“So, are you familiar with Burgundy?”
Normally, I would answer, ‘yes’. I think it suits my complexion quite nicely, so much so I’ve just bought a coat in that colour. But normally, I wouldn’t be standing in the beautiful dining room of 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen on Fetter Lane with a lot of people who are very familiar with Burgundy, as in the region of France and the wine… not the colour. So I played it safe, and stuck with a sheepish ‘not really’ and reached out for another salt cod canapé.
I like to consider myself a wine enthusiast. I’m very enthusiastic about drinking it and learning about it (especially after my trip to Bordeaux) but the people in this room were the true enthusiasts and connoisseurs, they actually knew a thing or two about the tipple. We had only been served the first wine of the evening, a glass of Chablis, Le Basde Chapelot, Vocoret 2013 and the room was already abuzz with excitement. There were still three more Burgundy wines to come, each paired with a dish, and all punctuated with expert food and wine commentary… Bottoms up!
We settled into our seats and got an introduction to the region, history and style of wine from Burgundy expert Adam Bruntlett and 28°-50°’s Group Sommelier Clement Robert. At each course, the pair also introduced the wine and the dish the chefs had created to pair with it. That’s right, the food was paired to the wine, not the other way round which is what most of us might be used to. Clement confirmed that they had chosen all the wines first and then thought about the dishes. As a foodcentric person, I thought it was rather novel, but it made perfect sense to the more winecentric folk in the room!
The first wine was a Puligny Montrachet, Chateau de Puligny Montrachet, Etrienne de Montille 2009 paired with a delicate dish of Scottish scallops, salsify, horseradish and golden raisins. I must admit, I was a little nervous after the first sip… it’s a Chardonnay, and I famously avoid those but in these situations, it’s best to trust the experts. It was complex but went perfectly with the beautifully seared scallops in that rich, creamy sauce.
Next we were served a glass of the Gevrey Chamberlain, O. Bernstein 2011; a classic Pinot Noir and exactly what I conjure up when someone mentions a Burgundy red. I am partial to a cheeky Pinot, having practised extensively with the Otago varieties, so had absolutely no reservations when this was served. I was very excited to find it paired with a dish of anjou pigeon, celeriac, mirabelle, and girolles as I love game meat. The succulent breast was blushing, and the balance of richness and sweetness was perfectly balanced.
Our final wine of the evening was a Morgon Javernieres, L.C Desvignes 2012 which I thoroughly enjoyed; it was rich, fruity and would have been the perfect accomplice to a decadent chocolate dessert perhaps? However, the team at 28°-50° had other plans, and paired it with what was essentially a goat’s cheese salad of Sainte-Maurede Touraine, pickled beets, grapes, and chocolate. I liked the combination, and would have happily eaten it as a starter… this was not how I envisaged ending the meal. I’m a sweet tooth and will always, always choose a sweet dessert over cheese!
Controversial dessert pairing aside, the evening was a hit with a certain someone and I. Our glasses were constantly being topped up, the food was elegant and delicious, and my Burgundy knowledge has now extended past the colour! We did wake up the next day with some slightly sore heads, but I think it was very much worth every sip!
Thanks to 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen for the Burgundy wine education and a copy of Jasper Morris’ Inside Burgundy, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
Tickets for the wine dinners are £85 which feels steep but believe me when I say they are generous with the wine, keep your eyes peeled on their website for future events.