Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

Natural Wine at Caroline’s Fine Wine

NATURAL WINE TASTING will be held at Caroline’s Fine Wines, Strand Street, Cape Town, on Wednesday, 21st January from 5pm to 8pm.  To find out more about natural wine, Click here for details.  There will be thirteen French wines – Domaine Foillard ( Beaujolais ), Morgon & Fleurie, Dom Breton Vouvray & Chinon, Thierry Germain Saumur Blanc et Rouge, Rene Moss Anjou ( Chenin ), Pierre Gerbais Champagne, Herve Souhaut ( Rhone ) Gamay & Syrah.

Maddox ploughing vineyardsElgin Ridge is proud to be part of the Natural Wine Tasting, standing  by side with these great wines. We are the only certified organic farm in Elgin and farm using traditional methods.

Doug Wregg, will say a few words at 6pm. Doug is the sales and marketing director at Les Cave de Pyrene, a company specialising in artisan, organic, and biodynamic natural wines, in the UK.

Les Cave de Pyrene also own several natural wine bars in London. Doug is sometimes an outspoken advocate of the more natural approach to winemaking, and is co-founder and co-organiser of, The Real Wine Fair, London’s most prominent annual natural wine festival.  Doug writes regular blogs and columns for various food and wine magazines  in the UK, and is considered an expert, and leading proponent, in the Philosophy of making wines in the most natural and environmentally-sustainable way.

Tickets cost R250 per person, which can be booked directly by e-mailing Sasha on carowine@mweb.co.za or click here for a booking form. ( Booking essential and numbers strictly limited ). It’s a walk-around tasting, so you can arrive when you want, but last entry is at 6.30pm

Fiona Beckett – getting to know South Africa

Fiona Beckett’s weekly Guardian article features Elgin Ridge Wines

Fiona Beckett Elgin Ridge

Fiona writes

Fiona Beckett writes, Imagine for a moment describing all French wine as “French wine”.  It wouldn’t begin to give you a sense of the diversity of what the country has to offer, or where to go for the best example of a particular type – Burgundy for chardonnay and pinot noir, for instance. Yet there’s still a tendency to refer to wines from “new world” countries as South African, Argentinian and Chilean, as if there were no regional differences.

Granted, at the most basic level there aren’t – wines will be sourced from whatever fruit is available at a particular price point – but spend a bit more on a bottle and you will be rewarded by the best of what the country has to offer. In South Africa, for example, it pays to be aware of which regions do what well: Constantia, Darling and Elgin are the key areas for sauvignon blanc, Hemel-en-Aarde for chardonnay and pinot, Stellenbosch for attractively supple, bordeaux-style reds, and the Swartland – South Africa’s “wild west” – for syrah and chenin blanc.

Elgin is, I think, currently the most exciting or, as one winemaker put it, “the coolest area in South Africa, and not just climate-wise”. To begin with, its sauvignons seemed like a crude attempt to ape the New Zealand style, with too much asparagus and green pea character. Now, though, producers are more self-confident, letting grapes ripen longer and picking later to get more complexity. Wines such as the organic Elgin Ridge 282 sauvignon blanc (£12.50, at www.winedirect.co.uk £12.99, 14% abv), which I ordered recently in a restaurant, have real elegance and finesse, and cost no more than a supermarket sancerre.

The best-known name in the region is Paul Cluver, who also makes a good, if slightly less refined sauvignon blanc under the Ferricrete label (£11.99, Marks & Spencer; 13.5% abv) and, in the same range, a pretty, floral, off-dry riesling (£12.99, M&S; 10.5% abv) which works particularly well with Asian-style salads and noodle dishes. (Marks & Sparks also has Cluver’s luscious, late-harvest riesling at £14.99.)

I also discovered a gorgeously creamy, burgundy-style chardonnay, the Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2012(14% abv), which is made by an English-born master of wine, Richard Kershaw – it’s a bargain at £18.99 if you’re a Naked Wines “angel”, £31.99 to the rest of us. Unusually for Naked Wines, it is worth the full amount, but I do find the talk of “wholesale” prices misleading – check on wine-searcher.com, as the wine may be cheaper elsewhere.

Fiona Beckett

To read more of Fiona’s articles go to

http://gu.com/p/3zjf4/tf 

Competition Closed and we have Lucky Winners

When will Ruby have her calf
When will Ruby have her calf

Our competition is easy; guess what date Ruby, our treasured Dexter cow, will have her calf and also guess if it will be a boy or a girl, to win a case of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc.

