Wine supper: The Gilbert Scott and Langmeil Winery culinary journey
When there is a stand-out dish and a stand-out wine giving birth to a perfect combination of flavours and sensory perceptions, you have to be satisfied about your meal.
The menu, designed to be paired with the selection of wine, was a journey through the fundamentals of 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. Surely easy to drink and pleasant for an unselective palate, the lack of character is a flaw for high-end wines.
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, however, it has to be acknowledged that the texture and balance of Wareing’s version is rather uncommon. 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 so far confirmed how Australia is a difficult territory for fine white wines, the forthcoming red ones denoted an incredible mastery of full-bodied red varieties.
The confit shoulder of lamb is hard to describe: juicy, delicate but rich 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 with a raspberry aftertaste – due to the higher use of French oak than 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 red bottles.
Filippo L’Astorina, The Editor
Photos: Laura Denti
The Gilbert Scott: 48/60
For further information on Lagmeil Winery click here.
To book a table at The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR, call 020 7278 3888 or enquire here.