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I had been itching to get back to the Harwood Arms in Fulham following a very enjoyable visit before Christmas. So, I rounded up a few colleagues from the wine trade for lunch last week. If you haven’t been, the Harwood serves some of the most refined food available but is still very much a pub. As such, the service and atmosphere are informal making it the ideal venue for an afternoon of enjoying top food and some fine wines. Presented by a menu from which I wanted to order everything, I eventually settled on wood pigeon faggots with wild mushrooms, followed by the most tender beef cheeks with black cabbage and white beetroot and heavenly miniature blood orange doughnuts to finish. These 3 treats were ably accompanied but the following wines…

Pol Roger Winston Churchill 2002 – This was the first time I had had the pleasure of trying the 2002, such was its popularity on release. It had all disappeared into cellars before I had a chance to blink. This is a proper wine. Like most new releases from Pol Roger, I found it quite reserved albeit very well balanced. Having tried a few older vintages, you know this will grow into a wonderful wine and those with some of this in the cellar should be pleased.

Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre 2005 – Sadly, this was out of condition. I was prepared to be patient to see if some oxygen helped…but it did not. Annoying, because I love this vineyard and when it’s good, it’s great.

Cathiard Chambolle Clos de l’Orme 2005 – I had tried a bottle of this a couple of years ago and it was singing but it was a bit more reserved on this occasion. It was still very fine so I’m not sure if there was slight bottle variation or if it’s a sign that the 2005s are shutting down to return in the future, revealing its full potential. Still, there’s never a bad time to drink Cathiard.

Denis Mortet Lavaux St Jacques 2002 – More serious and powerful that the Chambolle with much more oak influence. Very fine tannins and a lot of fruit, years and years left in the tank. I’d love to find another bottle of this 5 years down the line to see how it’s getting on.

Flaccianello 2008 – I like drinking Sangiovese after Pinot noir as I think there a lot of common denominators between the 2. This had a slightly firmer backbone and a really bright acidity, soft tannins. Still very much an infant but a very enjoyable, precise wine that wouldn’t be out of place in any collection, given the value it offers.

Peter Michael Pavots 1999 – I’m a big fan of Californian wine but I had not tried this before. It had been double-decanted that morning (perhaps I should have done the same with the Cathiard) and it was an absolute knockout. To start with, the nose was amazing, layer upon layer of coffee, cedar, mushrooms, truffles, smoke, cassis…it just kept on giving. Plenty of chewy tannins on the palate, a real treat. This was my top wine of the day and I wanted more. Fans of Dominus, Insignia, Dunn etc should look out a bottle of this.

Email Attachment for Event 7224 - Lunch at the Harwood Arms

A great mixture of wines!

Will Evered
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