The London Palm Wine Dinners, Knightsbridge:
I really have no sense of direction at all! Palm Restaurant actually should be very easy to find, just off Sloane Street and mid-way between Sloane Square and Knightsbridge. But, you do have to turn in the right direction and even with the aid of Google Maps, I failed! When I finally arrived, rather cold and tired having walked 10 minutes in the wrong direction it was to a warm welcome and a glass of sparkling wine.
The Palm Restaurant wine tasting dinners are a lively way to sample some of the Californian wines on offer for diners and our invitation was to taste Schafer Napa Valley wines. Now, I am no wine expert but I really enjoyed my last Californian wine tasting experience with Hahn valley and was keen to learn a little more.
Whether it was the lively atmosphere or the great food, I don’t know, but this time I left feeling that I really still needed to find out more about the wines I’d been drinking. Shafer wines have an interesting heritage, the vineyard was taken over by John Shafer, an ex-publishing executive, in 1972 and since then appears to have won the hearts and palates of America with a select range of wines. And I wanted to learn a little more about the vineyard itself and how the wines had developed. In fact Shafer wines are very well covered and I particularly enjoyed the Wall Street Journal review
After the welcome canapé and drinks reception, we sat down to start the meal with a quintessentially American ‘Marinated Shrimp Caesar Salad’. This was paired with Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2010 – a citrusy and light wine that worked very well both with the Shrimp salad and with the Roasted Salmon Escalope that followed.
It was, however, the meat course that was the star dish for me. Strip steak is an American cut, which appears to be something between a sirloin and a rib-eye. Mine was beautifully cooked – pink in the middle and medium rare and had that depth of flavour that only comes from properly aged beef. There were side dishes of cabbage, turned potatoes and mushroom and the dish was accompanied by two red wines – a soft merlot and perhaps the star of the show, the one point five, which is 98% cabernet sauvignon and 2% petit verdot. Very delicious and amazingly 15.3% so one to be a little careful about drinking!!!
Palm carrot cake was another dish that for some reason I associate with America. My photograph actually doesn’t do justice to this rather gorgeous cake! Our dessert wine was Les Clos de Paulilies Banyuis Rimage, 2008 – a French infiltrator!
The whole dinner was in the convivial surroundings of Palm’s private dining room, where a large communal table and plenty of wine ensured one of the friendliest supper club events I’ve been to. This is a supper club for grown-ups though at £100 per person including all wine and the drinks and canapé reception. And, for an American Expat in London I am sure it would feel like a home from home. For me, I’d have loved just a little more information about the wine, but I quite enjoyed doing my homework!
The Palm London Wine dinners continue with dates on the last Friday of the month, covering a wide range of Californian wines, from February 22nd through till August 24th 2013, when there will be an American vs European wine showdown!
The Palm London
1-3 Pont Street, Knightsbridge,
London, UK SW1X 9EJ