Collector’s Corner

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-02-07


On the gastronomy front an incredible meal was enjoyed at Le Cinq in Paris, bearing absolutely no resemblance to Jay Rayner’s very amusing description from a couple of years ago, to be found here

Visually, texturely and tasting-wise it was amazing, even if not everything agreed with everyone. Turbot, venison and onions remain firmly in the memory. Jay needs to revisit!

Chateau Grillet’s second wine, (rather understatedly) labelled as Cotes du Rhone was discovered here and what a beauty it was, although seemingly impossible to find in the U.K.

Another first time experience enjoyed was L’Assiette in the Montparnasse part of town, a neighbourhood restaurant sending out glorious French classics with a modern twist, but not in the case of the cassoulet – that was just classic! There a new discovery on the wine front was made, Romain Pertuzot, whose Chorey Les Beaune 2015 was bright, tense and juicy.

Sadly, the legendary Tan Dinh, the Vietnamese restaurant in St. Germain, whose regular customers once included the likes of Steven Spurrier and Paul Bowker back in the day seems a little tired. Under seasoned and under spiced food, the list is not what it once was but still heralded some beauties none the less. There is an impressive list of Barthod, Coche, Mortet and Niellon, amongst others, although the latter will not be served, whatever the vintage, due to premox issues - very worrying indeed! A Clos l’Eglise ’78 was full of old world charm.

There was a superbly curated Ledbury lunch will other top drawer collectors with Haut Brion ’96 leading the way, pursued by Palmer ’89 and admirable examples of ’02 white Burgundies, Le Clos from Raveneau and Henri Boillot’s Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles, all preceded by a gorgeous 2010 Keller Abts E Spätlese.

Dry January will have to wait yet another year!


Restaurant tips

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-08-19



It has been said by some wise sage that 1% of people care way too much about wine and 99% of people don’t care enough. This rings true, and I thought it would be interesting to investigate why this is.

Most of my friends and peers drink wine. With sufficient regularity to alarm the British Medical Council in many cases. And most of them drink rubbish. Seriously – any £5 bottle will do the trick normally, and the second cheapest wine on the restaurant wine list is pretty much as far as they go.

This baffles me.

OK, so not everyone is going to spend a fortune on a wine collection, or consult Parker or Robinson for every wine buying decision, but it is really simple to drink more interesting wines without breaking the bank or having to do hours of painstaking research.Here are a few rules of thumb, aimed at buying wine in a restaurant (assuming it isn’t one of the growing numbers that allow you to BYO for a modest corkage).

1) The cheapest wines normally have the highest % mark-ups, and the second cheapest wine normally has the highest mark-up. Restaurateurs know how people make buying decisions, so be aware of the relative lack of value.

2) The first few wines on a list will have tendency to be ‘neutral’ in style, as they are likely to be bought to match all foods. One size fits all is not the best way to approach buying wine – think about what you are going to order.

3) Don’t be afraid to buy by the glass. Technology such as Coravin means a far wider array of wines can be sampled, so you can avoid just plumping for a bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, or a bog standard Rioja, and narrowing your options. Why not order a suitable wine for every course of you meal?

4) Look for exotic grape varieties or little known regions – these are likely to be the sommelier’s attempts to stamp their expertise and personality on the wine list, and will likely be good value and interesting. Think Greece, Portugal, Austria, or regions like Swartland in South Africa or Salta in Argentina.

5) Embrace the joys of dessert wines. Seriously, sweet wines are amazing things that are criminally overlooked. A little bit of ‘sticky’ at the end of your meal is always a good thing!

6) If the restaurant has a sommelier, get their opinion. Don’t be afraid to ask seemingly silly questions. These guys are there to ensure you get the most enjoyment from your meal.


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