Next month sees the first Fhior wine club dinner at the Secret Herb Garden.

Enjoy a few glasses of wine and a delicious meal in the magical surroundings of the Secret Herb Garden next month thanks to the first Fhior wine club dinner.

Scott and Laura Smith finally saw their plans for the Secret Herb Garden cafe come to light in July, after having to put everything on hold due to coronavirus.

The nursery and garden now incorporate Fhior Kitchen Garden, which supplies the organic vegetables, fruit, herbs, plants and honey, for the Smiths’ Broughton Street restaurant and their year old project, Cafe Party at Jupiter Artland.

Scott and Laura are now at the helm of the menu at the Secret Herb Garden, where they serve food to guests in the greenhouse and current cafe area.

The one-off dinner, set to take place on Friday 2 October at 6pm, will incorporate the culinary skills of Scott with the restaurant’s sommelier, Stuart Skea, and his wine selection.

Diners can look forward to five courses paired with Bordeaux wines, and is the first of many events that the team at the Fhior wine club hope to host in the tranquil surroundings.

What is Fhior wine club?

A spokesperson for the club explains: “The Fhior wine club was born from a desire to share our passion for remarkable wines and to shine a spotlight on the people that produce them – the care, hard work and passion that goes into making these exceptional wines.

“The wines we choose speak to the soul – there is a frankness, purity and simplicity shared by great wines across varieties, countries and regions.

“Our tastings bring to focus wines you’re unlikely to see elsewhere – obscure or unfashionable grape varieties, the unseen side of renowned regions, independent producers forging unconventional paths.

“Our ethos is based on finding wines that have a true sense of place and identity. Those that tell the story of the soil and land from which they come, and are produced with care and respect for their environment.

“We champion wines that eschew chemical inputs, use regenerative agriculture and avoid manipulation in the cellar.

“At the helm is Fhior sommelier, Stuart Skea. With 12 years in the industry under his belt, Stuart learned his craft by working with some of Scotland’s best wine lists and top Sommeliers, as well as competing in competitions and studying the WSET and Court of Master Sommeliers programmes.

“Stuart’s passion was sparked by a fortuitous work trip to Bordeaux 15 years ago – a trip that involved some visits to top Chateaux and estates, along with the necessary sampling along the way. His curiosity and exploration continues to this day. One simply never stops learning in the world of wine.”

What’s on the menu?

Poached Oyster / Compressed Cucumber Ribbons / Hazelnut Emulsion

Raw Scallop / Burnt Lemon Puree / Cold Pressed Highland Rapeseed Oil

Venison Tartare / Green Elderberry / Egg Yolk Jam / Pine Vinegar

Grouse / Skirlie / BBQ Sweet Corn / Elderberry Jus

Poached Apple / Spiced Pear Compote / Honeyed Oats / Whipped Crème Fraiche

Speaking of the first Fhior wine club dinner, Stuart said: “Our inaugural Fhior wine club dinner will focus on the artisan vignernons of Bordeaux – the unsung mavericks and independent thinkers ploughing their own furrow and making excellent wine with respect for the land and nature.

“The evening is a look at the artisan heroes working in the sterile, corporate landscape of modern Bordeaux. The producers we are showing make great wine, but also have a great backstory. This is the raison d’être for the wine dinner, and a fascinating story in of of itself.

Chef Scott Smith added: “This was a different approach for us in that we developed a menu led by the wines, rather than the food coming first.

“The event brings focus to some amazing wines, so the menu was created with the clear and unquestionable purpose of respecting, enhancing and complementing these wines.”

How to book

Tickets cost £150 and are available to buy here.

The start time is 6pm to ensure the event is wrapped up by 10pm, as per government guidelines.

Producer and wine info

Domaine des Champ des Treilles – Sainte-Foy Bordeaux Vin Passion, 2018

This estate was established in the 1920’s in the far south-eastern corner of the entre-deux-mers by Jean-Michel Comme’s Italian grandparents.

Struggling to carry on after losing his mother to cancer, Jean-Michel admitted all he could think about were all the pesticides that were infecting the vineyard/winery workers.

His wife Corinne helped him refocus and encouraged his experiments with biodynamics, starting a quiet revolution in this ultra-conservative region.

Closserie des Moussis – Vin de France, 2018, Gisele

Laurence Alias and Pascale Choime, created micro domaine Closeries des Moussis together in 2008, making their first vintage in 2009.

The two women work close to the city of Bordeaux and rent tiny parcels of vines, including one that comes from an ungrafted pre-phylloxera vineyard whose oldest vines are 150 years old.

Clos 19 Bis – Vin de France, 2017

Former Adventure tour guide Vincent Quirac works his 2ha in the Grave and Sauternes on his own and by hand, making one or two reds each year.

Working out of a converted dancehall he crafts wines of real joy and immediacy – a reminder that Bordeaux can be fun.

La Grave Figeac – Main St Emilion Grand Cru, 2012

Laurent Clauzel farms this 6.5ha estate organically on the exceptional terroir of the Figeac Plateau.

Surrounded on all side by Figeac, La Conseillante and Cheval Blanc the soils here are a free draining mix of clay and gravel with pockets of iron oxide – ‘crasse de fer’

These are wines of real finesse and pedigree with low alcohol and a distinctive note of truffle that becomes readily apparent with age.

Chateau Bel Air-Marquis l’Aligre – Main Grand Vin, 1998, Grand Cru Exceptionnel

The owner of Chateau Bel Air-Marquis l’Aligre , Jean-Pierre Boyer was born in 1933 and 2020 will be his 70th vintage – he made 67 vintages of sublime Margaux before first exporting to the UK.

He does not own a fax machine or a computer and, according to Nick Brookes of importer Vine Trail, “wasn’t prepared to fill out the relevant paperwork.. so the only way we could get the wines out of him was to pay all the duty up front.. which we’ve never done before in 30 years of trade.”

Rousset-Peyraguey – Eplasen, 2008

Alain Déjean took over the reins at this family estate in 1995, becoming the 7th generation to do so.

Leaving a successful career on the board of a supermarket to become a farmer, he developed a restless obsession with terroir, grappling with biodynamics and the authorities in the shape of the INAO – being taken to court several times for his refusal to use conventional vineyard treatments and fighting, and winning, a court order to destroy his 2009 vintage.

Scran episode 4: The botanics of gin – with Hamish Martin of the Secret Herb Garden

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

Let us know what you think

comments