Braucol, Gringet, Mondeuse and Frappato . . .
What do you give the winelover who has everything? Dinner at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe looks like the answer. A recent dinner to launch their laudably adventurous new wine list revealed a whole bunch of grapes that I’d never heard of including Braucol (an alternative name in Gaillac for Fer and Mansois - pretty obscure in themselves), Gringet, a crisp white from Haut-Savoie (described as ‘glacial as a Hitchcock heroine’), Mondeuse (another wine from Savoie, this time a red) and Frappato, a 'rarely encountered' Sicilian red.
The list has been put together by the charmingly eccentric Douglas Wregg of south-west specialists Cave de Pyrene who has Strong Views on the blandness and dullness of most contemporary winelists. Well, his certainly isn’t. Divided into styles that are led by grape variety, region and occasion it ranges from the undeniably weird (an unfined, unfiltered, unsulphured Faugeres white from Didier Barrel that I just couldn’t get my head around) to the wonderful (1982 Pichon Lalande) Choose from White Wines from Eastern France and Neighbouring Countries to Grand Pinot for Grand occasions, from a ‘pot lyonnais’ of Picpoul de Pinet (£9.50) to a magnum of Chateau Talbot 200 (£280) - there really is something for everyone. And if you’re dining on your own Wregg’s notes are a terrific read.
He also scores highly on his food and wine matching skills, outstanding pairings including a 2005 Terras Gauda O Rosal albarino blend with oysters and chorizo, an opulent, white ‘Hegoxuri’ Irouleguy from Domaine Arretxea with a sublime Quenelle de Brochet, ecrevisses and sauce Nantua (a wonderfully indulgent rendition of this great old French classic) and a warm, sensuous 2000 Coteaux des Baux from Mas Hauvette which he paired with partridge en croute with foie gras.
It’s admirable of a restaurant, particularly one as high profile as Galvin to put on a list like this. They could easily stuff their list with Bordeaux and Burgundy and just rake in the money. All credit to Chris and his brother Jeff for giving Wregg his head.
NB. If you’re after a bit of vinous excitement next year (2007) they plan to start holding regular wine tastings and dinners. For details and dates check out their website www.galvinbistrotdeluxe.co.uk or call (44) 20 7935 4007
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