Saturday, 31 January 2009

Europe's Longest Champagne Bar - St Pancras Station - London

When ever I head south to London I always expect it to be warmer than Edinburgh, this has not been the case some visits. My most recent visit followed this pattern. There was a bitterly cold wind that day when we decided to drop into St Pancras and to the "heated" bar seats at the longest champagne bar in Europe. I had an image in my head that the actual bar itself would be long, this is incorrect, it is the seating area that stretches the length of St Pancras, it's quite impressive, as long as you don't mind the not so subtle smell of diesel. Monsieur Vin and I climbed on to a bar stool each and could almost feel heat from the small overhead electric heater.
With a decent number of champagnes on the list by the bottle it would have been tempting, had it been warmer, to while away the afternoon but we decided a glass would suffice just now. I chose the Tattinger Brut (£12.20), described as "sweet citrus fruit with a bright lifting acidity." Pale golden yellow with small lively bubbles the description fitted wine, dry, elegant and thoroughly enjoyable.
Monsieur Vin isn't a huge fan of Champagne but not wanting to feel left out tried the Phillipponnat Royal Reserve (£9.50), the bubbles filtered into a central stream and a more subtle fizz and more subtle aromas this too was an enjoyable drink.
We enjoyed watching people come and go, the lady who ordered 2 bottles of champagne and 22 glasses, the couple who asked if they served beer and the many people who just stopped and stared not venturing too close.
All in all an enjoyable experience and I think the vote goes to the Tattinger. As for the venue itself, definitely worth a visit but maybe wait until the spring....

Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi, 2007

It was one of those days at work when I feel I've worked hard but achieve nothing. On the leaving the office feeling exhausted and just a little dispondent the heavens opened and I realised I had no umbrella or hat. The first three buses home were too full to pick me up, after some time I'm able to board a bus at last and sit in traffic before the 15 minute trek up Lothian Road toward Toll Cross and home. At the corner of my street Monseiur Vin calls, he's fogotton a vital ingrediant for tonight's dinner, would I be so kind as to pop to the local Scotmid, I'd be delighted of course.
The shop is busy, the queue stretches back, I join the end. As we shuffle forward I'm adjacent to the wine fridge my eyes wander over the ready chilled whites, I wipe away a rain drop that has slid down my nose and dangles on the end. In amongst the Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios I spot Vedicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi, that's not something you see everyday I ponder. £3.75 a bottle?
The cashier packs my bag, carefully loading my impulse buy too.
Accompanied by spaghetti with fresh tomato and garlic with a sprinkle of sea salt we try my bargain buy.
It's golden yellow in colour but pale. It's not powerful on the nose but there are definate citrus notes. It has a slightly effevescent feel on the palate and an extra burst of lime and a little grapefruit. It needs the food but all in all for the price and a mid week relaxer it's pretty acceptable to me.

To find out more about the area visit
I visited this area many years ago before I had such an interest in learning more about wine. Whilst there we were give a bottle of sparkling deep red wine as a gift, something I'm on the look out for to try again.

Hyland, Penley Estate, Coonawarra, Shiraz, 2002

Aussie Mate & Tiger T arrive on my doorstep, slightly out of breath after the 3 storey climb up the old tenement stairway. Hats, scarves and various layers are removed and a naturally chilled bottle is proffered from Tiger T.
The smell of roast lamb and potatoes permeates the air as Monsieur Vin prepares our Sunday dinner. Marlowe rests a comforting paw on Tiger T's knee, he must know she's feeling a little down right now or maybe he's hedging his bets on who might be first to offer a wee morsel from their plate.
Glasses filled we gather around our small dining room table and toast the chef as is the custom in the Vin household.
I take in the aromas of the Shiraz, my senses take in the powerful blackberries laid out on a gentle smoky oakiness. The chatter and laughter increases as relax into the occasion. My palate enjoys the continued intensity of black fruit flavours and the candle light sparkles off the deep red liquid. The rich dark gravy and dark meat compliments the wine is perfect the rich full bodied wine. Oaky tannins linger in the mouth, this wine has pretty good length.

All in all a rather lovely Sunday afternoon.

I'm impressed with the Penley Estate website, it has good detailed descriptions of all the wines and I'll certainly be on the look out for other wines from the Penley Estate.