If you guess the date correctly but get the boy or girl wrong; you will win 3 bottles of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

If you guess it is a girl or boy correctly; but get the date wrong, you will win 3 bottles of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc.

Ruby is expected to have her calf between now and the 6th January 2014, so don’t take too long to decide or you may miss winning a case of our Organic Sauvignon Blanc

Competition winners need to be over 18 years and live in South Africa or the United Kingdom. Sorry rest of the world, our wine will be available in your country soon.

Christian Eedes tastes our Sauvignon Blanc

Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2012An organic sauvignon with a certain Je ne sais quoi is how Christian Eedes describes our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc

The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from Elgin Ridge retains the winning quirkiness while simultaneously losing some of the rough edges of previous vintages.

No exaggerated aromatics but Golden Delicious apples, green melon and an intriguing hint of spice on the palate.

Total acidity is 6.7g/l but you’d never guess – nine months on the lees adds plenty of texture without the wine becoming unduly heavy.

Owners Brian and Marion Smith set out to be organic since acquiring the small property in 2007 and acquired official certification in October 2011. “I’m pleased we’re avoiding the green, acidic style of Sauvignon. I agree with you about that quirkiness but I’m not sure where it comes from,” says Brian. My guess is that this is another instance where organically grown grapes are contributing to a wine that isn’t same old, same old.

Read more about Christian Eedes at www.whatidranklastnight.co.za

Score: 88/100.

Elgin is cool by Jamie Goode

Elgin Ridge VinesElgin is cool—both in terms of the wines it is producing, and also in its temperature. While South Africa has quite a few wine regions, it only has a few that are cool enough to be able to grow fussy cooler-climate varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir well, and Elgin is one of them. This is one of the reasons why there is such a buzz about this relatively new region.

In terms of South Africa’s wine region classification system, Elgin is currently a ‘ward’, but is likely to soon become a wine ‘district’. And of the country’s wine regions, it’s the only one with natural boundaries – in this case, three mountain ranges and the sea. Geographically speaking, Elgin is a bowl surrounded by mountains, with the valley floor at 300 m, and the highest vineyards are 900 m. If harvest date is used as a measure of climate, this is the coolest wine region in South Africa.

Elgin is famous for its orchards, and apples are still the main crop here, with 60% of South Africa’s apples coming from the region. The first orchards were planted in Elgin by Sir Antonie Viljoen in the early years of the 20th century, on his enormous Oak Valley estate. Viljoen was also the first to plant vineyards here. However, wine production stopped in the 1940s, and it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that vines were to return to Elgin.

The modern era of Elgin wine began in 1985, with the planting of an experimental vineyard at Oak Valley. The following year, the first commercial vineyards were planted by Paul Cluver, and the first wine released from the region was the 1990 Paul Cluver Riesling.

‘It’s amazing how this valley has developed over the last 10 years,’ says Paul Cluver Jr. ‘When interest in South African wines exploded in the 1990s, various players began to recognize the potential of the valley,’ says Cluver. ‘All these big names from traditional wine growing areas began investing in this valley,’ he says, naming Thelema, Tokara, Rust en Vrede, Vergelegen, Simonsig and Nederberg. ‘The average age of an Elgin brand today is 3 years.’

Cluver is one of South Africa’s few Riesling specialists, making three different styles: dry, ‘kabinett’ and noble late harvest. There are fewer than 200 hectares of Riesling in the whole country, though. ‘We almost pulled Riesling out,’ says Cluver. ‘It was hard to sell in South Africa.’ As well as exceptional Riesling, Cluver are also making superb Sauvignon Blanc and an impressive Gewürztraminer. For reds, the focus is on Pinot Noir, although it wasn’t always. ‘We had a dream of producing a Bordeaux blend from our property,’ says Cluver. ‘Paul Pontallier visited and at the end of the tasting he said that the red wine is the Pinot Noir, and so this changed our focus, back in 2002.’

Another Elgin pioneer is Andrew Gunn, whose property is Iona. In 1997, having made his money from a medical suture company, Gunn bought a run-down apple farm in the Elgin region. Now it’s one of South Africa’s leading producers of Sauvignon Blanc, although 15 hectares of apple trees still remain alongside the vineyards. It’s at an altitude of 420 metres, with a view of the sea, which is just 3 km away.

