Wine supper: The Gilbert Scott and Langmeil Winery culinary journey
When a stand-out dish and a stand-out wine partner up to create the perfect combination of rich flavours and sensory delights, you have to be satisfied with your meal.
The menu, designed to be paired with the selection of wine, was a journey through the fundamentals of the kitchen: fish, meat, cheese, fruit; fried, braised, baked and raw.
The intention was no doubt to prove the versatility of the range proposed by the Langmeil Winery, with very high peaks but also some not entirely negligible lows: the intention was respectable, the outcome debatable.
A mélange of finger food opened the evening, paired with a 2011 dry riesling from Eden Valley. Whereas the tiny focaccias were delicious, the wine was lacking both minerality and fruitiness, the two main characteristics of a good riesling. Though the bottle was easy to drink and pleasant for an unselective palate, the lack of character was a clear flaw in such a high-end wine.
The first course was a kedgeree with smoked eel, smoked haddock, boiled egg and pearl barley standing in for the rice. I am not a big fan of dishes where each ingredient’s flavour is hard to discern, but it has to be acknowledged that the texture and balance of Wareing’s version were rather unique. The pairing for the dish was another white wine from Eden Valley, a 2010 chardonnay.
The Eden Valley is a colder and more acidic soil than Barossa, making it more suitable for the Burgundian grape – 2010 was a very good year after the disappointing vintages of 2008 and 2009. Partly fermented and aged in oak (30%) and partly in steel tanks (70%), the chardonnay was more complex than the riesling, but had issues with its aroma and a very vague finish.
As much as the selection had so far confirmed how Australia is a difficult territory for fine white wines, the forthcoming reds denoted an incredible mastery of full-bodied red varieties.
The confit shoulder of lamb is hard to describe: it was juicy and delicate, but full of those mouth-filling traits that only a perfectly braised meat carries. Not only the was the course perfect, but also the wines. The 2009 Valley Floor Shiraz – with its full, thoroughly oaky, chocolatey flavour and cherry finish – and the 2009 Orphan Bank –more elegant, spicy and carrying a raspberry aftertaste due to the higher ratio of French oak to American. The combination of the lamb and the two Shiraz wines was absolutely sublime.
A semi-soft Cashel Blue followed, paired with a decent glass of sophisticated 2008 Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon; and to conclude, a refreshing vanilla pannacotta with blood orange, passion fruit and orange Garibaldi. The dessert wine, a glass of 2011 Live Wire Eden Valley fizzy demi-sec riesling, was lightly revitalising but far from the excellence of the reds.
It was a night of quality, with some really good food and some really good wine, but not many surprises: Wareing shines with classic dishes and Langmeil with full-bodied reds.
The Gilbert Scott: 48/60
Filippo L’Astorina, The Editor
Photos: Laura Denti
For further information on Lagmeil Winery visit their website here.
To book a table at The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR, call 020 7278 3888 or visit their website here.