Some time ago I went along to Chapter One in the wilds of Kent to have a Nyetimber paired dinner. That went down so well that when Chapters of Blackheath contacted me to try out their josper grilled steaks, how could I resist.
Chapters is one of only 9 restaurants in the capital to use the famed Josper grill, a combination of grill and bbq. It is manufactured using an insulating material that allows the temperatures to reach up to a 1000 degrees C, phew! This sears the meat and seals in the juices. I wouldn’t want to be that piece of meat. Chapters uses only the best beef: prime USDA, Australian 40 day dry aged Hereford. Black Angus and English hangar steak.
Our meal was paired with a variety of wines but my favourite was the Cedre Heritage 2007 Cahors. All too often people think that malbec comes from Argentina, but au contraire mon ami, it’s original home is the southwestern part of France below and to the right of Bordeaux. In France, malbec is also known as cot and has been produced there since the Middle Ages. As a matter of fact, Cahors was making their ‘black wine’ long before the Bordelais and used to export their product through the region of Bordeaux.
The 2007 Cedre Heritage was a classic malbec, inky black in colour, there’s no way you could mistake this wine for anything but a malbec. On the nose there was plenty of meaty spicy notes, these wines are brawny and savoury, there is no mistaking this for a fru-fru South American malbec – fruit? Bah! Cahors says to that. While having quite good structure, the wine did display black fruits on the palate but these were mixed in with spicebox and licorice flavours. I found the wine went perfectly with the seared meat, working with the juicy steaks to produce a match made in heaven. I found that with the Josper grilled steaks, I needed a wine that would accompany the flavours of the meat as oppposed to trying to beat it into submission with it’s fruitiness.
The other wine that stood out for me was the dessert wine, Deviation from California no less! I haven’t come across many California dessert wines and this one is even from very near my hometown in the Central Valley of CA. What a lovely surprise to be drinking a wine from home in a London restaurant. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal but nothing comes from my part of California! Deviation is produced by the Quady Winery set close to Madera, CA and is a wine with love potion abilities or so the winemaker claims. They add a special Mexican herb called damiana which smells like sweet oregano and was used by the ancient Mexicans as a fertility treatment. It reportedly has aphrodisiac qualities but that remains to be seen. The wine also has rose geranium added for aroma. Made from orange muscat, the wine has an enticing jammy apricot and peach aromas, and dare I say a hint of rose as well. Lush on the palate with plenty more apricot and peach coming on strong. I really enjoyed this wine paired with the josper grilled banana. Heaven! I don’t know about it’s aphrodisiac qualities vis-a-vis people but I was falling in love with this wine.
We were treated to tastes of the summer menu and for a more thorough review of how the josper grill works and the food, which was very tasty, check out my fellow bloggers, Kang (The London Eater) and Carly (Greedy Diva) who were also at the dinner.