Wed 13 Jan 2016 - An Emergency at the East India Club

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Fonseca 1963
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Wed 13 Jan 2016 - An Emergency at the East India Club

Post by AHB » 21:09 Thu 14 Jan 2016

Being hungry after a hard days work, it was surely a coincidence that meant JDAW, DRT and myself all ended up at the Red Lion in Duke of York Street in St James's. And, what's more, we were all in suits - yes, even JDAW! In a curious mood we decided to evaluate the food and wine list at a venue we had not previously visited and so walked a few minutes into St James's Square and entered that bastion of Empire known as the East India Club. The food - served in a very busy dining room where we were surrounded by portraits of former viceroys of India - was very tasty. Venison terrine or rabbit salad (that is to say, rabbit with salad and not simply the leaves which rabbits choose to eat), followed by a generous, delicious and pink helping of roast lamb cut from the carving trolley, rounded off with a savoury course of Welsh Rarebit (I've had better) or the Club Savoury (a splendid grated cheddar / slice of back bacon / flat mushroom on toast).

The decision as to what should be used to wash the meal down was easier than we were expecting. While a very respectable wine list, there was little in the unfortified section which appealed. Highlights included 2004 Leoville Las Cases and 2005 Talbot (which was tempting) but when we turned the page to see the fortified section the choice was obvious - a bottle of Fonseca 1977 and a bottle of Taylor 1985, both having lived in the Club cellars since being shipped to the UK.

The Fonseca 1977 was so good that we ordered a second bottle to go with the savouries. Sadly, this second bottle of Fonseca 1977 was not as good as the first. JDAW did note that the first was more dusty than the second so speculation started as to whether the storage conditions might have been different...

It was a splendid evening in an interesting environment.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Fonseca 1966
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Re: Wed 13 Jan - An Emergency at the East India Club

Post by DRT » 23:47 Thu 14 Jan 2016

Splendid indeed. The East India Club is certainly one of the most sumptuously decorated of all of the clubs I have had the pleasure to visit and I believe is the only one with a menu that includes Chicken Vindaloo.

The first bottle of F77 was simply fabulous. The T85 was perhaps the youngest tasting bottles of that port that I have tasted - very tight and closed at first but it had the power and spice to cut through the flavour of the lamb. I think the second F77 suffered from following the first and on another evening on its own might have been more appreciated.

This place is definitely worth a visit if you get the opportunity and, considering what we had, is not an expensive evening.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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Cockburn 1900
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Re: Wed 13 Jan 2016 - An Emergency at the East India Club

Post by jdaw1 » 12:39 Fri 25 Mar 2016

Two excellent bottles of Port, and one merely jolly good. Thank you to Alex for suggesting it.

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