Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Alto Adige Wine Tasting Dinner at Enoteca Turi

Another fine eating and drinking experience at Enoteca Turi. This time the wines were presented not by Giuseppe Turi but a guest speaker: Tom Harrow from A Moveable Feast. We had the pleasure of him at our table so we not only got the speechy bits but more background as we ate and chatted.

Tastes from Alto Adige Canapes
Muller Thurgau DOC Borgo del Posseri 2006
Carne salata con barbabietole rosse e cren
Salad of salted beef, roasted beetroot, horseradish sauce
Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof DOC Hofstatter 2006
Canederli con speck e crauti
Canederli with speck, home made sourkraut
Teroldego Rotaliano DOC Dorigati 2005
Lagrein Riserva DOC Steinraffler 2001

Filetto di cervo con tre polente, radici di stagione e funghi di bosco
Venison fillet, three polentas (buckwheat, plain, potato) roasted baby root vegetables, mushroom sauce
Barthenau Vigna S Urbano DOC Hofstatter 2002
San Leonardo Vallagarina DOC 1999

Strudel di mele
Apple strudel with cinnamon, pine nuts, raisins, rum
Moscato Rosa DOC Elena Walch 2004
Coffee and fried pastries

My favourites were the Gewurztraminer, a powerful wine at 15% in a sweet Alsace style, and the Vigna S Urbano, which had the lovely strawberry nose of a mature pinot. However when we ate the food the San Leonardo and it swapped places. The SL was a bit chewy on its own but came into its own with the food - very much a food wine. For those who like to know prices they were:

1. Muller Thurgau DOC Borgo dei Posseri 2006 £13.00
2. Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof DOC Hofstatter 2006 £22.50
3. Teroldego Rotaliano DOC Dorigati 2005 £9.50
4. Lagrein Riserva DOC Steinraffler 2001 £22.00
5. Barthenau Vigna S Urbano DOC Hofstatter 2002 £37.00
6. San Leonardo Vallagarina DOC 1999 £37.00
7. Moscato Rosa DOC Elena Walch 2004 (37.5 cl) £20.00

All available, of course, from A Moveable Feast.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jury Service

It has been such a hectic week that I have not had time to write about the jury service. Mary prudently suggests that I do not identify the specific trials nor am I allowed, by law, to discuss the jury's private deliberations.

What I will say is that I sat on two panels: one trial each week and the jury acquitted in both cases.

In the first trial my personal view was that both complainant and defendants were lying but for different reasons. A "not guilty" verdict was not difficult to arrive at.

In the second case I was sure the accused was guilty but based purely on the evidence presented by The Crown we could not be *sure* - tafka "beyond reasonable doubt". In the end it went to a majority verdict based on some good defence work and the poor quality evidence put forward by the prosecution. Bit of an own goal by the police and CPS.

There were various instructive and entertaining aspects to the whole business. One of which was hearing Mi'lud and learned counsel utter the F-word and other demotic English phrases in their best BBC English.

Another item was the little ritual exchange as each police-person gave evidence:
Counsel "Did you make notes?"
Police person "I did."
Counsel "And were those notes made within two hours of the events?"
Police person "They were."
Counsel "And were the events still fresh in your mind when you made those notes?"
Police person "They were."
Counsel "Would you like to consult those notes?"
Police person, turning to the bench "If I may Mi'lud."
Mi'lud "You may"
Counsel "Thank you Mi'lud."

At the end of the evidence the usher swears an oath to conduct us to a "private and convenient place" where we deliberate our verdict. I have to say that in both trials we, as a group, took our responsibility seriously and a good quality discussion, based on the evidence, lead to the verdict.

Wikipedia on: Jury (England and Wales)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Day Meal 2008

Our Valentine's Day meal was at Brian Turner's restaurant in The Millenium Hotel, Mayfair. I reckon it was fair value at 60 quid for all this *and* a glass of champagne and a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

 • Lightly Spiced Oyster, Ginger and Shallot
 • Maple Basted Quail Breast, Mushroom and Hazelnut Risotto Light Chicken Tarragon Cream
 • Warm Lobster and Halibut Dumpling, Wilted Ruby Chard, Caviar Butter
 • Cream of Celeriac Soup, White Onion Tart
 • "Between the Sheets" Sorbet
 • Rack of Kentish Lamb, Creamed Spinach Onion Squash Mash, Vegetable Spaghetti
 • "Chocolate Indulgence" Soft Centred Chocolate Pudding, Milk Chocolate Mousse Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce

The food was excellent. Mind you, as usual, we bumped the bill up a bit with a half of Meursault from Giradin and a bottle of 2001 Chateau Gloria. Then a taxi home; ah the joys of living in Zone 2

Friday, February 15, 2008

Italian Wine Tasting at Charteris Wine Society

More specifically wines from The Wine Society presented by Nicolas Belfrage MW, an Italian wine specialist who helps the Society select their Italian range. We used "The Society's Guide to Italy" written by Nicolas as our agenda working through all 10 wines, two whites then the reds working North to South:

White wines
 • Coffele Soave Classico, 2006
 • Le Giuncare Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva, 2004 (Monte Schiavo)
The North East
 • Boglietti Barbera d'Alba, 2006
 • Pio Cesare Nebbiolo d'Alba, 2004
The North West
 • Hofstatter Pinot Nero Riserva, 2002
 • Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Allegrini, 2001
Central Italy
 • Poggiopiano Chianti Classico, 2004
 • Flaccianello della Pieve, IGT Toscana, Fontodi, 2004
Southern Italy
 • Agliancio del Vulture DOC 'Armand', 2001
 • Brindisi Rosso, Vigna Flaminio, 2004 (Vallone)

Of the whites I preferred the the Soave to the Verdecchio although the latter cost 50% more, and I was not alone there.

Not surprisingly my fave was the Amarone (gobs of fruit to use a Robert Parker-ism) but the Flaccianello, which was a new one on me, was right up there with it. The latter is a Super Tuscan and at GBP 32 and 33 respectively there was a gnats whisker between them in price and quality although the Amarone got my vote. However for that price I could drink four bottles of the Chianti Classico - hmmm, tough call!

Working North to South was a bit unfair on our chosen alternative homeland of Puglia. The last two were perfectly OK drinking wines but at GBP 5.95 the poor old Brindisi Rosso trailed home after the two Tuscans. However I still preferred both of the Southern reds to either the Nebbiolo or the Pinot Nero.

All in all another interesting and educational tasting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sitting on a jury

and playing with my new iPhone. I am just over half way through my (expected to last) two week jury service. I shall write more when it is all over but it has been interesting to see the English legal system in action. Meanwhile this is a test of this new techo-toy's ability to blog.

I should point out that this was written while killing time in the waiting area prior to being called down to court. Of course phones have to be switched off whilst sitting and when you retire to consider your verdict they take your phone off you completely.