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Fruity little number

Gordo is on his best behaviour as he and his camera are allowed back into the Malmaison to discover the delights of Alsace wines and other Gallic charms....Meanwhile, want to win dinner for two there?

Written by . Published on January 14th 2010.

Fruity little number
Win a £100 Dinner Tab at The Malmaison ... click here

Sunday night, difficult choice. A five course Alsace wine dinner sitting next to an absolutely delightful French girl (hobbies: wine, food and racing Ducati motorcycles) or, watching Heartbeat on the telly?

So, Gordo finds himself sitting next to Alexandra, (who can also wear a pair of trousers,) in Mal 1, a private dining room upstairs in the spanking new Malmaison, down on the docks, having already been treated to a pinot blanc reserve, with canapés, watching the sun set across the Mersey on what was probably the best day so far of 2007.

Alexandra is the export manager of the Cave de Ribeauvillé, the oldest co-operative wine producer in Alsace, France. Wines from this region knock the pants off New World offerings, can be as good as their cousins in Burgundy and are great value for money.

Along with her importer, David Manson of Bibendum Wine, she showed us five of her best, each matched with a food course cooked by the remarkable Malmaison chef Mark Bennett and his equally remarkable crew.

Gordo’s favourite dish was the pan fried monkfish cheeks with choucroute, bacon and cream, worthy of a Michelin star, which was paired by a riesling Grand Cru Altenberg, 2005. The wine is too young to show at its best, by a long way. A couple of cases thrown under the stairs and forgotten, will blow your mind in 2011.

The pinot gris Silberberg, 2005 was, however, absolutely banging; four stars from Gordo’s notes. It was matched with a foie gras and ham hock terrine with home made piccalilli.

“What ees zees, Gorrrrdo?”, purrs the lovely Alexandra. “Piccalilli”, groans Gordo, madly in love, trying to figure out how he can get a Ducati on the cheap. “Oooh, it really makes ze deesh work beautiful”.

“Quite right”, thinks Gordo, wanting the toilet badly. “Eet should have more foie gras, though”. Gordo was finding it difficult to get rid of the image of Alexandra in tight racing leathers, so he stabbed himself with a fork and went to the toilet. She was right about the fois gras though.

The room had 30 or so people from across the Malmaison group. There was also a small gathering of journalists and members of the Spin, Duck and Dive PR fraternity. Penny Fray, of Space magazine, was somewhat camera shy, though Gordo doesn’t understand why: she is dead fit. She was joined by her boyfriend, Mark Thomas, new editor of the Daily Post and Jon Brown and Jane Wolstenholme who are in PR. Gordo looks forward to meeting them properly at the next one.

A delightfully grungy, smelly Munster cheese with toasted cumin seeds was served alongside a gewürztraminer Haguenau, 2004; very typical of its type, lots of flowers and spices.

Finally, a lemon mousse with honey medellones (a bit like shortbread biscuits) served with an absolutely fabulous pinot gris Vendages Tardives, 2000. A pudding wine with more acidity than a muscat or sauternes, not far off Chateaux Coutet, an old Gordo favourite.

There are some pictures below. Gordo has included one of his room. They are terrific, arguably the best value and definitely the sexiest he has seen in Liverpool. If you would like to know more about the Cave de Ribeauvillé winery, email editor@liverpoolconfidential.com with “wine brochure please” along with your address. Gordo will make sure Angie passes the details over to Alexandra to post out to you.

Malmaison,William Jessop Way, Princes Dock, Liverpool, L3 1QW. Tel: 0151 229 5000.

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