Posts Tagged ‘English sparkling’

The Charles Palmer tasting at Siam2Thai, George Street, Hastings

The Charles Palmer tasting at Siam2Thai, George Street, Hastings

For a very long while now I have meant to write a little homage about Chris and Waew’s Siam2Thai Restaurant on George Street in the Old Town, Hastings: http://www.siam2thairestaurant.co.uk

Not only are these two a fabulously hospitable and interesting couple, doing a roaring trade in their Kong River cuisine, but they are interested in wine, and matching it to their food.

I think I have heard it said that they have the best wine list of any of the restaurants in Hastings, and I can well-believe it – certainly in terms of range.

A few months ago we ate there and tried a Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc from Thailand, which was off-dry and very acceptable.

The Monsoon River Chenin Blanc

The Monsoon River Chenin Blanc

Last week we returned for their Charles Palmer tasting event – another Sussex Sparkling which has burst onto the international wine scene with acclaim (for its 2009 vintage) at the 2014 Sommelier Awards; and if I heard correctly, at the Decanter Awards and the International Wine Challenge too.

The Palmer vineyard is  just on the right hand side of the A259 as, coming from Hastings, you start to go down the dip, before climbing the approach to Winchelsea.  The family are farmers by trade and thought they’d just have a go at growing grapes…  What about that for a laid back approach to brilliance?

I might say that we had not expected to be among the glitterati of the Hastings wine scene – the very lovely owners of Penbuckles Delicatessen on the High Street were there; one half of the Essential Wine School; and apologies were given from Phoenix & Plum and Sniff & Spit.  [By George Street, we’ve made it!]

Mason Palmer (who might also be Charles Palmer as well; it is a mystery I have not yet solved) gave the talk on the 2009 and 2010 vintages (as well as a recently thrown together still rosé).  These were utterly terrific wines with fantastic elegance and poise, but as you might expect with low-yield premium sparkling wines, house-remortgage-worthy.

The 2009 was bready but breezy, with body and bling.  The 2010 was lighter and fresher with a more floral (honeysuckle?) nose, delightful small bubbles and (paradoxically) a better match for the food in our opinion.  Perhaps it had that Zing to match Waew’s Kong Toasts…

The rosé was pale – like an Anjou – but whilst it had English terroir bite, it was very soft in the mouth; and full from those Pinot Noir grapes.  The skins had been left lying louchely for a mere 12 hours.  And we all thought that the wine  would grow fatter and brighter in bottle over the coming year.  Perhaps there is a still red on the cards in the future?

All in all, this was a fantastic evening spent with some lovely people.

And if there is another wino event there soon, I’ll race you for tickets.



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Best gardening equipment that I have seen for a while!

Best gardening equipment that I have seen for a while!

Well the elections are done and dusted, and there is nothing left for Liberal Democrats to do but to turn to drink.

Luckily, here in Sussex, we have some of the finest premium sparkling wines in the world on our doorstep, and what better way to hammer a public sector salary than to buy a bottle or two?!

Happily, I am still finding wines that I have not yet tried and there are numerous vineyards that I have not yet visited across our rarefied county.  I am hoping very much that the summer months will allow for a trip or two.

And of course there is always a random, choice find, to brighten the day!

I had been on the road to Hellingly the other morning, taking a little scallywag of mine to the Herstmonceux Observatory, and we decided to stop at Lime Cross Nursery.

Well if you haven’t stopped at Lime Cross Nursery before, let me tell you, you are missing a lovely place to stop.  Take a look: http://www.limecross.co.uk

The plants and garden paraphernalia seem to be of very good order, and there is a little coffee shop which does quite acceptable and reasonable coffee (drink in, or take away), and – would you believe it – there is a table of produce in the middle of the shop which included a wine rack.

[This is my kind of garden accoutrement, I thought.]

There, standing before me, was a clutch of bottles of the local brew – Henners sparkling wine – of Herstmonceux.  And here they are: http://www.hennersvineyard.co.uk

I had no idea that there was a vineyard in Herstmonceux.

And not only did their 2010 vintage have an extremely classy livery, but the wine was delicious too.

I saved my scrappily written notes – ‘blizzard of bubbles; light gold; floral nose; almonds; cut grass; orangey palate; not too gaseous’.

Perhaps I am wrong, but my recollection was that it was high percentage Pinot Noir.

An experience certainly to savour.  Particularly as there was not much change from three tenners.

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