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The Wines At George's

Neil Sowerby on what the Class of 92 is drinking at Ryan Giggs's co-owned restaurant

Published on June 19th 2014.


The Wines At George's
 

PROMOTION

WHEN you open a new dining venture it’s always best to attach a bit of stardust. The obvious such element at George’s Dining Room Worsley is the presence of one Ryan Giggs as co-owner. The Class of ’92 are all over the shop at present, opening hotels, restaurants, even finding time to manage/coach Manchester United in passing.

We resisted the Dom Perignon 2003 at £180 a bottle – cheaper than at some footballer-friendly establishments – in favour of some very affordable whites and reds

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When Giggsy and Gary Neville launched Cafe Football at Westfield in East London they hired as consultant the culinary equivalent of stardust – Michael Wignall of Michelin two star The Latymer.

Similarly here on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal Wignall protege (and ex-Harvey Nics senior sous chef) Andrew Parker is heading the kitchens.

The equally starry wine provider is the same for both establishments – Bibendum, a favourite merchant of mine (though it might have been nice if they had opted for a great northern operation such as Boutinot or Gerrard Seel).

The evidence of my palate at a recent lunch is that they have chosen well. It was afternoon, so we resisted the Dom Perignon 2003 at £180 a bottle – cheaper than at some footballer-friendly establishments – in favour of some very affordable whites and reds.

Pecorino is more famous as the name of an Italian cheese, but it’s also a white wine from the Abruzzo region on the Adriatic. George’s has a lovely example at just £20 a bottle.

Villa dei Fiori Pecorino IGT Terre di Chieti 2012 is straw coloured with lovely floral aromas, of jasmine, perhaps acacia with a discernible hint of licorice there, too. On the palate, it’s crisper than you’d imagine with peach flavours and a streak of minerality you rarely find in Pinot Grigio these days.

What Pinot Grigio is capable of is more often found in its Alsace form, Pinot Gris. Same grape, different terroir, different handling, producing riper, more structured wines. The Biecher family have been winemaking in St Hippolyte in the Vosges foothills since 1776.

George’s sell their Jean Biecher & Fils Pinot Gris, Alsace, France 2012 at £25 and it is a real bargain. OK, it lacks the smoky nose and substantial mouthfeel of classic Gris, but it offers real honeyed complexity.

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Gingerbread and mushrooms on the nose followed by a lingering intensity of flavour. George’s do a pork wellington main – this would be perfect with it.

Pick of the reds in a similar £20 band are Little Eden Pinot Noir 2012 (£23.50) and Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2012 (£26) – the first a 100 per cent Oz Pinot Noir from the borderlands of Victoria and New South Wales, the second wholly Syrah from one of the Rhone Valley’s most consistent producers.

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There’s a stark contrast in styles, but they are equally delicious.

You could serve the Little Eden lightly chilled to sip on its own, such is the wealth of strawberryish, black cherry fruit, but it has a touch of ripe tannin and a slight earthiness that makes it equally good as a food wine.

With its own earthiness but much weightier is the Saint Cosme, contender for best wine on the list. Its deep, dark fruit and dash of black pepper (I was getting licorice again, too – well it takes all sorts) makes it a terrific steak wine. Strong cheeses, too.

The 2012 vintage was bordering on great in this French region and this elegant red has years of ageing potential, yet is approachable now. Just let it breathe in the glass a while first.

George’s Dining Room, 17-21 Barton Road, Worsley, Salford M28 2PD

0161 410 0106, www.georgesworsley.co.uk

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