Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Jan 25, 12 Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, restaurants

Thierry Thomasin was the Chef Sommelier at 2-Michelin starred La Gavroche for 12 years and he’s seen plenty. From the rich and famous to the punters coming in to celebrate a special occasion, he’s been on hand to advise on wine. Thierry now has his own restaurant, Angelus, a hidden gem in West London near Lancaster Gate tube stop, a delightful brasserie de luxe serving up modern British French cuisine. The food is delicious but as befits a restaurant run by an ex-Chef Sommelier, he not only wants guests to enjoy the food but also the wine and has made helping his guest negotiate the wine list a top priority. To that end, he has come up with a special dinner to show customers how to handle a wine list. At first he had in mind a dinner for men only but the demand by women to join in has been so great that he’s added another dinner for women and is even contemplating a dinner for both men and women. We had a dress rehearsal of the dinner, a 3 course meal paired with a wine of Thierry’s choosing. Thierry introduced each course along with the wine and why he thought it would go well with the dish. He also offered up amusing anecdotes and tips on what do do when confronted with a wine list, whether it’s as thick as a bible or two pages, he gave lots of helpful hints. A few top tips, call ahead to consult with the sommelier or look online (many restaurants have their lists online) to see what kind of wines are offered. Champagne is a good aperitif, it’s always my favourite, and don’t hesitate to order wine by the glass for each course. As a matter of fact, each dish was paired with a wine by the glass from the restaurant list. There was a lot more and Thierry is a very entertaining fellow but I’m not going to give away his secrets, you’ll just...

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Nopi- thinking outside the (winelist) box

Dec 16, 11 Nopi- thinking outside the (winelist) box

Posted by in Chile, Food and Wine, restaurants

“Giro d’Italia” “Going Natural” “And Gamay for All” “Black Gold” “Without Words” “The Outsiders” “Sake” Those are not descriptors one would usually see as headings for a wine list but Nopi’s wine list is not exactly a “by the numbers, tick all the boxes” wine list. The list reflects the diversity of the wine world, the sommeliers searching for wines that reflect a sense of place (terroir)  as well as being little known or off the beaten track. They also have a section of organic and biodynamic wines but that is from the point of view that they are excellent, well made wines, not a gimmick for the list. I was recently invited to a wine and food matching luncheon to see what exactly was going on with the list wine consultant Gal Zohar and Sommelier Honami Matsumoto have put together for Nopi’s Middle-Eastern/Asian cuisine. Gal and Honami had the enviable job of matching the wines with our lunch. As the philosophy behind Nopi is all about small plates, we had 10 plates each matched with one (or sometimes two) corresponding wine(s). The very first dish was a burrata with pink grapefruit paired with a subtle Slovenian riesling, the Verus 2010 was a revelation. Having a similar profile to Australian riesling from the Clare Valley but toning down the acidity, not so much of a palate cleanser but still very fresh and pure. A wonderful discovery. A Garda classico , the 2010 from Selva Capuzza was next. I visited the Garda region in Italy last year and ever since, whenever I see a Garda wine, I know I’m in for a treat and it’s great to see this lighter style of Italian red getting some recognition. The next wine really made me sit up and take notice an 85% white carignan, yes, that’s right, white carignan. Wow! How exciting, a new grape. I could see that this list was made for wine geeks. However, the wine (Domaine Ledogar, Blanc 10, 2010 Corbieres, France) was...

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Mint Leaf Lounge – winelist and a Conundrum

“I’ve seen it all, from Blue Nun to now.” So said my charming host, Gerrard McCann, GM of the Mint Leaf Lounge, situated smack in the heart of the City, referring to the changing wine tastes of British consumers. Gerrard had invited me to check out Mint Leaf’s wine list and do a bit of food and wine matching. Gerrard’s philosophy regarding wine lists is to try and list wines that you won’t find on any other wine lists. To that end, Mint Leaf only sources their wines from small boutique distributors and look for rare and unusual wines to offer on the wine list. The list is divided (mostly) not by region or country but by the type or characteristics of  the wine. Hence, they have headings such as “crisp, refreshing & fruity”, “full & creamy”, “fine wines & rarieties” (for the reds), “soft & fruity”, “round & spicy” and “curiosities & fine wines” (for the whites) as well as the more traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy, to help their guests choose the appropriate wine to enjoy with their meal. I found an eclectic mix of wines on the list: Duck Pond Chardonnay from Washington state, Petit Mansang sec from France to a Fiano Mandrossa and everything in between. There was a smattering of Sancerres and Pouilly Fumes as well as white Burgundies to round out the list. A fine balance between Old World and New World, not too many choices but not too few, there seemed to be something for everyone. The reds were the same, with some fabulous choices, Amalaya Malbec by Colome, one you don’t see often on lists but such a winner, Joseph Phelps ’06 Le Mistral and a not too extensive collection of Grand Cru and 1er Cru classe Bordeaux. I could go on and on but if you really want to know more, have a look at the list here. Since we were in the City, they also have an extensive selection of champagnes, from Jacquart to Krug...

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