But before you run out straight away to buy a bottle, there were only 12 and its probably all finished by now. But you can take it from me, it was ace! It was ridiculously young tasting for a 20 year old wine, really smooth with lots of savoury secondary flavours. Very dry but that worked perfectly with the quite rich style of food.

Despite my best efforts, I was clearly unable to contain the excitement and joy the wine gave me through the meal as the sommelier offered me and Mrs Wineloon a glass of the banyuls by the same producer as a digestif on the house, and very good it was too. Like a lighter version of port but sweeter and more raisiny, moving towards a Rutherglen Muscat in flavour but lighter and fresher. A great way to finish the meal. Can't wait to go back.