Gunn didn’t plant blind; he knew what he was doing in selecting this site. Initially, he put temperature loggers around the farm, and found that the climate here was significantly cooler than expected over the three months that the loggers were recording data. He was able to compare his farm data with those from the Elgin weather station. Because there was a consistent relationship over his three month trial, he was then able to extrapolate his data out over the whole growing season. The exciting results showed that this site was cooler than equivalent places in Europe where Sauvignon Blanc was grown. If the grapes could ripen, then the results could be quite exciting. Peak summer temperatures here are usually 24–25 °C, and if they experience three days over 30 °C, then it’s unusual.

Gunn’s uncle was a professor of geomorphology, and he came out in 1997 to do a survey of the site. It showed that the farm had post-glacial alluvial soils: it was an old river valley. The first harvest was in 2001: by South African standards, it was a late one, straddling the end of March and beginning of April. Gunn found that he was getting good fruit set and a long ripening period, which seemed ideal.

Sauvignon Blanc is the main focus, and 65% of Iona’s plantings are accounted for by this variety. Gunn also owns another farm down in the valley, with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier planted. He never has to acidify. The main farm has 29 hectares of vines, while the property in the valley is 11 hectares, making a total of 40.

Elgin is quite a new region. When Andrew Gunn started out, Paul Cluver was the only producer in the region. Oak Valley was third. ‘We believe it is the up and coming wine region,’ says Gunn. ‘Shortly after I started planting I called a meeting of farmers to share experience. We formed the Elgin Wine Guild, with a view to promote quality.’

And what of Oak Valley, another of the Elgin pioneers? Although they planted their first experimental vineyards in 1985, their first serious vineyards weren’t planted until a few years later. It’s an 1800 hectare farm, with most of the area devoted to fruit production. On the farm there are 48 hectares of vineyards. Oak Valley make superb Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and the Pinot Noir is also really good.

Then there are newcomers, such as Elgin Ridge, owned by Brits Brian and Marion Smith. They moved there in 2007 after selling their Kingston-based IT business. They’d always wanted to do a vineyard project but it took them a while to decide where to do it. Initially they had thought about making sparkling wine in the south of England, but the land was just too expensive. Then they considered France, but found that the wine industry was in turmoil and most of the properties on the market were there because the people were struggling to sell their wine, and they were expensive to boot.

So they turned to South Africa, and a property in Elgin that ticked all the boxes. Marion had first visited Cape Town in 2002, and liked it so much she came home having brought a holiday flat. Brian visited in 2003 and while he was staying there tasted a Sauvignon Blanc that he liked so much (the debut vintage of Iona), he went to visit the owner, Andrew Gunn. They became friends.

The combination of affordable land, and knowing people there led to the purchase of an abandoned 10 hectare apple farm in 2007. ‘It turns out that we have wonderful soils,’ says Marion. ‘This was more luck than judgement,’ Brian adds. ‘It is great that we were able to plant from scratch.’

They have so far planted 4.5 hectares, with 3.5 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and half a hectare each of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They are organically certified, and as of this year Marion – who looks after the vineyard – has decided to go biodynamic, a decision prompted by a visit from Monty Waldin. They have just bought two Dexter cows, to complement their ducks. ‘The dogs and cats don’t know what to make of them,’ says Brian.

Production is 15 000 bottles this year, rising to 20 000 next year. The goal is to peak at 40 000.

Another newcomer, albeit only geographically, is Catherine Marshall Wines. Established for a while but previously based in Stellenbosch, Cathy moved into her Elgin winery in 2011, and is making top quality Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with grapes purchased from Elgin growers.

The real strength of Elgin seems to be its ability to produce top quality wines from a range of varieties. Riesling is superb; so is Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay is superb; so is Pinot Noir. It seems to be hard to pigeonhole this fascinating cool-climate region, and with increasing experience of the terroirs here as well as advancing vine age, it seems the best is yet to come.

Jamie Goode is a UK based award-winning journalist and blogger who is crazy about wine, read more of his articles on http://www.wineanorak.com

Elgin Ridge and Platter’s Wine Guide

The 2013 Platter’s Guide recently made its debut on the market, just in time for Christmas, and we must say that we are very pleased. The new edition brings an added bout of excitement for us, in addition to our inclusion in the guide; Elgin Ridge was also featured in the Platter’s 2013 photo gallery.

