Chapter 1: Spain with Fawcett and Friends
[AD] A few weeks ago I enjoyed a truly unique evening at Peak Edge reviewing the first of their Wine Series events. Designed to be a journey through a particular country or region’s best wines, this first event paired sublime Spanish wines with a tasting menu of quality local produce. Peak Edge Food and Beverage Manager (previously sommelier at Fischer’s of Baslow Hall), Adrian Tinis, welcomed wine experts Peter Fawcett (of Field and Fawcett) and Martin Abell (representing various projects in the Spanish wine landscape, including Terra de Falanis, a union of like-minded winemakers) to explain each wine, often with fascinating and humorous insights.
Eagled eyed readers may have spotted that I have written about Peak Edge Hotel quite a bit recently (see my recent Sunday lunch and afternoon tea reviews). Initially I was invited in my capacity as a blogger – although more recently I have started working with the hotel, assisting their marketing department. So I arrived at the event, (along with my lovely friend and ‘plus one’ for the evening, personal branding photographer, Helen Rowan) very much with my ‘work’ hat on – determined to capture some compelling content, make some good notes and overall be on my very best behaviour (i.e. not drink too much – which of course is a bit counter intuitive at a wine focused evening!).
I love wine and am always interested to find out a bit more. I know what I like (a bone dry white, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a nice champagne, fuller bodied reds like a Rioja or a Malbec) and I always, when our budget has allowed, have very much enjoyed any wine flight we’ve done. However, being honest, I am also easily bamboozled (and perhaps a bit bored) by too lengthy ‘serious wine chat’ – so I was genuinely interested to see whether the evening was for people like me or purely for serious wine buffs.
Even ‘Molly-with-her-work-hat-on’ who has been up at Peak Edge quite a bit recently, was mesmerised by just how utterly magical it is to arrive there as an evening guest. Even in the dark, when the surrounding countryside is hidden from view, the place is stunning. There’s a beautiful established tree, festooned with lights, a stunning seasonal archway, twinkling with fairy lights… it is by far and away one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the region.
The first Wine Series evening
We were greeted with a cava and canapé reception. I must admit, since the boom in popularity of prosecco I haven’t paid cava much attention. But this particular cava, Tutum Ba, as wine expert Peter Fawcett described, was made in as close a way as possible to the traditional champagne method. On any other occasion I could have merrily quaffed glasses of it, and I will probably buy a few bottles to have in over Christmas.
The first official course was a roast pigeon breast served with beetroot textures. This was expertly paired with a delicious Grenache (or Garnacha in Spanish), GTX from Terra de la Falanis. For a red this was quite light and fresh tasting (I can imagine drinking it chilled in summer like you might a Pinot Noir if you were so inclined). Martin explained that this wine had been sourced from a boutique winery, and had a strong Mallorcan influence.
The next course was a delicious local brown trout served with watercress gel and delightful pops of gooseberry. This had been perfectly paired with a beautifully dry white Rioja blanco from Bodegas Mitarte. With hints of pear and floral notes, this was probably my favourite wine of the evening, and could be happily be drunk as an aperitif or just by the glass without food. Again, this is something I would buy myself or look out for on a menu.
The main dish was a herb crusted cannon of Walton Lodge Lamb, served with sweet breads, braised salsify, romesco and lamb jus. This was paired with a wonderful red, Castell de Santueri from Mallorca. A blend (or, as I learned from Martin, a ‘coupage’) of Callet, Mantonegro and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine was described as being expressively Mallorca.
At this point we were treated to a surprise pre-dessert. Despite being a huge fan of a crème brulée, I don’t recall ever having had crema Catalana before so I have no idea if it is ordinarily quite as spectacular as this, but if you ever see this on any Peak Edge menu I thoroughly recommend you order it. Absolutely divine!
Actual dessert was a pear frangipane tart with toasted almonds and pear ice cream (again, made from pears from the owner’s orchards at Walton Lodge Farm) – this dessert features on the new winter menu at Peak Edge and is definitely something I would order again.
Whilst we tucked into our desserts, Peter regaled us some fascinating insights into sugar content and wine marketing (how many of us ‘talk dry and drink sweet’?) and the importance of balancing sweetness with acidity.
Overall, I had a lovely time listening and learning about wine. As expected, I very much enjoyed sampling the different wines but have also come away feeling more confident and knowledgeable about exploring more of the Peak Edge wine list.
A carefully curated list of events you actually want to go to, in Derbyshire and just beyond. Here’s my guide to the best events and what’s on in Derbyshire (and if it’s really of interest, in surrounding counties) in 2023, all organised by date. There are lots of free activities, and most events (not all)…