I don't need many excuses to visit the beautiful Ellenborough Park so when I heard about their inaugural Wine Dinner with Liberty Wines, I knew it would be a fine evening - I just didn't realise how good it would actually be!
We were greeted at reception and shown to the exquisite drawing room which is drenched in beautiful decor, comfy sofas and a harpist who set a very relaxed tone for guests and diners alike. After a short time, and a gin and tonic, we were taken to the Beaufort Dining Room which boasted a large oval table to host this intimate supper. There was no seating plan so it was "sit where you like" and we ended up sitting next to Tim from Ellenborough who told us about all their exciting upcoming events and opposite John Parr, the creator of the Cheltenham Wine Festival and the most wonderfully passionate man about wine you could wish to meet!
Shortly after sitting we were introduced to the hotel Sommelier, Cinthia Montero Howell who in turn introduced us to Wine Maker, Federico Giuntini Antinori Masseti who had created the elegant wines we were about to taste. Once again I was in awe of the passion and was being educated with every word spoken.
The first servings of both food and wine arrived and Cinthia began to tell us what we were tasting followed by Federico telling us why. This happened during every course and each time you listened, learnt, and then experienced exactly what you were meant to experience. The reception sparling wine was a Franciacorta `Alma` Gran Cuvée Brut was followed by the dinner wines - a 2014 Chianti Rufina, 2006 ‘Vigento Bucerchiale’ Chianti Rufina Riserva and 2011 ‘Vigento Bucerchiale’ Chianti Rufina Riserva. These were all matched by some incredible food created by Executive Head Chef David Kelman! We enjoyed Pan Fried King Scallops with a Carrot and Golden Raisin Salsa. Scallops with red wine I hear you say? It worked perfectly and was light enough not to overpower the fish and was just the start of things to come! After a Tian of Creamed Rosary Goat’s Cheese, Apple Celery and Shallots with a Black Onion Seed Cracker we were served one of the most delicious dishes that I had ever been fortunate to taste - Roast Loin of Venison, Orange Braised Chicory, Thyme Rosti Potato, Wild Mushrooms, 70% Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Vinegar Jus. It was truly stunning and paired perfectly to the Chianti. This also involved the surprise of the night as Federico pulled out a 1978 Chianti, one of only 200 bottles ever produced! Not only was this a huge privilege it was absolutely beautiful too. The depth of flavour was like leather and it worked amazingly well with the venison and chocolate sauce.
Dessert swiftly followed which was Carpaccio of Pineapple, Sesame Seed Brittle, Salted Caramel with Cashew Nut Ice Cream and matched with 2009 Vin Santo di Carmignano and once again the mix of flavours was truly immense and rounded off an spectacular evening.
This was in fact the first time that I had experienced wine and food that had been made to match. The difference between this and just picking a random wine over dinner was unbelievable. Ellenborough Park understands this and is becoming a venue where people can enjoy this experience and take advantage of their extensive knowledge of food and wine! A treat that everyone should try at least once!
To find out about future events at Ellenborough Park or to book a table for dinner please visit www.ellenboroughpark.com
Ramblings from The Cotswolds Gentleman.