Sunday, 10 May 2009

An Evening in Leith

Skippers For Dinner

After leaving the Vintners Room it's a short walk to Skippers. It's a small restaurant with a busy feel. We are greeted with a smile and shown to our table. I opt for Red Mullet as a starter and Swordfish Steak in a Parmesan crust as main course. The Muscadet Sur Lie is a nice partner for seafood.

On the wine list is one from La Sablette, Marcel Martin, 2007. It's light fresh lemony with some minerality. It's a food wine rather than drinking it on it's own. But the for the price and the occasion it fits just nicely.

An Evening in Leith

First stop - Vintners Rooms Leith
I had heard about the Vintners Rooms when I first arrived in Edinburgh and have read about it since but, have never had the opportunity to visit. Tucked away beneath one of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's numerous Edinburgh venues it is housed in an old wine merchant's auction room in the Vaults warehouse, a beautiful historic building.

The wine list is extensive with some unusual options from less than £20 per bottle through to the higher end of people's budget. We hop onto one of the high bar stools, joining the people sitting around the impressive zinc bar. The patterned carpets on white walls give it a slightly Moroccan feel. There's a large fireplace at the far end which would certainly be inviting on a winter's night. Background music is played softly, soothing tunes to relax to.

The wine list
There's lots of older vintages on offer. Under Italy, Piemonte Number 345 states:
"Barolo, older vintages available, please ask!" starting price £95.00.

There's a very good selection of half bottles at the back of the list
No. 382 - Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, Tyrells, Pkolbin, Hunter Valley, 2002

The new world is certainly in the minority but it's good to see a Martinborough NZ being represented.

There are many delights on the wine list but we have a table booked at Skippers so by the glass it is.

I opt for - Chenin Blanc, Porter, Mill Station, Swartland, South Africa - pale yellow in colour and served at just the right temperature (not too cold). White fruits, peach & pear. Mouth watering acidity with an added lemony touch on the palate.

My companion opts for - Pinot Biancom Kellerel, Terlan, Alto Adige - pale yellow, quite neutral on the nose as expected and clean and fresh on the palate, length falls a little short.

Next time we'll stay for dinner to sample the dinner menu and a bottle of something interesting, but tonight we have a table booked at Skippers fish restaurant around the corner.

If your looking for a venue for that special occasion, that's elegant, traditional and away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then the Vintners Rooms will fit the bill perfectly.

Pouilly Fume, Prestige des Fines Caillottes, 2006

Although the sun shines the chilled wind rushes down westerly facing streets. It rips the delicate pink and white petals from the spring blossom trees in St Cuthbert's church yard. The homeless man I regularly see on Lothian Road struggles to keep his many rucksacks in check. His matted long beard and hair is lifted and tossed by the invisible force of nature.
An enormous digital screen has been erected in Festival Square. The 24 hour feed from the BBC glaring out the news on a massive scale. It's also to watch sports events on the balmy summer evenings. At each junction cars, pedestrians and cyclists fight for right way. Serious glares are cast at those that venture forward out of turn.
Someone has cleaned the graffiti off the main door of my building, another blank canvas for the street artist, I wonder how long it will stay clean for this time. As I pass along the corridors up to the third floor I hear snippets from my neighbours lives, television, radios, laughter and conversation.
Inside the flat the heating has come on reflecting the chill outside even though we're well in to May now. Monsieur Vin is sitting at his desk in the study, deep in his world of creativity and plotting.
"What's for dinner?" I ask.
"Gnocchi, with a creamy tomato sauce."
I make my way to back of the walk in wardrobe and scan the bottles on offer. I settle on the Pouilly Fume, a birthday present from my boss.

It's pale straw yellow, the glass is covered in tiny bubbles, some legs too. Aromas of white fruits and apricot, a little savoury but not as much as some NZ Sauvignon Blanc's.
Dry, medium/full bodied, it's well balanced and has great length.

A great wine that I could have with or without food.