It’s ever so gently turning into Autumn. Ever so gently with these sunny September days, the only real reminder being the cooler nights and simply stunning misty mornings. It’s the perfect time to explore restaurants, with gas costing more than a Land Rover on lease, what better time to make the most of someone else’s?
I hadn’t done much exploring in Richmond before, and with my chosen plus one for the evening, the one and only Gareth Birchley, explore we did. Did you know Richmond has cows? It also has deer and plentiful grass and far bigger trees than you see in the pathetic excuse of the countryside I live in. I couldn’t believe it! What a sheltered life I’ve lived seeing as the deer have been knocking about since 1637. The park is a whopping 2,500 acres and for comparison, Burghley Park back in Stamford which we thought was good, is a measly 1482 acres, including the golf course. Richmond also has all the sexiness of being alongside the river too, it’s got the full package.
Gareth and I wandered, fairly briskly, from Richmond station to the Dysart, it took us around 15 minutes in total. The frontage of this incredible venue looks a little like someone’s very pretty Tudor home, so don’t fret that you’re lost if you’re travelling via car or taxi. We were welcomed into the personable space by the Managing Director, Barny Taylor, a man who was born to be in hospitality. What was instantly refreshing was the space between the tables, it was intimate without the worry of other diners hearing the best wine gossip in town. We sat down to what was to be a Nyetimber dinner, one of the best events I’ve been to in 2022. We were taken through the collection, starting with the Classic Cuvee alongside the most addictive homemade sourdough focaccia. I describe myself as ‘not really a bread person’ as I find it can be filling and potentially intervene with something tastier in the future, but when bread is good it’s not really filling at all. We settled into a six-course tasting menu and I can only ask you to believe me when I say every course was not only exceptionally created but it paired so well with the wine. The Head Chef is Kenneth Culhane and his creations are a fantastic combination of classical and Japanese cuisine, perhaps because of Culhane’s experience working for Chef Tetsuya Wakuda over in Sydney, a restaurant which has been listed in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
One of the many highlights was the Devon chicken with parmesan, cauliflower and almond and a jus gras. This was paired with the Nyetimber 1086 Rosé Prestige Cuvée 2010 vintage. The crispy salty savoury chicken flavours were just so beautiful alongside this very serious English wine. The fact we have a Prestige wine in the UK is phenomenally exciting, it is a little bit of a privilege to not only taste a wine of this calibre, but it’s also a privilege to be in the position to be able to make it. The complexity and depth of this wine is down to almost a decade of aging, something which financially, not every English vineyard will be able to do. Nyetimber have always been at the forefront of English wine to take such risks though and I believe in doing so, they up the game for English wines as a whole. The blend is 45% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir and 11% Pinot Meunier and ‘Prestige’ means that this wine is made from a selection of the best wines and only in the best years.
By the end of the evening, once Gareth and I had put the (wine) world to rights, we were treated to a final treat of Petit Fours which for me, really shows that you’re somewhere special. Thankfully The Dysart will be hosting more events so that you can be part of the fun too, the next is just around the corner and will be incredible: La Rioja Alta S.A Wine Dinner on the 6th October, visit their website to book.