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dinner at La Potinière

by Tom Cannavan, 1999

These TNs are from a suberb meal at La Potinière (reviewed in my UK restaurants section). This is a two person operation, with Michelin starred chef Hilary Brown in the kitchen and husband David looking after front-of-house. David Brown is a wine lover and world-renowned expert, with one of the finest cellars in the UK and a palate acknowledged by many to be one of the best in the business (including Jancis Robinson in her recent autobiography). Now, usually when I'm out for dinner with friends or family it's me who is tasked with choosing the wine, so what a relief to abdicate the resposibility for once, which I did without hesitation, asking David to choose wines. The only instruction given was that we wanted a dry white for the fish course (fillets of trout in a fennel and vanilla sauce) and a Pinot Noir for the main course (wild duck in a thyme and chantrelle sauce with roasted root vegetables). I was not disappointed.

the wines

Pol Roger White Foil Champagne
On its own and with a sweet red-pepper soup, this is delicious stuff. Very much fruit-driven, quite deep and luscious with hints of apple and raspberry, and steely acidity in the finish.

Domaine Chèze, Condrieu Coteau de Brèze 1994
With the trout. Deep, golden colour. Superb nose of delicate honeysuckle, pear and flowers. Very clean and creamy. On the palate quite full bodied with plenty of sweet, peachy fruit, almost buttery in its richness, but staying very refined and delicate with tremendous balance of soft, but precise acidity in the long, dry and delicious finish. Really very good.

Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Lavières 1992
From a poor year, this is a terrific wine. Deep, glossy ruby colour and enticing nose of smoke, strawberries and a little earthy, truffle note. Palate is very soft and mouthfilling with masses of warm berry fruit and an expansive cloak of velvety tannins. A really ripe, lush style that also has depth and definition. Superb.

Van Loveren (South Africa) Red Muscadel 1993
I suggested maybe a Banyuls to go with a dark chocolate souffle with a liquid chocolate centre. What we got was perfect and suited this light, bitter-chocolate dish perfectly. Quite a deep cherry colour, a sweet and refined nose, not at all grapey or musky, but perfumed with violets and cherries. Medium bodied on the palate but beautifully pure and sweet, with a core of cherry fruit and balanced acidity. Unusual and really delicious stuff.

Highly recommended and what a treat to be served such excellent food and wine in perfect combination.