Operations assistant Max Edge continues his adventures in £10+ wines. Don't miss his previous post: Breaking Bacchus. Put a zin(g) in your step Something occ...
Breaking the £10 Barrier with Bacchus A few years ago, returning home from university and staring at the blank, terrifying canvas of career ambiguity that lay ahead of me, I decided to apply for the most sought after of Grad Schemes. Bar Work. I’d always been a keen home cook, passionate for the food and drink industry. Downtime in the restaurants would be spent at the pass with the Chef, discussing anything from the perfect searing time for a medium-rare steak, to the trendiest fruit to use in a salad (definitely still pomegranate). Since joining the Roberson family in March of this year, I have spent the last 3 months adjusting to an office lifestyle. Fortunately for me, I now have a good amount of overdue evening time to be selfish, reserved purely for doing the things I love. Like going to the supermarket, cooking tasty food from scratch, and washing it down with a glass of wine. My approach to wine has always been open-minded but limited by a distorted perception of what is value, never straying beyond £6 - £8 a bottle. So join me as I cross into the unknown territory of the double digit price tag. Let’s start close to home. And I mean literally. Just down the stairs from our office into London Cru. There’d been some buzz in the office about the Baker St Bacchus 2018. Many consider Bacchus to be England’s best grape for still wines - and this one is from England's so-called ‘Vintage of the Century’. “Aromas of Elderflower and gooseberry,” and “zingy acidity alongside luscious stone fruits in the mid-palate.” This looked like as good a place to start as any. So, I hurdled excitedly for the first time over the £10 fence. The ground underfoot remained steady. My mind raced on to the evening’s dinner. If four years’ worth of lunchbreaks picking the brains of chefs had taught me anything, it was that a Bacchus like this would be best enjoyed alongside fresh white fish. A hop and skip to the North End Road market that lunchtime flooded my mind with suggestions for the ideal cuisine to pair with this stunning English Bacchus. Light wines with zippy acidity and dynamite tropical fruits lean heavily toward Asian food, especially Thai. The complex blend of the sour, sweet, salty, and spicy, as well as bitter and aromatic mean the wine needs to have a sufficient personality to add to the chorus. There’d been a recipe I’d been dying to try for a while, a bit of a showstopper, and with some friends coming over, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a Thai feast. Crispy-Seabass with a sour fruit and peanut dressing – marinated overnight in Thai Red Curry paste and blitzed coriander stalks (scoring the flesh to allow the marinade to work its magic). Deep-fried whole, the skin blisters and becomes crispy with soft delicate flesh underneath. Topped with a delicious sweet, sour, salty dressing made up of fish sauce, lime juice, chunks of pink grapefruit, light muscovado sugar & sesame oil, chopped toasted peanuts and freshly torn mint and coriander. Served alongside an aubergine Red Curry, Jasmine rice and Thai beef salad with a seared sirloin. As we tucked in, a relative quietness developed around the dinner table, allowing for an introduction of the Baker St Bacchus as I poured our glasses. Had I opted for the usual £6 - £8 purchase, the wine would have been lost among the flavours on our plates and drowned by the dining table conversation. Instead, the Bacchus jumped around our mouths like an overexcited toddler at Disneyland, cutting through the ensemble of flavour and providing mouth-watering refreshment for the next mouthful. The only downside - the bottle was swiftly emptied, and I hadn’t bought two! Stay tuned for more of Max’s double-digit wine adventures.
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