A beautiful summer’s evening and we found ourselves driving up the long, beech-lined sweeping driveway to Luton Hoo Hotel and Spa for a ‘Gourmet Wine Tasting Dinner’. Taking place within the main Mansion House, in a private dining room just off the opulently decorated Versailles-like Wernher Restaurant.
Greeted with a glass of Warden Abbey Brut 2014, (fresh and vibrant with a mix of citrus fruits this is definitely one to put on my shopping list) – We then headed outside to admire the spectacular views, enjoy the evening sunshine and indulge in some of the delicious canapés whilst we waited for the other guests to arrive, One of the main guests was Derek Smedley, (our host for the evening) a Master Wine Consultant from Warden Abbey Vineyard.
All too soon it was time to retreat inside and find our place at the table for the gourmet dining to begin. Derek gave us a little background on Warden Abbey Vineyard and the wines we were going to be drinking – Did you know they have 500 vineyards and 300 wineries?
Starting with Grilled lemon sole fillets, sea kale, langoustines, and shellfish veloute the wine paired with this was another one from Warden Abbey, a Bacchus 2015, food was beautifully presented, the fish was so fresh it was a delight to the tastebuds, add to that the floral, fresh citrusy flavours of the wine on the palate, I couldn’t wait for each mouthful.
Guinea fowl ballotine, potato gnocchi, oyster mushroom, spring peas and broad beans with Madeira jus followed. An explosion of flavours that were divine, accompanied this time with a red wine from The Bolney Estate in West Sussex – Lychgate Red 2014 – This medium bodied wine with its juicy plum and berry flavours, was the ideal accompaniment for the flavorsome Guinea Fowl.
Throughout the evening, Derek kept us engrossed with his stories and knowledge. The final course was a selection of British cheeses, these included Rosary ash goat’s cheese, Cornish yarg, and Somerset brie, along with crackers, chutney and grapes – A white Pinot Noir from The Albourne Estate in Sussex graced our palettes, made from red Pinot Noir grapes hand picked and whole-bunch pressed so that the juice bears only a hint of colour. The excellent ripeness levels of the grapes lead to a really lovely wine – clean, fresh, and vibrant, with notable red fruit aroma. Something a bit different – and was an excellent choice to pair with the cheeses.
It was nearly time for this delightful, knowledgeable, evening to come to an end but not before the coffee and delicate petit fours (that are made exclusively for Luton Hoo) were served. And as with the rest of the evening they were faultless.
This evening is a must whether you are a wine connoisseur or not, the knowledge from the Wine expert is interesting and informative, the food is divine in taste and presentation and the wines are paired with the dishes so perfectly the tastebuds experience a real treat.
Service and attention to detail is excellent, add to that the stunning surroundings of Luton Hoo and you have the perfect evening of food, drink and luxury.
The next Gourmet Wine Tasting Dinner is on Thursday 14th September and priced at £85pp, and Thursday 9th November – visit the website for further details.
Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa