8.32am, Monday 27th September, The Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland , UK
I want to quickly whiz down to completely the other end of the United Kingdom – to another coastal city – Portsmouth. This was the only stop on the Southern Roadtrip for the Lady Crowther and myself last week. We have set up an excellent working relationship with Jose, David & Karen at Camber Wines – which you’ll find in the Historic Docks of Portsmouth, on The Camber – behind the fish market, near where the Isle of Wight Ferry pulls in. They’ll be in the 400 year old pub that they have re named the Abar Bistro, and their tasting room and wine shop is upstairs – with a top view of everything I have described above – pretty much Portsmouth as a working harbour. We had a two job mission on the day – lunch with Cambers good customers, some of the more interesting blokes that we’ve ever sat down with (lets just call them naval aviators for now) and then dinner with 40 of Camber’s customers in the bistro downstairs. Now you can’t buy these sorts of setups – I am convinced that like minded folks ‘find’ each other in the end, which is what has happened with Yalumba and our ‘fortress for Portsmouth’ Camber Wines.
Let me quickly go through the food and wine matches for you, as the menu was the same for both :
Scallops and Pea Puree with the 2009 Pewsey Vale Riesling – still continues to surprise folks that riesling from our world is bone dry, citrus driven and explosive – which is spot on for the big fat fresh scallops from the local fishmonger.
Poussin Stuffed with Pork, Rosemary & Garlic with the 2006 The Cigar Coonawarra Cabernet – one of Abar’s signature dishes with definitely the wine of the day. This Cabernet can’t help itself. Jumps out of the glass and leaves red black and blue berry footprints wherever it goes!
Vignotte cheese with 2004 The Octavius – such great cheeses the length of this realm! and we have just the big solid elegant three dimensional shiraz to go with them.
Raspberry Panna Cotta with 2007 Botrytis Viognier. Now folks – here is where the goot rot has set in and won bagfuls of hearts and palates. I keep labouring the point that just when the aromatics seem to gain too much luscious honey and apricot momentum, the grapefruit citrus palate kicks in and brings it all home. Not a crumb left on a plate nor a drop left in the glass. That says ‘another great combo’ to me.
So you get the picture!! And speaking of pictures – I put one in of my travelling companion surrounded by England’s finest naval aviators – the nation is in safe hands folks.And speaking of safe hands – that’s definitely where we are with Camber and Jose, David & Karen , their kitchen and floor staff, and their Portsmouth clan of customers. Thanks a huge amount for a great day and night in Portsmouth – and you can bet your boots that we’ll be back next year to do it all again. See ya when the foghorns are blaring, and the Isle of Wight Ferry is pulling in!!