Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Fine lunch @the elegant Rocpool Reserve, Inverness

Entrance to Rocpool Reserve

Today we met up with two friends that we had met in China to have lunch at the Rocpool Reserve, part of the Albert Roux empire. 

As our friends were delayed by a slow running train from Aberdeen, we went to the bar and ordered a bottle of 2014 Vondeling from South Africa. This is an attractive blend of 50% Chenin Blanc, 24% Chardonnay, 13% Grenache Blanc and 13% Viognier vinified in 500-litre French oak. The 2014 combines good concentration with freshness in the finish. 

We chose a mix of dishes from the set-menu (£32.50 for lunch, £35 for dinner) and from the à la carte. We were impressed throughout by the quality of the dishes. 

 Bar area 
(above and below)

 2014 Vondeling from South Africa 
(above and below) 

First courses: 

 Roux's classic souffle 
– wonderfully light and delicate 

 Long, slow cooked pork 

Smoked mackerel 

Our red: 

2015 Fleurie, Château de Raousset 
a powerful and rich black fruited Fleurie  

Main courses:

Rabbit ballotine 

Assiette of lamb 

Our sweet wine: 

 2011 Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume, 
Domaine des Forges 

This 2011 Chaume half bottle from Domaine des Forges (Stéphane et Séverine Branchereau) was a delight with a lovely balance of rich but delicate fruit with good acidity in the finish. Still youthful this Chaume can last for many years to come.  A clear demonstration as to why 2011 is a very good vintage in the Layon. 

Our two previous wines had been served in entirely appropriate Riedel glasses., so it was very surprising that the restaurant produced small copitas for this wine. I asked instead for the Chianti style Riedel glasses that we had had for our white wine and this was immediately done. 

I hope that producing small copitas for the Chaume was an aberration – I'm sure that Albert Roux would not be happy to see a very fine Loire sweet wine served in such small and inappropriate glasses! 

We finished with coffee sitting out on the terrace in the warm Inverness sunshine. 

Rocpool Reserve is certainly recommended for an indulgent mid-week lunch. The wine list has an interesting range of wines from around the world with a fair number at reasonable prices for a restaurant of this class. It is, however, a pity that the only sparkling wine available is Champagne starting from £87 a bottle. What about listing a more affordable Crémant?  

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