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  • Tasting with Trimbach

    Great Western Wine recently hosted a sell-out evening with Julien Trimbach at the Allium restaurant. Angela Mount went along to report...

     

    A tasting of Trimbach wines is not a bad way to spend an evening at the best of times, but teemed with not only some rare gems from old vintages, but also the exquisite cuisine of new Allium Restaurant chef, Rupert Taylor, it became a must do event in Bath’s social calendar.

    Trimbach is one of the most revered wine producers in Alsace.  Established in 1626, and with the young and urbane Julien Trimbach, the 13th generation of the family, hosting this spectacular evening, guests, many of whom have followed and enjoyed Trimbach wines for years, were in for a treat.

    Alsace, nestled in the foothills of the Vosges mountains, forms a long, narrow strip between northern France and Germany, and has a chequered history, having changed nationality several times between the two countries over the centuries and wars.  Trimbach are based in Ribeauville, a chocolate-box pretty town, with characteristic timber-fronted houses and steep flat clay tile roofs, in the heart of the vineyard region.  Using mainly Germanic grape varieties, Alsace has created a worldwide reputation for extraordinary wines with Riesling at its heart, but in a totally unique way.

    It’s always fun to break the rules; instead of a customary glass of fizz on arrival, we were greeted with a chilled Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve 2015, which surprised some and delighted many.  Pale ruby red in colour, fresh, bright and lively, this gentle, light red was packed with crunchy pomegranate and raspberry fruit, with a wild herb edge.  With its northern location, Alsace doesn’t produce much red wine, but the cool climate-loving Pinot Noir does perform well here, albeit producing far lighter styles than neighbouring and more southernly Burgundy.  Spot on with Chef Taylor’s irresistible canapes of tomato and smoked aubergine, sumptuous foie gras mousse spiced up with saffron and pink peppercorns, together with a tangy citrus cured morsel of salmon with ponzu jelly.

    Onto dinner; first up was a beautifully presented plate of plump, caramelised and pan-fried scallops, meltingly tender, with their luxurious, sweet texture; these were nestled on an intense creamy puree of cauliflower, and served alongside perfectly roasted and singed cauliflower florets, and a bright, tangy verjus to balance. Tom King, Great Western Wine’s Fine Wine Manager had worked closely with Chef Taylor to showcase the very best of Trimbach’s wines, and cleverly picked a grape variety, whose ripeness and more voluptuous style, would marry the indulgence and sweetness of the starter. Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2014 combined aromas of tuberoses and nutmeg, with a deliciously fresh, dry palate, with vibrant citrus to the fore, tinged with a hint of acacia honey.  This was served alongside Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle 2013, a masterpiece in the balance of richness and acidity, opulent and intense.

    The main event was inevitably going to be Riesling, accounting for over 50% of Trimbach’s production.  As Julien told us “Riesling is in our blood, it’s our heritage”. We were treated to a hedonistic quartet of Rieslings, with over 30 years between the youngest and oldest. Trimbach Riesling Reserve 2014 is but a baby, grown on the chalky, quartz and sandstone Gres des Vosges stone.  2014 was a fabulous vintage in Alsace and this little gem showed its promise, all nervy and fresh with candied lemon peel aromas and zippy acidity. If you have of this vintage, snuggle it up, and don’t touch till it’s at least a toddler, as it will blossom into a beautiful teenager and beyond.

    Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2008 is Trimbach’s signature wine, produced from two grand crus vineyards, with vines averaging 45 years in age. This is an extraordinary wine from a vintage which produced wines of purity and precision.  This wine, despite its 9 years, is still in its youthful, nervy thoroughbred stage.  Intense, rich, creamy and incredibly complex, it has a gorgeous richness of fruit, interwoven with grapefruit peel, Manuka honey and a smattering of citrusy sumac.

