WSDC Event - Hermitage Dinner

What: Hermitage Dinner Event Sold Out  
When: 15 Nov 18 ,19:00 -22:30
Where: Apothecaries' Hall EC4V 6EJ map
See summary here



Guest Speaker: John Livingstone-Learmonth

My maternal grandmother (1892  - 1970) lived through the privations of two world wars and died of a broken heart. The previously undiagnosed hole in the partition between the two sides of the atrium, the upper chamber, finally caught up with her.  It seems that grandparents and their grandchildren always get along together really well, and I suppose it is because they have an enemy in common.  We got on famously.  I remember one of her oft repeated aphorisms was: “ ’cos a little of what you fancy does you good”; although I am sure she did not mean it in quite the same way as expressed by Marie Lloyd (1870 -1922) the close contemporary music hall star who made the line famous.  She sang those lines with the preposition that “And suppose it makes you fat.  I don’t worry over that, ‘cos...”  The relationship between alcohol carbohydrates and those from conventional food forms such as pasta, pizza, potatoes, pastries, puddings and pies will be discussed in detail in a subsequent newsletter.

Well, it looks as if my grandmother was correct after all.  The Times (June 20th 2018) had on its front page the headline “Get a round in: non-drinkers die earlier.  Light drinkers are less likely to die early than teetotallers….”  Do you need more of a reason to book for the Hermitage Dinner?

Well yes, John Livingstone-Learmonth is probably the greatest English-speaking writer on the Rhône Valley.  He was so enamoured of the hill of Hermitage that it was there he proposed to his wife and even owns vines that go into the making of the fabled Cornas from Vincent Paris.  He will be talking us through the evening wines.  A glimpse of his website at will give you the measure of the man.  A total Rhône enthusiast.  JLL suggested the menu to complement the wines.

The whole of Hermitage at 336 acres is a lot smaller than the combination of Châteaux Margaux (203 acres) and Mouton (198 acres).  But these Rhône wines are some of the best in the world.  I could spend acres of print describing how the Rhône flowing south passes by Côte Rôtie, then past the only single-vineyard appellation in France – Château Grillet, whose wines can be truly outstanding – then Condrieu and St Joseph, before the river takes a turn around the hill of Hermitage and then plunges further south through Cornas, Crozes Hermitages and St Péray before passing nougat heaven – Montélimar  – on its way to the Southern Rhône.

The wines we will be drinking are:

Cockburns White Port as an aperitif with canapes – chilled solo or with tonic, ice and crushed fresh mint.  The dining club on their Porto tour gave this a seven.

Hermitage Blanc, Chevalier de Stérimberg, Jaboulet Aìné 2003          
This is a very powerful, deep wine that you are unlikely to experience again as there is very little left on the planet.  This will be accompanied by pigeon.

Then three reds with a good age and from three top-notch wine makers to accompany the venison:

Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2006

The rise and fall and rise of Paul Jaboulet Aîné with the business being acquired in 2005/6 by Swiss financier Jean Jacque Frey makes intriguing reading.  The 2006 is drinking beautifully at present.

Hermitage, Monier de la Sizeranne, Chapoutier 2006

Another story of family intrigue with one of the brothers, Marc, disappearing to the West Indies in the late 1990s leaving Michel to run the business. Monier de la Sizeranne is the workhorse wine – the equivalent of Hermitage La Chapelle but less famous – and is made from their own grapes from Bessards, Gréffieux and a little Meal, all top plots.

Hermitage, Le Gréal Rouge, M Sorrel 2007
From an amalgam of probably the two greatest Hermitage sites – Gréffiuex and Meal – and crafted by Marc Sorrel from the exceptional 2007 vintage. 

As usual these wines will be double decanted before the dinner.  At a trial – one of the privileges of being on the committee – they were magnificent. 

Despite some criticism of the Dining Club drinking our Port reserves too young – there have been cries of vinfanticide - a 35 year-old Grahams 1983 seems not to be cradle snatching.  ‘83 was a good vintage and Grahams was amongst the best of that year.  Cheese and fruit will accompany.

Tony Wright, Honorary Secretary

Dress Code: Lounge suit

Guests: £185
Members: £175

Forthcoming events:
Wednesday 5 December – Christmas Tasting at the Army & Navy Club
Wednesday 5 June 2019 – Dinner and Club AGM at the Army & Navy Club

Booking Form

Vintages available from The Wine Society:
Half bottle of Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2012
Hermitage Rouge, Gréal, Domaine Sorrel 2012