The Buck Inn: Wine o’clock


Angela Walton returns to an old favourite down Yorkshire way

Arriving at The Buck Inn in the beautiful rural village of Maunby, hungry, tired and very thirsty (it’s been a long week) it occurs to me that tonight’s wine dinner could spell trouble.

Having heard on the grapevine (sorry..) that things have changed in the 18 months since this village pub changed hands, I’m fearing foams, infusions and meagre portions coupled with copious amounts of red and white – a mix guaranteed to induce a sore head.

BuckInn2However, we are reassured by the friendly feel of the candle-lit oak-beamed bar, packed for this sold-out event, while co-owner Sammy Clark assures us that the menu for the evening is both hearty and satisfying.

The significant other in the business is Matthew Roath, formerly head chef at the excellent Chadwick’s Inn in Maltby on the North Yorks Moors, where the two met and where he became one of the youngest head chefs in the country.

First up are hand-dived king scallops from the Mull-based Ethical Shellfish Company served with caramelised cauliflower purée, cumin and macerated raisins.

Our affable wine host, Iain Andrew of Bon Coeur Fine Wines, presents two competing wines; a 2012 Macon Uchizy Burgundy and a 2010 Kidnappers Vineyard Craggy Range Chardonnay from New Zealand.

The succulent scallops and sweetness of the raisins provide fine partners for both, of which the clear winner is the chardonnay, with just a hint of oak. Next up is Gloucester Old Spot pork tenderloin, crispy pork cheek, pea purée, black pudding and Madeira jus, its wine contenders being a 2012 Naked Grape German Riesling versus a 2012 The Crusher Pinot Noir from California.

BuckInn4The pork is exceptional, though comparing red and white wine is a challenge. In the end, we agree that the Pinot verges on overpowering the dish, whereas the zest of the Riesling is pitch perfect.

Meanwhile, the general buzz and laughter levels are rising, boosted by the wine and general air of bonhomie.

As the Thirsk-reared, dry-aged fillet of beef, braised shin, spring onion and pancetta croquette with purple-sprouting broccoli emerges, Iain supplies a 2010 Chateau Meaume Bordeaux to pit its wits against a Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Grande Reserve from Mouton Rothschild’s Chilean winery.

BuckInn3The texture of the beef is sublime and when it comes to releasing flavour in food, the winning wine for me belongs to France – a combination of Shiraz and Grenache. The other half, however, prefers the soft, velvety Cabernet, so he drinks mine, too.

We gallantly soldier on to blood orange tart with toasted almonds and clotted cream ice cream for which an Italian Vin Santo del Chianti 2007 and the Australian Botrytis Riesling 2010 are equally sweet partners.

We’re still talking about the night, having agreed that in terms of making a choice between old or new world wine it really is all just a matter of taste, as I animatedly inform our poor taxi driver. All the long way home.

The Buck Inn, Maunby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 4HD, tel 01845 587 777,

So impressed were we with our dinner, we manage to persuade Matthew Roath to divulge a couple of recipes. Enjoy..!

Whitby crabmeat tart

Creme brulee

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