    Matching a main course that isn’t fish, to white wines isn’t always easy, but Rupert Taylor and his brigade stepped up to the mark with a fillet of Rose Veal, glisteningly pink, tender and delicate, served with a creamy sweet langoustine puree, earthily pungent girolles mushrooms and tangy choucroute. A wealth of flavours on a plate, whose different textures and balance of flavours worked seamlessly with the wine.

    Still on Riesling, wizard Tom King then waved his magic wand and brought out two wines from the cellar collection – wines that have been slumbering in the cellars for years, and are now starting to emerge from their chrysalis into rare and stunningly beautiful butterflies.  Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2008 is Trimbach’s flagship wine, produced on limestone soils, from a single vineyard, and only in the very best of years. As Julien stated ‘if Riesling is in our blood, Sainte Hune is in our heart’. This wine is extraordinary – racy, nervy, taut as a tightly-wound violin string, bursting with a myriad flavours of marmalade, lime and those typical petrolly characteristics, all bound up with outstanding purity and minerality – if you have some, it’s another toddler to leave to develop a while longer.

    Proving the point, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Alsace, and in particular Trimbach makes wines that can last decades, Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendange Tardive 1983, a 34 year old, very rare wine, produced in tiny quantities, from botrytised grapes, which are very rare from this vineyard – the epitome of elegance, redolent of white flowers, roses, rosehips and honey; rich, intense, multi-layered, with marvellous depth – mature, but still with trademark steely acidity coursing through its veins. A rare treat.

    How to follow such a majestic wine?  Chef Taylor finished off the evening with a Peach Bavarois, wobbling in its creamy unctuousness, accompanied by a tangy, perfectly spiced Schezuan pepper and bay leaf ice cream.  Picking up on the delicate, floral notes in the dessert, our final wine was Gewurztraminer Selection des Grains Nobles ‘Hors Choix’ 2007, amber in colour and steeped with rich nectarine, honey and candied fruit flavours – exotic, decadent and supremely balanced.

    Four hundred years on, Trimbach is still proving why its iconic wines are revered all over the world.

  • Lyme Bay Launch at The Allium

    Celebrate English Wine Week by supporting the launch of the Allium's drinks terrace, where a selection of fabulous Lyme Bay fizzes are being served alongside an array of delicious seafood prepared by their new chef. We look forward to seeing you there!


  • The Team's Tasting Selections

    This week's latest update of 'The Team's Tasting Selections' from the Great Western Wine shop in Bath.

    Why not pop in and try some of our delicious wines whilst you take a look around at the selection available:

    Happy tasting!

     

    R E D S

    Chañar Punco, El Esteco 2012

    Producer: El Esteco, Argentina

    Bottle price 75cl: £45.00 now £35.00

    Sample price: £2.00

     

    Producer: El Esteco, Argentina

    Bottle price 75cl: £19.95 now £17.95

    Sample price: £1.00

     

    Producer: Laberinto, Chile

    Bottle price 75cl: £21.50

    Sample price: £1.00

     

    Producer: Quinta do Crasto

    Bottle price 75cl: £22.50

    Sample price: £1.00

    W H I T E S

    Producer: Ixsir, Lebanon

    Bottle price 75cl: £19.95

    Sample price: £1.00

     

    Ladies who shoot their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2015

    Producer: Fowles Wines, Australia

    Bottle price 75cl: £22.95

    Sample price: £1.00

    Sauvignon Blanc 2016

    Producer: Cloudy Bay, New Zeland

    Bottle price 75cl: £24.50

    Sample price: £1.00

     

    Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc 2015

    Producer: Domaine de la Janasse, France

    Bottle price 75cl: £39.00

    Sample price: £2.00

  • Weekend Edit : Where To Eat

    We all love to indulge at the weekend, that’s what all of our hard work in the week is for isn’t it? This doesn’t however, mean that we have the time to get clued up on what to do and where to eat by the time you’ve finished that endless Friday in the office!