Elgin Ridge DucksThe photo gallery forms part of a new section of the Platter’s Guide that features the tales of some of South Africa’s top wineries. The stories highlight the passions and preoccupations, the dreams, challenges and successes of these wineries. We are thrilled to have the story of how Elgin Ridge came to fruition included; another step in “living the dream”.

We had a wonderful time with photographer, Teddy Sambu and Athol Moult. Teddy is the first chosen Imara Lightwarrior for the Imara Trust and under the mentorship of renowned photographer Athol Moult, will gain valuable experience. Teddy is from Khayelitsha and after the death of his mother, Teddy started taking photographs of children playing football on the N2 motorway, using whatever equipment he could get his hands on. With limited education, photography was his chosen means of expression. As a chosen Imara Lightwarrior, Teddy has the opportunity to progress to a first class professional photographer. Teddy can be contacted by Linkedin.

Athol Moult is a prominent Cape Town artist and photographer and has regular solo exhibitions. His work is represented in public and private collections in South African and abroad. Athol can be contacted at his web site Athol Moult.

Here are a few behind the scenes images from the day

Teddy and Athol   Teddy hard at work

Marion and Brian   Athol hard at work

For the full story find us on page 248 of the guide.

Elegantly Elgin Wine Route launches

Elegantly Elgin LogoWine estates of the Elgin Valley are fortifying their strengths as they prepare to launch an official wine route on the 6th – 7th  October. The wine route aptly named, Elegantly Elgin, will provide the opportunity for visitors and  wine lovers to regularly experience the superior and complex structured wines synonymous with this district.

With a wealth of medals and acclaimed awards from  local and international wine fraternities behind them,  the Elgin Valley wine producers have entered the final straight in forming an official Wine Route. The route is set to take flight through a concept called “Open Wine Weekends”, where once a month sixteen wine estates will open their cellar doors to wine lovers to fully experience all the Elgin wine has to offer. Cellars will be creating an experiential weekend around wine during these open wine weekends with a focus on specific varietals each month. The estates will run normal operations for the remaining part of the month.

Monthly Themed campaigns:

6 -7 October: Flagship Wines – Celebration of Cool Climate Wines
3 -4 November and 10 – 11 November: A Sauvignon Blanc Celebration
open for 2 weekends to coincide with Open Gardens
1 -2 December: A Chardonnay Celebration
5-6 January: Elegantly Elgin Whites (aromatic blends)

Elgin Wine Week End bannerDuring  Varietal themed months –  i.e.  In November the theme will be Sauvignon Blanc wines from the area, we will highlight the best  cellar doors to visit for consumers who are specifically looking for superior Sauvignon Blanc wines in that month. All wineries will have their full range available for tastings, as the varietal themed month is an added benefit to our visitor experience.

The members range from our famous historic estates, frequently publicised, to a growing number of new estates, who together have all contributed towards strengthening Elgin’s offering and placed us firmly on the wine route map. The Sixteen Estates are in alphabetical order: Almenkerk ; Arumdale ; Elgin Ridge; Elgin Vintners; Hannay & Catherine Marshall Wines; Highlands Road Wines, Iona Vineyards; Lothian Wines; Mofam Wines ;Oak Valley Wines; Oude Molen Brandy Distillery; Paul Cluver Wines; Shannon Vineyards; Spioenkop Wine; South Hill Wines; Winters Drift

The Elgin Wine Weekend is the perfect way to experience wines of the valley  and discover why this region  is fast becoming a most celebrated wine-producing area of the Cape.  Here, acclaimed vines benefit from diverse soils and cool maritime breezes which ensure perfect conditions for slow ripening. This allows the grapes to develop their intense flavours, great natural acidity, complexity and strong core of elegance. The wines are predominantly fruity and Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz fare particularly well in this region.

We invite you to join us and enjoy the hospitality as the estates display the fruits of their labour. It is a celebration of the distinctive flavours from the district. Come and enjoy the classic expressions of Elgin Wine.

For more detailed  information on the open wine weekends please log onto www.elginwine.co.za
Come and meet the people behind the wines of Elgin and drink in our passion.

Establishing the ELEGANTLY ELGIN WINE ROUTE as a designation for wine lovers.

