3rd July 2018
Wine and cheese. So far, not so different. Wine and cheese on a stonkingly warm summer evening in the middle of the football world cup and on the night that England was set to play Columbia – now you’ve got our attention. What on earth happened you say – did any men turn up?
As it happens our chaps are rather partial to a spot of wine and cheese. And our ladies by perfect contrast are rather partial to a spot of football. Who was leading the charge to watch up football at a nearby pub you ask…the ladies of course.
And what a fully-charged evening we all had. It was another sell-out event and a few people cancelling in favour of the footie didn’t faze us, we had a couple on the bench ready to take available ticket positions. Our partygoers were on even kookier form that ever. Balmy nights tend to do that to us and who am I to complain – you’ll never see me happier than in a room full of characters.
Character Numero Uno was quietly charming wine buff host Stuart George, who opened the proceedings wowing us with stories of his fine and rare wine business Vins Extraordinaires’ home – the gorgeous 19th Century Townhouse at 50 Brook Street, dead opposite Claridge’s. He circled back later in the evening with another vintage for a blind tasting of what we all assumed would be table wine but was in fact a rare, and no longer in production, port – Gould Campbell 1994. You didn’t fool us Stuart – we guessed it was port all along, even if we didn’t get that it was 24 years old. Didn’t we, our budding Oz Clarkes!
Extraordinary vineyard owners Tim and Vaughan Pearson turned up to show us what a dream of creating a vineyard in South Africa looks like. A labour of love for them was love in a glass for us. A Sauvignon Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay that tasted more like a Chablis, an oaked Chardonnay, a gorgeous Pinot Noir, and a perfect cheese pairing Syrah. Vaughan was the conveyor of imbibing knowledge and imbibe on that knowledge we did. So full of tips and stories was Vaughan that she held our attention for an inordinately long time, though with well-received pauses for football score up dates. She had us eating, or should we say drinking, out of her hand. Tim was busy pouring wines and imparting his wine knowledge and cheeky tales and their daughter Kim – a Harley Street nutritionist – kept us all chuckling at the entrance to 50 Brook Street as the procession of football lovers hopped back and forth from pub to venue like naughty school kids.
Now we mustn’t forget the Grand Fromage. Stuart Maclennan from Cows & Co talked us through his wonderful project of Scottish cheeses with a twist, each one more delicious than the last. Louise and I fell in love with Nanny McBrie – a gorgeous goats cheese that tastes more like a triple cream sheep’s cheese. I suspect if there was left over cheese on the night Nanny McBrie was not one of them!
The backdrop was Shtager Gallery’s stunning exhibition. Already running the previous week when we stopped into Brook Street to fine-tune details, we asked gallerist Marina Shtager if it could be extended just so all of you cheese, wine and art lovers could experience the whole shebang!
So thank you Vins Extraordinaires, Seven Springs and Cows & Co. There were special packs of discounted wine and cheese on the night – so if you would like to taste for yourselves what we’ve all been enthusing about Follow this link.