Judging by "share of wallet", Forbury's must be pretty good. I only discovered it last year, even though it's been around for 9 years and have since been several times with different people. This most recent trip, accompanied by fellow hedonists, was a great opportunity to abandon all pretenses of adhering to the daily recommended alcohol limit and climb into one of the AA's Notable Wine Lists...
Being the group's appointed "wine expert" it fell to me to match our very varied meals. The starters: Gruyere Gougere (a kind of choux bun like concoction with cheese and mushrooms), Scallops with curry and mango, and a Ham Hock and Foie Gras Terrine with brioche toast and salted caramel apples. And you want me to match one wine with all of that?! Oh, and make sure it also goes with the lady's lemon sole as the rest of us move onto red meat and red wine? Crikey that's a challenge!
There was a hint of sweetness in this dry wine which helped the foie gras and scallops, the zingy acidity refreshed the cheese palate, and the flavours of citrus, pear and minerality lingered after the last drop had been tasted. Alsace does it again!
When one of the guests thinks we should order a second bottle of the red even though we've almost finished our mains, I know that a) I chose well, and b) cheese is going to be ordered. Sadly for us and for you, we had the last bottle of the 2004. We were offered a 2007 but decided not to risk it being a little less mature and thus less exciting so we switched to the New World for something completely different.
Happily for you, Slurp Wines have still got the 2004 in stock. It is a little pricier than our usual recommendations at £16.55 a bottle, but if you're making a hefty red meat dish, then you would delight your friends if you paired it with this.
The wine is a collaboration between renowned winemaker Geoff Merrill and two cricketers: Ian Botham and Bob Willis. For the full story, you can have a look at the youtube clip below.... It's a guest on the wine list at the moment, but you can buy it retail from www.christopherpiperwines.co.uk for under £16. Some other retailers are selling it at nearer £18. You don't have to be a cricket fan to love it.
There is such a lot of lovely choice available though, and my most usual dessert choice here is the mini dessert selection with any coffee. Five mini desserts satisfies any person who finds choosing just one pudding difficult!
In the end, we couldn't help ourselves and giant Tatins were ordered, served with vanilla ice cream and a rather large pot of the decadent sauce.
To pair with this, I stuck to the New World, and went full circle, coming back to a Riesling, but this time a Noble Late Harvest version from New Zealand. It was full of the citrus, honey, apricot that you'd expect in such a wine, still with good acidity to cut through all that sweetness, and matched perfectly, if I say so myself.
The Balvenie serve was also a nice treat for the gents, emulating the tasting method the master blenders use in the distillery. And the flaming Baron Samdi (rum, ginger beer, honey, cinnamon and more burning rum in lime) was great for attracting attention to the drunks. I probably don't need to tell you that the day after was a rather subdued affair, but it was all worth it.
Have a lunch out in Reading some time. It's not just Nando's!
For the full list of Cerise cocktails see http://www.theforburyhotel.co.uk/brochures/cocktail%20of%20the%20month%20feburary%202013.pdf