Founding Members, in alphabetical order, Almenkerk ; Arumdale ; Elgin Ridge ;Elgin Vintners; Hannay & Catherine Marshall Wines; Highlands Road Wines, Iona Vineyards; Lothian Wines; Mofam Wines ;Oak Valley Wines; Oude Molen Brandy Distillery; Paul Cluver Wines; Shannon Vineyards; Spioenkop Wine; South Hill Wines; Winters Drift

Event Details:
Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Wine Route Launch Weekend
Date: 06 – 07 October 2012
Varietal Focus for month of October: Flagship Wines a celebration of Cool Climate wines
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend
Date: 03– 04 November  and the 10- 11 November 2012
Varietal Focus for month of November: A Sauvignon Blanc Celebration
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend
Date: 01 – 02  December 2012
Varietal Focus for month of December: Chardonnay Celebration
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Wine Route Launch Weekend
Date: 05 – 06 January 2013
Varietal Focus for month of January: New Year celebration of Elegantly Elgin Whites (Aromatic blends)
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Elgin Ridge and the Cape South Coast

Original article by TV masters of wine, Susie & Peter, view Susie and Peter’s website

Cape South Coast by Peter

The New World’s ongoing quest for elegance, complexity and drinkability in its top wines – both white and red – has often led to the sea.

The briney’s cooling, moderating influence tends to give longer hang time, lower alcohol levels and altogether more rewarding wines than hot inland areas in warm countries.

True, the viticulture can be more challenging, the land costlier, the risks higher – but the finest wines have always come from marginal climates and risky, challenging endeavours.

In this context, it was fascinating recently to taste a range of wines (100, to be precise) from South Africa’s newly created Cape South Coast appellation. To clarify – these aren’t all newly created producers or wineries (many of them already have an impressive track record). It’s simply the umbrella appellation that’s new, to take in a number of smaller wine areas along the cape’s south coast (namely Cape Agulhas, Overberg, Plettenberg Bay, Swellendam and Walker Bay districts as well as the Herbertsdale and Stilbaai East wards).

Phew.

As for the wines, it was Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah that most impressed, with Pinot Noir more variable (as it tends to be, especially when some vineyards are young) but seeming to have a bright future. The names that most impressed were Paul Cluver (whites), Brunia, Ataraxia, Hamilton Russell, Beaumont, Luddite and Catherine Marshall. The overall standard was very creditable and disappointments were few, though Bouchard Finlayson deserves a reprimand for consistently bland, underwhelming wines.

Top tips are featured below.

Tasting notes (from 18th July 2012)

Paul Cluver Riesling 2010, 11.3%, Elgin (£10.99-11.99, Halifax Wine, SA Wines Online, D Byrne, SH Jones, Oxford Wine Co) – lovely clean, crisp, succulent style – well rounded, with defined red apple flavours. Lovely stuff, delicious. (The Close Encounter Riesling, a touch pricier but also lovely, is also worth a try.) 7/10

Brunia Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 13.5%, Walker Bay (£8.95, The Wine Society) – complex, mineral, layered flavours. Understated but vibrant too. Juicy grapefruit and pear flavours, with ripe citrus acidity. Elegantly textured, very long. (The 2011 is also tasting very nicely too.) 6.5-7/10

Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 13%, Walker Bay (£11.49, Wimbledon Wine Cellar, Waitrose) – effortlessly elegant and engaging. Rounded, mineral and with beautiful earthy citrus character. Hint of honey together with a refreshing sea-spray freshness. Puts other ‘wannabe’ wines into context. 7/10

Elgin RidgeElgin Ridge ‘282’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 14%, Elgin (£12.99, Les Caves de Pyrene, Green & Blue, Bedales, Wine Direct) – succulent, mineral – layered and long. Very well judged, albeit in a ‘bigger’ style, with flavours of roasted lemon and peas. 7/10

Shannon Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 13.5%, Elgin (£13.32, SA Wines Online) – aromas of anis, wax, herbs and lime rind. This has a touch of Semillon, which adds this complexity and pithy character. Succulent and complex, lovely stuff. 7/10

Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc 2012, 13.5%, Western Cape (£15) – a really classy wine, with subtle but profound flavours of ripe citrus, honey, grapefruit and roasted herbs. Dense, graceful and complex. Very good. 7.5/10

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2011, 13%, Hemel-en-Aarde (£21.99, Quaff, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods) – benchmark stuff from this reputable producer. It’s bright and characterful, with aromas of melon and burnt cream, but also well grounded with a ripe lemony acidity and mineral notes. 7/10

