We had a celebration dinner with old friends the other night at my favourite local restaurant Culinaria so cracked open a bottle of La Réserve de Léoville Barton 2004*, a St Julien and the second wine of Léoville Barton. It really was quite lovely - rich, plummy, velvety - at its peak but with a few more years to go. It was everything you want from red Bordeaux (unless you have bottomless pockets)
For once I let the wine dictate my food choice, opting for a classic dish of roast lamb with salsa verde instead of the wild Irish sea trout with hake, langoustine and saffron cream sauce I actually fancied. I guess it would probably have rubbed by but the wine would undoubtedly have overwhelmed the delicacy of the dish. I was a little concerned about the salsa verde too but I needn’t have worried. It worked perfectly adding a herbal note that picked up perfectly on the claret. - much better, I remember thinking at the time, than that British abomination mint sauce.
I think it would probably have been a decent cheese wine if we had stuck to sympathetic cheeses such as not-over-matured cheddar, young washed-rind cheeses and sheeps’ cheese but we couldn’t resist pudding (pannacotta with Yorkshire rhubarb and blood orange)
Stephen Markwick of Culinaria, I can't resist mentioning, is the chef with whom I wrote a book last year: ‘A Very Honest Cook’ which you can buy from the restaurant for the incredibly modest price of £10 + p & p!
*You can buy the 2004 from Vineyards Direct at £22.95 a bottle if you buy by the case - about £5 less a bottle than I paid locally.