Friday, 18 November 2011

Noella Morantin Mon Cher Gamay '10

"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Someone once said. Tennyson, if the old memoria serves correctly.

I came close to the latter with Noella Morantin's 'Mon Cher' Gamay. On opening this was a particularly ungenerous expression of the grape, with green and bitter tannins, lean fruit, earth and some black pepper. I almost consigned it to the sink.

But no. Noella has a reputation that must be founded on something apart from her excellent bandana. She's got history, having been in the winemaking game since 2004, and rents vinyards from the well established Clos Roche Blanche.

And most of all- she loves Gamay. My kind of lass.

Day 2 and faith is rewarded- much more expressive; liqorice laces and sweet fruit. The tannin has worked its way into the wine, leaving the structure more acid based. Vibrant, sappy, finishing with a surprising and pleasing caramel note to back the fruit. Red in tooth and claw, but still a touch of dark.

And now the bottle's empty.

Best of all, I think, to have loved without loss, but that apparently isn't an option in life or wine.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Abbeville Kitchen

47 Abbeville Road, SW5 9QN. £15 pp.

The quality restaurants are closing in. Each new opening seems closer to me, and all I can do is hope the money runs out before heart disease kicks in.

Most recently: The Abbeville Kitchen, the latest project from those behind the Anchor and Hope and The Canton Arms, has placed itslef so close to where I live that walking there doesn't burn off the calories consumed by merely looking at the menu.

I needed some financial advice of a Friday, and seeing that Emily1 has eschewed the traditional job market in favour of getting 'sponsored' by a middle-aged gentleman she seemed the ideal candidate to get along for lunch.

We kick off with with the charcuterie platter. Quite splendid Iberico ham and not too cold, some other italian ham which was less remarkable and lastly that sublime salami studded with fennel seeds and sliced super-thin, which is currently neck-and-neck with sausage rolls as the best way to consume pork yet invented.

After that we head for pidgeon breast, chicory and pickled walnut salad. A seemingly nonchalant throwing together of strong flavours that all pull in the same direction. Really quite good.

Now for the bad. They have only one (ONE!) type of beer- an overpriced Belgian lager, and a friendly but uninspring wine list which is pretty much a carbon copy of the Canton Arms'. On a Friday lunch the restaurant was full, but every single other table was taken by a pair of 30 something year old women sitting opposite each other, which made Emily1 and I, both wearing sunglasses and so hungover we could barely speak, stand out like Buddha in a brothel.

I'm pleased it is where it is, but it's not The Canton. It's not trying to be. It's a pity.