On Tuesday 17th May, Bowcliffe once again threw open the doors to its sumptuous Drivers’ Club for the latest Member’s Evening. This time, 50 Drivers’ Club members were welcomed to broaden their vinous horizons with a wine talk and tasting hosted by Johnathan Grieve of Avondale Wines – who had flown all the way from South Africa for the occasion.
It was a beautiful evening on the Estate, and the warm weather meant guests were able to sit outside and mill on the glorious south-facing Drivers’ Club Terrace, giving the whole evening a relaxed alfresco appeal.
Johnathan gave a fascinating insight into the world of biodynamic wine and agriculture used on his vineyard. Biodynamics is an alternative form of agriculture that takes a holisitic, ecological and ethical approach to all agricultural methods and the handling and processing of the fruit post-harvest. This system of agriculture shuns chemical inputs in the same way that other organic farmers do. In addition it incorporates lunar and cosmic rhythms into the timing of the application of special biodynamic preparations designed to benefit both soil and plants.
At the end of the evening Johanthan gave an intriguing demo of the spiritual side to biodynamics, dowsing energy using dowsing rods and inviting a willing volunteer to have a go.
A wonderfully entertaining host, Johnathan’s stories were full of fantastic little facts and interesting titbits from his South African vineyard. Our favourite has to be that he has a flock of 100 ducks that are transported round to different sections of the vineyard in a ‘Duck Mobile’. The ducks then disembark and graze in the vineyards removing pests from all the vines before getting back onto the mobile and going back to their hut before doing it all again the next day!
The tipple of the evening for most was, of course, wine, and whilst they were all superb, particular mention must be made of La Luna 2009 and Jonty’s Ducks 2009, both of which were show stealers.
To soak up the alcohol was an array of exquisite food prepared by Bowcliffe executive chef, John Topham. It was impossible to conceal the audible sounds of delight as Drivers’ Club members tucked into an unbelievable duck confit and a soul-warming hot smoked salmon veloute which John had spent hours smoking on the BBQ in preparation. It was only appropriate that he came out and talked guests through the dishes at the end of the evening.
Take a look below to see what guests enjoyed eating and drinking on the night…
Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009
Hot Smoked Salmon, Jersey Royals & Watercress Veloute
Anima Chenin Blanc 2013
Salt & Pepper Squid, Asian Dressing Spiced with Paprika Garlic Chilli & Lime Vinegar Dressing
New Seasons Garlic, Truffle Mash, Truffle Garlic
Jonty’s Ducks 2009
Roast Loin of Lamb, Rocket Pepper Pesto
La Luna 2009
Kirsch Infused Strawberries
Camissa Rose 2013
The lovely, laid-back work-meets-play atmosphere was a great way to spend an evening, and we hope those of you in attendance enjoyed it as much as the feedback suggests!