Wine Tasting at Bovey Castle at Dartmoor National Park.
Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park, www.boveycastle.com, located in Devon, England, goes beyond the ordinary in providing their guests with a remarkable experience. Each evening the hotel offers a Wine Tasting for their guests in the Castle Cellars. John Jardine, the Sommelier, conducts the wine tasting before dinner, to acquaint the guests with the different wines that he has selected to complement the evening’s menu. He selects 2 white wines and 2 red wines for the tasting that would pair well with the evening’s menu. Since he has assembled a wine list of over 250 wines, which he has divided by “style” (aromatic, full-bodied, etc.), it certainly is helpful to have a pre-dinner tasting. For his evening tasting, he likes to select wines that are a bit out of the ordinary. During the wine tasting, he also interspersed interesting stories about Bovey Castle. Built in 1906 as a private residence for Viscount Hambledon, son of W.H. Smith, it was later sold, and made into a hotel, and after a $50 million transformation it opened in April 2004 as Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park. Bovey Castle is also featured in films, and film buffs may remember it from the movie, Hounds of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone. During the war, the hotel was used as a hospital, and the Wine Room where the Tastings are conducted was the Mortuary, talk about the “spirits” room. The Wine Room can also be booked for private dinners. Bovey Castle maintains high standards throughout and their house wine is Louis Jadot, (the Jewel label has Bovey Castle on the label), and their house champagne is Tattinger.
The night of the tasting, John selected an assortment of international wines, a 2003 Soave Classico Superiore, Leonildo Pieropan, Vento, Italy, a 2003 Shaw and Smith Unoaked Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, a 2001 Il Circo Uva di Troia, Randall Grahm, Castel del Monte, Italy and a 1999 St. Auguste, Domaine de Triennes, Vin de Pays, Var, France. After previewing the menu, he selected the 2003 Soave Classico Superiore which he felt would pair very well with the Globe artichoke salad, since the wine was light, dry, refreshing, and crisp without any oakiness, as would the 2003 Shaw and Smith Unoaked Chardonnay that was aged in stainless steel and as such was a sweeter, lighter wine than the usual Chardonnay, and was very aromatic with stone fruit and citrus. He recommended pairing the 2001 Il Circo Uva di Troia, “La Violetta”, which John felt was a really great wine, with the Roast loin of venison, and the 1999 St. Auguste, Domaine de Triennes, which was a mix of cabernet sauvignon and syrah grapes, which was a spicy heavy wine, to pair with the Honey glazed ham carved from the trolley.
John, like most Sommeliers, is passionate about his work, but he is also a bit of a charming character that enchants the guests. John said that when it comes to pairing wine with food, “you need to experiment a bit and then take individual tastes into the equation.” John trained as a chef and said that, “wines were an accident, that he was pushed onto it.” Fortunate for Bovey Castle guests that he did, as he has taken to wines like a duck to water.
Read other articles on Bovey Castle in Destinations, Hotels & Resorts and Chefs’ Recipes.
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