Flavor Vs Flavour: A night of Convinality at Village East
Guest Feature by Sarah James:
I was really excited to be asked to come to a night of Exploring English vs American wines; whilst I have tried a few English wines previously, my exposure to American wines has been limited, and my views possibly skewed by the film Sideways!
As demand for places had exceeded initial expectations, the tasting was held in The Garrison, a nearby sister establishment to Village East. I think that the Convinality evenings will continue to be very popular, as it was really relaxed with lots of participation from the guests and interaction with the hosts taking us through the tastings. There was nothing stuffy or intimidating about this event, and everyone’s opinion was encouraged and valued; it was made clear that there was no right or wrong answer, that in the end it’s just a case of personal preference.
Our sommelier was Giles James, who was knowledgeable but put us all at ease encouraging discussion. Whilst we settled in, we were offered a canapé of whipped feta with picked cucumber, this was delicious.
We started with a sparkling wine from this side of the Pond; a Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2009. I’ve had Nyetimber wines before and would rate these as easily equalling or being superior to their French cousins in Champagne. This one didn’t disappoint, and at least half of the group voted it their favourite of the evening. Made from grapes grown in Sussex and Hampshire (no buying in of grapes), the chalky terroir lends itself well to producing a lovely dry sparkling wine. Nyetimber only produce vintage sparkling wines; don’t expect to find one from 2012 though, as the terrible summer we experienced meant that the harvest just wasn’t good enough. We enjoyed the 2009 with a smoked salmon, crème fraiche and dill canapé; a classic combination that worked well.
We moved onto our 2nd English wine, a 2012 Reserve Bacchus from New Hall in Essex. This grape is often used in English wine making this type of grape being tolerant t to our climate. This wine split the room on a love/hate basis! I wasn’t overly keen, but was pleased to have tried it. It was served with an Asian spiced tuna tartare that was divine. With the food, the wine was much nicer than without.
Next we moved onto the wines from the other side of the Pond. We started with a Carmel Road from Monteray. One guest observed that the climate in California is much nicer than Essex! This was a Chardonnay, a wine whose reputation has been much tainted by the overuse of oak by Australian wine-makers a few years back. Although this was much more restrained in the use of oak, allowing the tropical fruit flavours to come through, I still found the oak and butteryness not to my taste. I’d rather have a Chardonnay from Burgundy! This was served with a brown crab meat and lobster croquette.
Our final wine was from Oregon, Sokkol Blasser, a Pinot Noir. This was delicious and easy to drink without food as the tannins were scaled back allowing the cherry and rhubarb flavours to come through. This was served with a spicy turkey ballotine, which worked well.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening; I met some lovely people, and felt comfortable throughout. I would recommend this event as something to do with friends or on your own. At £16.50 for the 4 wines and canapés, and font of knowledge from the host, it’s pretty good value, and a fun way to while away a couple of hours.
As of now, Village East do not have any further Conviniality events in the pipeline but hopefully after the success of last night, they will soon! Having said that, the events would be every other month.
171-173 Bermondsey Street
LONDON SE1 3UW