Sunday, March 04, 2018

Dinner with Romain Chapuis, 1st March

On Thursday night, I braved the Beast from the East and made it through the slush to the ICA on the Mall, where Rochelle have taken over the restaurant. I've been a couple of times and it has established itself as a firm favourite, not least because of the pies!

We were there for a wine-tasting dinner with Romain Chapuis, hosted by ACC of the Burgundy Portfolio. I'm a big fan of Romain's wines and attended a dinner he did previously, two or three years ago (strangely I don't appear to have blogged about it) so was very excited to get one more chance to try them again.

I arrived expecting the tasting to be upstairs in the restaurant, but then I heard familiar voices coming from the left and discovered what one might call an inner sanctum, a little alcove, where a number of people were already gathered and were drinking 2016 Orange Blossom aligote en magnum. After a couple of minutes opening up in the glass this turned out to be a very enjoyable, refreshing aperitif and I was lucky enough to get a couple of refills.

Then we moved upstairs for dinner where I sat with G and the Baron, so our end of the table could certainly not be accused of being boring. We tasted a number of bottles which had been shown to the restaurant earlier in the day. Of the whites, we tried the 2016 Bourgogne Blanc which had a lively acidity and notes of lime, while the Rully 2016 was well-balanced with good grip, and very drinkable. I'd already tasted this back in January and placed an order so was glad to confirm my own opinion.

I managed not to get a photo of my favourite red, the 2017 Coteaux Bourguignons "sans soufre" which is a Gamay, and reminds me of those lovely Beaujolais which I love - Foillard etc. It had a beautiful nose and was light and fruity and very glou-glou. At least nine out of ten. I bought some of the 2016 last year and am really looking forward to drinking it soon if spring ever appears.

I also very much enjoyed this 2016 Cotes de Nuits Villages "Les Chaillots" which was richer, with black fruits.

Two other highlights were this 2015 Maranges which I see I bought last year - this is turning into a very self-congratulatory blog post I'm afraid - and the 2013 Pernand-Vergelesses "Les Belles Filles". I appear to have given up making notes when we got to the Maranges but for me it has an enjoyably rustic quality. Call me old fashioned but I think it would go well with sausages, and is good value for a village red, while the Pernand was more elegant and fruity.

As always, the food at Rochelle was excellent and I particularly enjoyed the rillettes and the chicken, leek and tarragon pie which I remembered to take a photo of before I guzzled it all. Happiness ensued.

Some readers may have noticed a few song references clumsily inserted into this blog post.* The Baron became agitated half way through dinner and clearly wished to communicate something but wasn't being sufficient vocal for me to hear, so he had to scribble it down on his menu. It turned out that Neil Tennant had just sat down at the table next to us. As we're huge Pet Shop Boys fans this was very exciting and I had to resist the temptation not to keep staring at Neil as he was reading his book. Two glasses of champagne had been poured and I was on tenterhooks wondering who was going to join him for dinner; it turned out to be none other than Janet Street Porter! I was delighted to see that they both had pies too.

All in all, a super evening. Thanks ACC and Romain!

*Eight altogether.

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