Lunch is not for wimps…

I find it difficult to reconcile the musings of 1980s über-yuppie Gordon Gekko, indeed the demise of the lunch break in British working culture is not something that we at Lay & Wheeler are prepared to take lying down. The wine trade offers many wonderful opportunities to enjoy fine food and wine… all in the name of “work”. Indeed, when not discussing anything wine related, there is near obsession with all things food-related and, more often than not, the intimate relationship between the two.

 With such a passion for food and wine in the office, our team lunches are always memorable occasions – every occasion outclasses the last, this time the chefs were Hayley and Ludo and the theme was tapas (with a Gallic twist). A beautifully presented tomato salad gave us the closest taste of summer seen by many since last year, as the dishes were passed around the table we were met with further delights such as Tortilla Española served with aioli, Pollo al Vino blanco and Lomitos Al Cabrales (Pork fillets served in a creamy blue cheese and mushroom sauce) these were matched with both 2008 and 2010 Domaine Servin Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, the former displaying the lean and mineral driven nature of the vintage whilst the latter served to illustrate the fabulous potential of the 2010s at this level. A concentrated palate of ripe apples underscored by delicate notes of white blossom and the merest hint of roasted nuts all wrapped up by a perfectly balanced acid and mineral structure.

It took two of us to carry the large heavy gauge paëlla dish containing Arroz con Pollo “Mama Antonia” to the table. A version of Paëlla from the north of Spain, with pork, chicken, chorizo and paprika which had me coming back for seconds – especially as it gave me the opportunity to charge my glass with some of Pierro Busso’s 2006 Mondino Barbaresco. Showing Nebbiolo’s trademark signs of development – a slight tawny tinge at the rim and a wonderfully perfumed nose of roses and freshly laid tarmac. The balance between fruit and structure was just right – plenty of grip and zing, whilst drinking nicely now this would soften over time to reveal complex earthy, savoury truffle notes.

Those with a sweet tooth were not disappointed by the arrival of a sinfully rich salted caramel and chocolate tart accompanied by Isole e Olena’s 2004 Vin Santo, savoury and sweet both a perfect treat. Now, if only we could adopt the Mediterranean tradition for a post lunch siesta… a subject on which I suspect Gordon Gekko would have strong views too!
Will Hepworth

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