I had arranged to meet Marco Pierre White at Wheeler of St. James’s on St. James’s Street to discuss pubs, beer and wine. Marco has recently added to his existing portfolio, which includes The Chequers and The King’s Arms in Sussex, with the acquisition of six pub-hotels from the Maypole Group. He has, in addition, developed a new beer with Michael Lee-Jones of Manchester brewer JW Lees called ‘The Governor’.
The Governor is named after Marco’s family’s prize-winning greyhound of the same name and is intended to be enjoyed with food. I started with a selection of hors d’oeuvres and a pint of The Governor. The pale amber ale has a fruity/hoppy nose and palate and a refreshing finish. It paired best with dripping and walnuts on toast and did not pose too much of an alcoholic threat at only 3.4% ABV.
I would have been happy to have had another pint The Governor with my grilled Dover sole à la Salamandre but Marco had ordered a bottle of Nuits-St-Georges, Domaine Fernand Lecheneaut 2005 (£60.00). Vincent and Philippe Lécheneaut use the oldest vines on their 12-hectare estate to make this wine which, combined with the best vintage of the last decade, produces a complex and satisfying wine: ruby red colour; intense nose full of ripe strawberry, sweet spices, coffee and hints of leather; balanced acidity, alcohol and tannins and a long finish.
I often advocate Pinot Noir with white fish dishes but I expect that this wine would have been better paired with the roast rump of lamb Dijonnaise that Marco and his other guests were enjoying; however, I cannot resist Dover sole.
If I had ordered a companion wine to my bread and butter pudding then it would have been Château Suduiraut, Sauternes 1996 which at £16.00 a glass is something of a bargain.
The Governor will be promoted with Captain Smith of The Titanic’s dying words ‘Be British’ and, with the exception of our wine, I left Wheelers feeling that I had done just that.