When we asked our Private Client Specialist Luke Colyer to name his two best meals of the last year, he didn’t deliberate. His chosen meals, however, couldn’t have been more different: one a multi-course tasting menu with paired wines at a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Notting Hill, the other a BBQ with friends at his old family home in Sussex. “The perfect meal is about much more than the food,” says Luke. “It’s about the people, the setting, the conversation, and the wine, of course. And the balance between all these things.”
Last Christmas, the Chelsea Vintners team celebrated with a meal at Core by Clare Smyth, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant serving pure, elegant dishes that reflect iconic chef Clare’s Northern Irish heritage. “The moment we stepped inside we knew we were in for a phenomenal experience,” says Luke. His favourite course that night was Core’s signature Charlotte potato, a single stunning spud slow cooked in a marinade of butter and seaweed, then topped with Scottish herring roe and served with beurre blanc.
This was paired with a 2005 Rioja Reserva Blanco ‘Viña Tondonia’, a compelling wine from a ripe, powerful vintage. “The simplicity of the potato, the freshness of the marinade, accentuated perfectly by the wine,” Luke reminisces happily, “That one course alone will stay with me for a lifetime!”
The other meal Luke cherishes from the past year (before lockdown began and we could still take seeing friends and family for granted!) was a birthday BBQ with some of his nearest and dearest in the garden of his parents’ home in Suffolk. “There was a 3-inch tomahawk steak from the local butcher on the griddle. Everyone brought a bottle, and at the end of the meal we opened a case of 1999 Quinta do Vesuvio Port that I’d been given for my 18th birthday.” An excellent birthday indeed!
Fine food and wine, two Michelin stars and a celebration of a good year with colleagues; and a juicy piece of meat, a glass of Port and an intimate evening with old pals. Two very different meals, but both infinitely memorable to Luke. This, after all, is what great food and wine is all about – the opportunity to share special, unforgettable moments with colleagues, friends and loved ones.
As for the rest of us at Chelsea Vintners, we’re all looking forward to brighter, more sociable times ahead and joining together to appreciate more fabulous wine and food!