It was a balmy summer day as we gathered outside The Yurt at Nicholsons in North Aston for its first wine pairing dinner, this time with Gusbourne.
It’s hard to imagine now as winter beckons, but as Nicholsons prepares to host its next wine dinner on Friday November 25 one can fully expect another similarly impressive evening of food and wine.
Head chef Andrew Carr has been keen to stage pop up dinners at the prestigious garden centre since taking over the reins earlier this year read about it here, which, combined with Gusbourne sommelier Steve Kirkham‘s knowledge, wine and fizz, provided the perfect combo.
We were met by the wonderful Yurt staff bearing canapés and glasses of 2019’s Brut Reserve outside the glamorous safari style restaurant and cafe.
A feast of food and beverages indeed, and a really interesting, educational and informative evening for wine buffs and novices alike
Andrew’s delicate canapé offerings included little mouthfuls of Severn and Wye smoked mackerel parfait with cucumber, avruga, lemon confit and creme fraiche, the girolle mushroom tartlets with aerated Oxford Isis cheese and the coronation Cotswold White chicken arancini croquettes with mango and ginger, all enthusiastically washed down by the exceptional bubbles.
Led inside to the inviting canvased interior where artful lights, plants and Middle-Eastern furniture all give The Yurt it’s distinctive, atmospheric feel, we were seated next to a lovely couple we’d never met, whom we were firm friends with by the end of the evening. (read our Yurt brunch review here (read our Yurt brunch review here)
Gusbourne, for anyone yet to make its acquaintance, are English winemakers based in Kent and Sussex whose vintage wines use grapes exclusively from their own vineyards, winning prestigious national and international industry awards every year.
And we were there to hear all about them as we tucked into one of three mains: the roast day boat halibut, tempura North Sea langoustines, Cornish crab, sea lettuce, tomato and olive oil emulsion and Coc de Paimpol beans (see above).
We also sampled the poached English guinea fowl, confit fennel, ancient grains, cured heritage tomato, crispy skin and basil, alongside the adapted veggie option with North Aston feta, washed down with a hugely moreish cherry garden rose.
An eminently quaffable Gusbourne sparkling rose followed, which cleverly matched the frozen North Aston Dairy cream scented with woodruff, rhubarb, English strawberries, jelly, meringue and foraged nettle syrup.
A feast of food and beverages indeed, and a really interesting, educational and informative evening for wine buffs and novices alike.
Unsurprisingly, a round of applause greeted Andrew Carr when he emerged from the kitchens at the end of the night.
If sounds right up your street, The Yurt is hosting A Winter Supper with English Wines on Friday November 25 where carefully curated wines (all served at The Yurt) will be paired with four incredible courses for £70 per person.
Think whipped North Aston Organics celeriac with curry oil, Forge House Bakery sourdough with cultured butter from North Aston Dairy, and revisit Gusbourne’s Sparkling Rosé.
Then enjoy a starter of twice baked Montgomery cheddar cheese soufflé, pickled red onion, chicory, watercress and Jerusalem artichoke or smoked haddock and leek croquette, soft boiled quail egg, Cornish crab, potato and coarse grain mustard velouté, spinach and parsley emulsion. An Albarino white wine, Discovery Series, from Chapel Down in Kent will kick off the wine tastings.
For mains enjoy a wild venison wellington, beetroot, cavolo nero, celeriac, girolle mushroom, blackberries and a Pinot Noir sauce (or vegetarian beetroot wellington) accompanied by a Pinot Noir from Bolney Estate, Sussex.
Then move onto a dark chocolate crémeaux with chestnut sorbet and gianduja paired with The Yurt’s homemade foraged hedgerow berry and English plum schnapps.
To book tickets go to https://ticketpass.org/event/EWJKKP/a-winter-supper-with-english-wines
To find out more about The Yurt at Nicholsons in North Aston, its festive menus and environmental ethos go to https://www.nicholsonsgb.com/yurt/