Short and sustainable (and/or organic/biodynamic) – a little winelist from Tsuru

What I like about Tsuru, besides their katsu curry and sustainability credo is their wine list. Emma, one of the 3 owners of Tsuru, is always tweaking the wine list, looking for wine that not only go along with their Japanese hot food and sushi but also follow their commitment to sustainably sourced ingredients. Recently, they’ve gone completely organic/biodynamic, shortening the list to just 3 reds and 3 whites along with a sparkler to complement the dynamic flavours of Japanese food. Tsuru uses the wines of the importer Caves de Pyrennes, who specialize in organic, biodynamic and sustainable producers. So what did I think of the wines? While not being overly complex (and there might have even been a natural wine in there somewhere), they did make good matches with the food. The sparkler is a Vouvray brut, made from chenin blanc but with bubbles, which while having definite fruity notes on the palate displayed nutty, yeasty aromas. The bubbles were big but not distracting and this was a simple fizzy wine which was very easy to drink. Two of the other whites were French, a still chenin blanc, La Dilletante was full of fruity tropical notes but dry with a lime accented finish. We tried this with the gyoza which was a good match. The 2010 viognier from Reserve de Gassac was my favourite with the tuna sushi, savoury, minerally, and loads of white stone fruit flavours. The third white was a sauvignon blanc from De Martino (Chile), it was typical but nothing special, go for the Gassac if you want a more interesting wine with dinner. Gran Cerdo means Big Pig in Spanish and this fruity tempranillo from Spain is light but not confected, a soft and fruity red wine, it’s really good with pickled ginger. I liked the story behind the wine. Seems the winery owners couldn’t get a loan from the big banks and had to rely on friends and family to start up their winery so in homage to...

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Can’t touch this….La Tunella Friulano

Don’tcha just hate when you go away on holiday discover this great wine and then when you get back home, find out that it’s not available in your home county? Well, now you know how I feel after a recent tasting I had with Giovanna Borreri of La Tunella and  their importer Corney&Barrow at Tsuru sushi in Bishopsgate. La Tunella was the name and white wines were primarily the game that afternoon. La Tunella is a family owned winery situated in the north of Italy, Colli Orientali del Friuli to be exact. Friuli is known for the exceptionally mineral laden and elegant white wines they produce. The region is divided into 8 D.O.C.’s with a very distinct terroir of sandstone and marl and a favourable and unique microclimate which shields the grapes from the Alpine winds coming down from the north while still allowing the warm breezes of the Adriatic to waft up and warm the grapes. La Tunella take their terroir seriously and even brought along a small box of the flat rocks that make up the terrain. La Tunella really does rock! We got down to tasting and matching the wines with the sushi and curry. The 2008 pinot grigio while at first, a good specimen of what pinot grigio should be, really woke up in the mouth when combined with the sushi. It was a great food wine,crunchy minerality and balance of fruit with an bright lemon-lime finish. All too often pinot grigio is an insipid, pallid, glass of lemon water but here was a pinot grigio that was worth the £10 asking price. The 2008 Friulano however, was the wine that we all raved about. Friulano used to be called Tokay Friulano but the Hungarians took issue with the use of the word tokay and in 2007, the Italians were forced to drop the tokay part of the name. No matter, it is still a fantastic wine and Friulano refers not only to the grape but also the land and...

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Wine and sushi at Tsuru in the City

When eating sushi, wine is not most peoples drink of choice. By why not? What if I told you I prefer wine with  Japanese food or, more specifically, sushi and wine? Why? How? Where? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have wine with just about every meal but wine and sushi can be perfect dinner partners for everyone. Last year I went to a food and wine matching night at Tsuru sushi at Bankside near London Bridge. I thought it was a brilliant idea to match sushi with wine. People often think that it’s near impossible to match Japanese food and wine but Tsuru had done a good job of it and it was a fun evening all round. You can read about the evening and watch the video here. Forward one year and Tsuru have expanded to a new location in Bishopsgate, The City of London. I went to their  opening the other night and was curious to see how the whole food and wine matching was going and if they had stuck to the idea of promoting wine with Japanese food. Happily, I can say that wine is still an integral part of their menu and not only that but Tsuru is striving to make good wine affordable to their customers. Too many restaurants in London feel the need to gouge the customer on the wine list but luckily Tsuru is not one of them. The most expensive wine topping out at £32 for a Macon Verze from the biodynamic producer Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy and Philloponant champagne priced at £34.50, might even be cheaper then in the shops. Their wine list is short but packed with wines that can show off the best against those sometimes very strong Japanese flavours. The list mostly sticks to French wines but does stray into German and Italian terroir now and then. The 2007 Sybille Kuntz Estate dry Riesling is a wine that matches very well with the sweetness of teriyaki while still being...

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Tsuru, Japanese food/European wine – video

I was invited to a Japanese food and wine matching dinner the other night. Japanese food is notorious for it’s difficulty in matching with wine. Sweet, salty, spicy, fried, grilled, raw, cooked, with all those flavours and textures to match in one sitting, it’s no wonder most people stick to beer, saki or when push comes to shove, riesling. This was a food and wine match with a difference. All the wines were to be from the Old World. Damian Tillson of Sotheby’s, who chose the wine list, believes that there are perfectly good European wines available that can be matched with Japanese food. The tasting was held at Tsuru in Southwark, just behind the Tate Modern. The joint, opened almost a year ago by Emma Reynolds and partners, aims to be an ethically sourced restaurant, featuring line caught tuna, salmon from the Shetland islands and free range chicken from the West country. All the sushi is hand made on the premises by their expert sushi chef. The food served was a combination of sushi, sushi rolls and chicken and steak teriyaki. The food by itself was very tasty. It was fun to compare and contrast with the other food and wine bloggers at the tasting, Wineconversation, Winematcher, Londonelicious, MsMarmiteLover (of underground restaurant fame) and Gourmet Chick. How’d it do with the wine list? Watch the video to find out. [viddler id=de92829e&w=437&h=333] Here’s a list of what was on tasting and my notes: Whites 2007 Domain de Ricaud, Entre-deux-Mer, Bordeaux – herby, grassy nose, medium body, good acidity, minerally with green fruit  2007 Domaine Bailly-Reverdy Sancerre, Loire – herbacious, hay, gooseberry nose, gooseberry/grapefruit, light but sleek, flinty, was the best food matcher of the evening  2006 Domaine Leflaive, Macon Verze, Burgundy (biodynamic) – nicely integrated fruit and oak, pineapples, floral and citrus fruits, fine acidity, quite full bodied Rosè 2007 Domaine Pique Roque, Cotes de Provence – syrah/cabernet sauvignon blend – fresh strawberry and red fruit nose, dry but subtle red fruits, great example of Cotes de Provence rose Reds...

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