    To make things a little easier for you we’ve taken a look at some of the top places to eat around the UK this weekend, from the latest hotspots, to some old favourites, there’s always a range to choose from in your nearby cities.  So, after work this evening, sit back, relax, and enjoy a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc while you ponder what plans to make over this weekend.

    London – Little Bay Restaurants

    This is one that I discovered very recently and have since been twice, so it’s safe to say that I highly recommend, and with sites in Farringdon, Kilburn, Croydon and Brighton, they pretty much have a location to suit everyone.  A great little find if you’re looking for a memorable venue, great food and even better value.  I’d say the decor is half of Little Bay’s charm, creating a bohemian and extravagant environment with hidden away balcony booths that are perfect for small tables, with elaborate red and gold furniture that is sure to make you feel like you’ve been taken out of London for the evening.  Founded by Peter Ilic, who is credited with an impressive background working at some of the best restaurants across London, this influence is very apparent in the food, creating a strong menu of modern, European and French cuisine.  You can expect dishes along the lines of choux de crab with citrus hollandaise, duck two ways, and a sea salt pecan tart.  Did I mention that with their early bird menu you could get all three courses for £11.95 too?

    Bath – Hudson Steakhouse

    A firm favourite amongst the team in Bath, Hudson Steakhouse is located in a beautifully renovated, Victorian ‘edge-of-town’ pub.  With prime, dry aged steaks being the main focus on the menu, this is complimented by dishes with clear Asian influences and the usual delicious classics, not to mention their award winning wine list.  With starters beginning at £6.95 and prime beef up to £33.95, there’s a lot of scope with this menu, so you can make the experience your own.

    Norwich – Appleyard & Co

    Norwich’s Appleyard & Co on Exchange Street offers an interesting and original tapas menu if you’re looking for a bite to eat without the fuss of a serious sit down dinner.  The wine bar environment creates an energetic atmosphere where you can enjoy a quick drink with some live entertainment, and this week you can experience the delights of Norwich Cocktail Week too.  The menu has some great options worth exploring whilst you’re there; from lamb bobotjie with banana chips to breaded sardines and caper mayonnaise, all ranging from £3-£7, if you’ve not popped in already, this weekend is the perfect time to pay a visit!

    Manchester - Bakerie

    With the rising trend in artisan breads, deli style sharing boards, and small plates, I thought Bakerie was definitely worth a mention.  Having been around for a while now, it’s settled in well just off Stevenson Square and is continuing to provide Manchester’s Northern Quarter with a well thought out and varied menu, all based around wonderfully baked bread!  There are plenty of options available, ranging from light bites at around £5 to mains at £10-12, and the menu is adaptable for gluten free, dairy free and vegan diners, so no need to feel left out.  If you’re looking for an alternative to your classic roast dinner then take a look at the Sunday boards they have to offer for a nice twist on the norm.

    Newcastle – Dabbawal 

    I’ve been a big fan of the ‘street food’ trend of recent years because it enabled me to experience new flavours and discover new cuisines on quite a broad scale.  The outdoor venues for events I’ve visited in the past are great for sampling small and varied selections, but now the weather has turned, it’s time to look for somewhere that can sit us inside and keep us warm whilst offering the same style and quality of food that we’re looking for.  Dabbawal in Newcastle fits the bill perfectly, offering Indian street food in a tapas style, consisting of a range of small and large plates from £1.95 - £14.50.  The open kitchen here still provides that feel of involvement and an outdoor environment too, so the experience doesn’t lose its charm.  My recommendation if you looking to try something a bit different would be the Jaffrani Salmon, but take your pick and try a selection, there’s plenty to choose from!

    Edinburgh - Timberyard

    This award winning, family run restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh is definitely not one to miss.  Priding themselves on sourcing their produce from small, local, artisan growers, their ethos is strong and their menu speaks wonders, with the quality being clear from the ingredients list alone.  There are a number of choices available, including an 8 course tasting menu at £65, bites from £4 and mains from £15 depending on time of day and which ‘space’ you choose for your meal.

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