An aperitif of refreshing rosé Bandol: Mas de la Rouvière 2007 was accompanied by a delicious amuse bouche of pissaladière. The dry, coral-pink, berry-scented wine was the perfect foil for the warm, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastry topped with anchovies, olives and caramelised onions. On my table we fought over the crumbs.
Next up was an equally appetising bouillabaisse served with golden, garlicky croutons and a pleasingly authentic rouille. This was partnered with the ideal wine - a 2007 Cassis blanc from Clos Sainte Magdeleine. The herb-tinged, slightly oily wine moved into a different dimension with the satisfyingly gritty bisque that accompanied mussels, prawns and firm white fish.
Our main course was a (very) generous rack of herb-crusted lamb, served rare with ratatouille. The accompanying red wine was a belter - an organic Côtes de Provence ‘Cuvée Tradition' 2007 from Domaine Richeaume. This blend of Bordelais (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Rhône (Syrah) varietals is packed with sweet cassis fruit with savoury, minty undertones. It was wonderful with the lamb and equally successful with another Provençal delicacy - a mature Banon goat's cheese that one seldom sees on these shores.
By this stage nobody actually required further sustenance, but an apricot tart of which Elisabeth David would have been proud (see Yapp '09 page 10) was very happy in the company of a luscious, straw-coloured Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2006 from Domaine de Durban that was served ice-cold, in stylish little Parisian glasses. We then had coffee and sensible people (who didn't abuse their rum rations) caught buses and trains home.
If you've yet to engage the Ambassador in diplomatic relations it's high time you paid a visit. We'll certainly be heading back soon.