For near on fifty years, the building in Kirk Langley that now houses my wine shop was known as the Meynell Arms Hotel. In its heyday, the hotel was hugely popular with drinkers, diners and those tying the knot.
Plenty of my customers remember the old hotel and, over the years, I’ve heard terrific tales of cock fighting, boozy hunt gatherings and wedding day shenanigans that really can’t be repeated in a family newspaper. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet the first couple to get married here and a woman who was born here after her mother went into labour unexpectedly during a blackout in the 2nd World War.
I’ve also been given a bar menu from the 70s or 80s and a postcard of the hotel from around the same time and now, with the help of Derby Telegraph readers, I’d like to see if I can lay my hands on any other photos, menus, wine lists, memorabilia etc. of the old Meynell Arms Hotel.
So, if you have anything that you think I may be interested in, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and in return I’ll sort out some free wine tasting tickets.
Appeal over, it’s time to recommend some wines and to do that I’ve picked out three classic 1970s dishes from the bar menu I mentioned earlier and I’ve matched them with three suitable wines. Don’t panic – Blue Nun, Matteus Rose and that other 70s favourite, Chianti in a basket, aren’t included!
with Caparrone Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2014 £ 9.00
These days, the once hugely popular Prawn Cocktail is regarded as irredeemably naff but for those willing to ignore fashion’s diktats, it’s still a joy when paired with a fruity rosé such as the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Caparrone.
Rocco Pasetti is one of Abruzzo’s winemaking pioneers, and his wines are unquestionably amongst the best in the region. The Caparrone range takes its name from the district, in the hills west of Pescara, where Rocco developed his estate. In local Abruzzo dialect the word also means ‘stubborn’ or ‘hard-headed’.
The Caparrone Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo has fresh and bright aromas of red berry and cherry fruit. These juicy, ripe bitter cherry flavours follow through to a mouth-watering, yet dry finish, with vibrant fruit off-set by a crisp acidity.
Quiche and Salad
with The Crossings Pinot Gris 2015 £ 10.00
The rugged and unspoiled glacial Awatere Valley in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, is not a location for the faint-hearted, yet its harsh conditions bring rare rewards for winegrowers. It has soils and a climate which conspire to slow the ripening of the grapes grown there, creating crisper, fresher wines with more intense fruit than in any other sub-region of Marlborough.
The wine has flavours of white peach and underlying notes of pear, honey and exotic fruits.
Roast Half Duckling and Apple Sauce with Vegetables and Potatoes
with Rive Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Azienda Agricola Il Cascinone 2013 £ 13.25
At Azienda Agricola Il Cascinone, they have a clear mission that’s neatly summed up by genial manager, Claudio Manera, “Our intention has never been to follow an idle dream of making a great wine that is then impossible to find or difficult to afford. Our broader ambition has been to provide a range that is both understandable and accessible. Quite simply, wine for drinking and enjoying.”
Made in Piedmont, from indigenous red grape variety, Barbera, the Rive is a deep garnet hued wine with vibrant aromas of black cherries, prunes, chocolate and mint with toasty oak undertones. On the palate, there are abundant flavours of vibrant redcurrants, black cherries and a touch of spice.