London Branch held a celebration Dinner at Tredwells – its website by-line: “relaxed contemporary dining restaurant in Covent Garden” – to celebrate New Year, an excuse to lighten up what can often be a drab two or three weeks following Christmas. We had the mezzanine floor to ourselves, seated at two long tables. London Branch members and guests were pleased to be joined by some members of the Europe and Africa Zone Committee.
Tredwells is a restaurant in the Marcus Wareing group, which was winner of AA’s London Restaurant of the Year back in 2015, shortly after it opened. Its chef patron and head chef is Chantelle Nicholson, originally a law graduate from New Zealand. (She also continues in her role as group operations director for Marcus Wareing restaurants.) Her style of cuisine has been described as ‘clean and unfussy’.
All the dishes of the set four-course menu had interesting combinations of flavours, were well presented and matched with appropriate wines.
At the reception we drank Réserve de Gassac, Pays de l’Hérault 2017, from the celebrated estate of Mas de Daumas Gassac. It is light in style, with a good balance between acidity and fruit, with aromas of apricots and pears showing the dominance of Viognier in the blend. We continued with this wine for the first course of confit duck ravioli, Nduja, cashew and relish – a delicious blend of flavours.
The second course was Scottish scallop, roast chicken, truffle, tarragon, accompanied by Domaine de Ménard, Côtes de Gascogne, Cuvée Marine, 2016, a blend of Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng.
This was an aromatic dry, fresh wine. Aromas of lychee and grapefruit, and hints of grapefruit and pineapple flavours were detectable, the fruit being balanced well with clean acidity.
The terroir is a marine geological site, with vast numbers of shellfish fossils. This adds a refreshing minerality to the fruit aromas and flavours, so that it was most suitable for the scallops.
Our only red wine of the evening was served, in rather more restricted amounts than the whites, with the main course of Iberico Secreto pork, Jerusalem artichoke, baby gem, egg yolk, with a selection of side dishes, including truffled macaroni cheese, grilled broccoli with almond butter and capers, and garden salad.
This wine, Dionisos Bodega de Las Estrellas, Tempranillo, 2016, is from a family-owned estate in Valdepeñas, Castilla la Mancha, Spain, renowned for pioneering biodynamic and organic farming. The interesting website explains the philosophy and methods http://labodegadelasestrellas.com/en/. They use a calendar of “astronomical phenomenology” from lunar rhythms of the sun. moon and constellations, to establish the best days for the different tasks in the vineyard and winery.
The wines are made with hand-harvested grapes fermented with their own wild yeasts in large amphorae a,nd matured in clay amphorae.
The wine was a deep purple, and its aromas were of sweet red berry fruit. It tasted fruity, soft yet with good acidity.