AUTUMN EQUINOX DINNER
£125 pp, inclusive of all courses, wine and service
Wednesday, 27th September
19.00 - 22.00
St. JOHN Maltby
41 Maltby Street
"The moon... replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies while, when she recedes, she empties them" - Pliny the Elder
The Autumn Equinox is a turning point. From that moment of equality until the Winter Solstice, the nights become longer and the days become shorter. Time to embrace the moon, as the winemakers do.
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Our friend Pliny, he who noted the moon's effect on the fullness of fruit as well as the sea, advocated a diet of hare as a means of increasing attractiveness. Though we can't say whether he's right in the latter respect, what better way than a hare feast to celebrate the Autumn and feel closer to the nature that informs the wines. What happens next is none of our concern...
...Except of course the Milleens, hand picked and aged specifically for this occasion by Neal's Yard Dairy. Then Black Hat, the dark-fruited Autumn version of the Summer Pudding. And those wines! There's a rare treat, a Savennières from one of the revered grandfathers of the biodynamic movement Nicolas Joly (and a magnum, no less). A Coteaux du Layon from another hero of the Loire, Jo Pithon. Le Grand Rouge from the hinterland of Mont St. Victoire is made by a winemaker who eschewed the fame of the Californian wine world to find his own place and terroir. But to start, some lovely bubbles from a delightfully self-opinionated winemaker in Limoux... and talking of opinionated, our own Trevor Gulliver will be adding some enlightening background and insights into all of these various and diverse wines and their makers.
Join Trevor and Fergus for this special dinner, raising your glasses to the harvest moon.
George Mason's The Harvest Moon, in Tate Britain
"A good winemaker is a good winemaker", says Trevor. Twenty-plus years ago many of our winemakers would not give themselves the biodynamic label, or call themselves 'natural' either, though they have become that in modern parlance.
Some call it a hippy back-to-the-earth zeitgeist, some claim that it permits the only true expression of terroir. Whichever you believe, these winemakers merely acted on simple truths understood by all good farmers: that looking after the soil is the best start to the evolution of the wine, and that keeping an eye on the lunar calendar is essential. Whether keeping an eye on the astrological calendar is essential too, well, some beg to differ... (but it may interest you to know that the big wine buyers at Tesco and others plan their tastings in accordance to it!)
Let's celebrate those growers and winemakers of ours who tick the biodynamic boxes (although we rarely tell you they do) and, notes Trevor, "still produce good wines". Those of you who have been on the receiving end of Trevor's views on 'natural' wines will understand the emphasis. They are good people and yes - good winemakers. We are delighted that their little patch of mother earth is in their hands.