At Yapp Brothers we are blessed with a spacious boardroom which is used for many meetings but few of them are as convivial as last night's dinner for Accenture and Vodafone Business Intelligence. Our old friend Clive Greenhalgh, patron of the Ambassador restaurant (www.theambassadorcafe.co.uk), cajoled us into opening our cellars after hours while he set up a field kitchen to cook a magnificent feast.
After a reviving aperitif of Vouvray Mousseux Brut from Domaine Aubert we enjoyed a rapid 'Tour de France' wine tasting in our shop in Mere. We then adjourned to the boardroom where Clive and his trusty assistant Harry served us Lobster 'Two Ways' (classically poached with a garlic mayonnaise and with a lime and avocado Ceviche). With the lobster we drank a Condrieu: Terrasses de l'Empire 2008 from Domaine Georges Vernay - which was a heavenly pairing. The aromatic, mid-weight Viognier married perfectly with the firm Brixham lobster and coped well with the slight chilli kick in the Ceviche. Here at Yapp Brothers we crash on (at length) about food and wine matching but it seldom gets better than that.
Our next course was a Foie Gras Terrine with Quince Compote and Toasted Brioche which we partnered with small glasses of Montlouis 'Côte Saint Martin' 2003. This apple-scented, gently honeyed wine was a terrific foil for the rich goose liver and met with universal approval.
The great thing about the onset of Autumn is that one can start to appreciate some warming red wines from the Rhône valley. With some wonderfully tender Fillet of Longhorn beef served with Pommes Anna and Cep Gratin we broached some of our library stock of Patrick Jasmin's 1998 Côte Rôtie and a 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape from Le Vieux Donjon. The Côte Rôtie was starting to mellow with age, exhibiting some attractive sous bois scents and briary fruit flavours but the Châteauneuf' was the real crowd-pleaser with a core of blackberry and cassis tastes over tannins that were beginning soften and sweeten. We followed the same estate on to our cheese course with a 1986 Vieux Donjon that was served with an enormous chunk of our local and the finest Montgomery Cheddar. Some purists argue that one shouldn't serve red wine with cheese but there were no complaints and the 23 year-old Châteauneuf' held up very well tasting fully mature but by no means over the hill.
We rounded the evening off with a chocolate mousse and a Banyuls Cuvée Réserva from Domaine la Tour Vieille. The chilled, sweet, dark wine made a fine accompaniment to the rich chocolate flavours and everyone agreed that Clive and Harry had excelled themselves. If only all our board meetings were so pleasurable!