Wednesday, 25 May 2016

D&D London (The Makers of Angelica and Crafthouse) Launch New Wine Collection

D&D are the owners of both Angelica and Crafthouse which sit in Trinity Leeds and in addition to this they also own a fair few restaurants and bars in London (hence the name). They market themselves as a more upmarket bar and restaurant with the food somewhere inbetween fine and casual dining.

As with many large restaurants and restaurant groups they have a sommelier or two or three... their job is to pick and chose the wines to serve in the restaurants and bars (I'm probably teaching a few of you how to suck eggs but bear with me). D&D's sommeliers have gone a little further and were sent away to vineyards in France to create a special 'D&D Blend'. After much testing, arguing, disagreeing, feedback from the wineries they finally settled on one white and one red.

Les Trois Bises (white) and Les Gamins (red) are now available to drink in their restaurants and buy online. My job (along with others) on the night was to try the wine and see how it paired with the food in Crafthouse (and get very drunk in the process).

The first to be served was the white, a light delicate wine it was refreshing to finally taste a nice white after many months of always choosing the 'wrong' bottle/glass (or if it's The Fox in Roundhay there simply being no nice wines at all on the menu).

The white was paired with 'the egg with no egg' and 'charcoal salmon' the first of our two starters.

The Egg with No Egg

The Egg with No Egg was made using baked heritage carrots, truffled potato, saffron and burnt butter. It was delicious. It was small. I finished it before everyone else and then I felt quite embarrassed. Note to self: be more delicate and lady-like in future rather than hoovering up your food. The wine paired excellently.

The second starter of Charcoal Salmon was served with burnt onion, fermented corn and wild flowers. It doesn't sound overly appetising but even a non-salmon lover like me enjoyed it (it's the texture I can't handle). Once again the wine paired perfectly.

Charcoal Salmon

The red was served to suit our main course of Roast Fillet of Orkney Beef New Rossini. The beef was served with pomme berry, spring truffle, seared foie gras, brioche and spinach puree. Although there seemed to be some differences in opinion about the beef across the table it was certainly impressive to look at. Although the red was slightly lighter than what I would normally chose myself I loved it and it served a reminder to me to drift away from favourites now and again. We had a few 'non-red wine' drinkers on my end of the table (I know who knew they existed! Jokes) and they too enjoyed the red adding that it is usually the full bodiness of red wine which stirs them towards white.

Roast Fillet of Orkney Beef New Rossini

A palate cleanser of iced beetroot and apple was served between courses, incredibly refreshing it went down a treat. The icy nature of the beetroot brought out its sweetness but left in a slight earthiness which when paired with a tart apple balanced out brilliantly. I think all meals should come with a free palate cleanser!

Beetroot and Apple

Our final course was a 'Symphony' of Vairhona Chocolate made by Stefan Rose who recently appeared on GBBO Creme de la Creme (unfortunately they were knocked out in the semi finals but I won't hold it against the dessert). The dessert was certainly impressive to look out which printed chocolate coins, music notes decorating the plate and a chocolate brick on top of the brownie which appeared hard but only had a slight hard outer casing which you cracked through to reveal the smoothest of mousses. I'd heard a few say that the dessert was too large for their appetites but I had no issues in inhaling it all.

Although this too went well with the red we were also given a small glass of port, 10 year old Tawny Port (Otimas, Warre's) to be specific. I'm still not sold on port, I can drink a slight of it at Christmas and this probably what it will always remind me of. I was more than happy to finish the red and accompany this instead with my dessert. 

D&D London's specially selected wines are now available in their restaurants and to buy online. In their restaurants expect to pay £25 for a carafe and £35 for the bottle, online it's much cheaper at £15 per bottle. The sommelier on the night told us their plans for a wine club which they hope to set up via the website, admitting they couldn't compete with the likes of Virgin and Naked Wines but instead wanted to offer a more tailored experience where they hope to gain feedback on the wines they deliver to the customers and then match future wines to the customers palate. I hope they manage to kick this off soon as I'd definitely be interested in giving it a go.

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