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir 2010, 14%, Elgin (£14.20-15.20, Tanners, SH Jones, VIvat Bacchus) – pale, limpid, elegant style. Earthy and cultured, with scents of wild berries and warm clay. Very nice. 6.5-7/10

Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2010, 14.5%, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (£29.49, Quaff, Planet of the Grapes, Fortnum & Mason) – effortlessly elegant in the context (older vines?) with earthy, herbal, berry fruit aromas and a dense, polished, refined palate. Still a big style but lovely harmony. 7.5-8/10

Luddite Shiraz 2006, 14%, Bot River (£26.49, Les Caves de Pyrene, Green & Blue, Roberson, Bordeaux Index) – elegant peppery, spicy style with a juicy flavour profile. It’s relatively broad and spicy in style but elegant too. 6.5/10

Brunia Shiraz 2010, 13.5%, Walker Bay (£12.50) – toasted, ashen, black pepper flavours and a smooth yet spicy flavour profile. Understated, good. 6.5/10

Ataraxia Serenity 2008, 14.5%, Western Cape (£13.95, Stone Vine & Sun) – elegant, leathery style. Baked herbs; serious, grown-up style, needs food. Broad, structured, very classy. 7/10

Elgin Ridge at Chardon d’Or – Glasgow

Original article by Joe McGuire on The Glaswegian

Joe writes

I ALWAYS like dealing with family companies.

There’s something reassuring knowing that a business isn’t just a faceless corporation, but has a human face behind it. I find it doubly reassuring when an individual has such faith in their product that they’ll put their name to it.

In the case of West Regent street restaurant Chardon d’Or, owner and chef Brian Maule has the confidence to stick his name above the door. It’s a confidence that’s completely justified.

I visited last Friday night, the day after Maule, who trained under culinary masters the Roux brothers, took home Chef of the Year at the CIS Awards, an auspicious omen for my review.

Walking in to Chardon d’Or we were immediately greeted by the maitre de who ushered my friend and I to our window table. From there I could survey the entire room, an airy and open space, tastefully decorated and with bluesy jazz playing softly in the background. It made for easy listening as I selected a bottle.

The restaurant enjoys a reputation for fine wines, and holds regular tasting nights. Perusing the extensive wine menu it was clear to see this reputation is well merited. I chose a bottle of South African sauvignon blanc, Elgin Ridge 282 (£36) which was the finest I’ve had.

Reading the menu I was faced with the only unpleasant part of the evening-choosing just one starter and main. While waiting on our starters a foie gras amuse bouche whet our appetites nicely and promised excellence to come.

To kick things off I chose the pan friend crevetts with chorizo, red pepper compote, and sauce aioli (£10.50). Presented so beautifully I felt a tad guilty about eating it, the unusual combination of king prawns and chorizo was an absolute winner.

My friend chose the goats cheese which was served with a beetroot salad, walnuts and caramelised apple (£8.95) and she reported that it was “divine”.

Next up I chose the roast cod fillet with broccoli puree and grilled leeks, topped with a black olive tapenade (£24). This was an absolute triumph, the fish cooked to perfection and frankly I could’ve happily eaten a whole bowl of the tapenade alone (a puree of olives, anchovies, capers and olive oil). Now I’m not a fussy eater but I’ve never been a broccoli fan; It’s testament to Maule’s training that he could actually make me want more of them, and the grilled leeks where exceptional.

My companion opted for the breast of duck with spinach and tips of asparagus (£23.50). I got a sliver of this myself and it was top notch, the meat succulent and juicy. My friend said her only regret at ordering it was my poor japery of diving under the table when I asked what she ordered.

To round things off I had the homemade ice cream and sorbets selection (£8.95) , with vanilla, pistachio, watermelon and orange the order of the day, all delicious.

My friend thought she ordered the oranges marinated in grenadine, and orange curd with macaroons (£8.50) but what arrived was in fact an artwork-an incredibly tasty artwork admittedly.

A very nice touch is the fact that Maule came out and talked to the table who were finished, sharing a few words with all.

I love that philosophy that because it’s his name on the door, it’s him in the kitchen and on the floor.

He told me that not a single dish leaves the kitchen without his approval and from the excellence on display Friday evening, it’s clear that this diligence has paid off.

Address: 176 West Regent Street  Phone: 248 3801 Web: www.brianmaule.com