May Wine and Food in London

Written by Giles MacDonogh


May Wine and Food in London

Giles MacDonogh


Last year I fell out of love with Beaujolais. It came as quite a shock, like waking up to realise your oldest friend is a crashing bore. I went to a tasting in a hotel in the East End (doubtless very trendy but hell to get to) and found very little that appealed to me. The wines from so many stonking hot vintages lacked the lightness and charm of Beaujolais, and above all that Bacchic element, that makes them unique, was almost entirely missing. Climate change had combined with the fatal legacy of fast-selling, cheap Beaujolais to kill off one of France’s most characterful wines.
And I had really loved Beaujolais. Back in 1983, the first wine article I ever wrote was about Beaujolais, I even went quite a long way towards writing a book on Beaujolais, so the disappointment laid me low. But the story has a happy ending: I can now report that last month I went to a new Beaujolais tasting, and this time I emerged with a smile on my face. It may have been the sun, it may have been the more sensible location (the ICA in Carlton House Terrace), butI liked as many wines this year as I disliked last year.Like last year I tasted only the cru wines.


Top wines:

2021 Château des Tours, an old friend and almost perfect Beaujolais: lovely fresh raspberry-scented
Gamay, lightness, charm and length;

2020 Domaine des Fournelles, wonderful colour, very rich and ripe, raspberries and strawberries and lots of pepper.

Also good: 2021 Domaine des Fournelles, 2022 Domaine Baron de l’Ecluse, 2021 Château de la Terrière.

Côte de Brouilly :
Good wines : 2020 Le Grappin (nicely lyrical), 2020 Domaine des Fournelles, 2018 Domaine des Fournelles.


Top wines:

2021 Domaine du Mont Verrier, from the summit of the appellation, wonderful freshness and fruit
from the cool night air. It has plenty of life in it yet.

Also good: 2019 Maison Trénel (concentrated and peppery), 2021 Louis Tête (earthy).


Top wine: 2020 Domaine Matray, lovely colour, good cherry nose, concentrated and built to last.


Morgon’s Côte de Py now has its own appellation.

Top Wines:

2018 Mee Godard, striking colour, dense cherry, pretty wine with a little sweetness; 2021 Domaine du Mont Verrier, earthy and fleshy from the volcanic soils of the Côte de Py; 2018 Domaine des Souchons, also Côte de Py, striking colour, earthy cherry nose, has a nice mature quality, but is far from finished; 2020 Clos du Vieux Bourg, stunning colour, slightly stalky, with plenty of raspberry and cherry.

Also good:

2022 Domaine des Souchons Vieilles Vignes, Morgon colour, creamy cherries, needs time, 2020 Louis Jadot, Château des Jacques.

Moulin à Vent:

Top wines :

2018 Mee Godard, lovely colour, spice (caraway), earthy – plenty of character here. 2015 Louis Jadot, Château des Jacques, still lovely colour despite its maturity, cherry, strawberry, creamy, lush and peppery – shows that there is nothing wrong with mature Beaujolais.

Also good:

2020 Domaine de l’Iris (needs time), 2021 Louis Latour, 2021 Maison Coquard (sweetish fruit), 2013, Louis Jadot, Château des Jacques (oldest wine in the tasting and a serious sort of Beaujolais, rather like a good Burgundy), 2021 Louis Jadot Château des Jacques, earthy – had me thinking of that famous pissoir in Clochemerle).


Top Wine:

2021 Château de la Terrière, natural wine made from vines planted in 1911, quite mineral, good chewy cherry taste.

Also good:

2021 Château du Vieux Bourg. Saint Amour

Good wines :

2019 Domaine de Boischampt, 2022, Maison Trénel (youthful exuberance).

Watch out for Domaine des Fournelles, Mee Godard, Château de la Terrière and old stagers like Louis Jadot Château des Jacques, and above all Château des Tours.

Wine  of  Australia Tasting


Ashton Hills Adelaide Hills High altitude Chardonnay

The excellent Wine Australia organisation put on a virtual Adelaide Hills tasting of six Chardonnays from the cool 2021 vintage.
I found myself asking exactly what the model was for these much lighter, more acidic Chardonnays than those luscious wines which went down a bomb in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s. I came to the conclusion that they were swapping Pouilly for Chablis, something that can only be achieved in Southern Australia if you seek out really high elevations to grow your fruit and tread lightly with malo and oak. Cool nights will give you high-acid, flinty wines with fruit that tends to be more apple or melon than peach or apricot.

My favourite was the Orlando Lyndale which was grown at a comparatively lowly 400 metres, perhaps giving it a little bit more body.

By comparison, at 300 metres, the Sidewood was positively jammy, while Pike & Joyce’s Sirocco and Ashton Hills Piccadilly were grown at nearer 600 metres and were a great deal more angular (more Twiggy, less Gina Lollobrigida). Possibly the most Chablisienne  was  The Lane, which had gone through both malo and new oak. Karrawatta ‘Anth’s Garden’ seemed the simplest of the six, but no doubt it will fatten up a bit with time.





“Based in the town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, the spiritual home of the Pork Pie, we have been making and baking pies for over 170 years.

Our world famous Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe was originally a bakery opened by John Dickinson in 1851, but it was his Grandmother, Mary Dickinson, who is credited with creating the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie that we know and love today. First using a wooden dolly to hand-raise the pastry, then introducing jelly to protect the meat inside.

The finest locally sourced ingredients and Mary Dickinson’s techniques continue to be passed down through our passionate team of bakers. These award winning hand-crafted pies are baked in the Shoppe daily and taste as good as they always have.”


Leicestershire-Britain’s ‘capital of food’

Last week I went up to Leicestershire to see friends who have moved to a lovely estate not far from Melton Mowbray. Melton Mowbray advertises itself as Britain’s ‘capital of food’, by virtue of it being the epicentre of pork pie and Stilton production. One might add that it is lush grazing country, and we ate a wonderful leg of local new season’s lamb.

Before I caught my train home we had a stroll round the town. The only sign of any particular gastronomic awareness was Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, where I bought a hand-made Dickinson & Morris pie. Later I saw a busy-looking butcher who had raised his own pies, and that might be a good place to start next time. A good pork pie must have crisp, savoury pastry made with lard and a nice, peppery filling surrounded by a thin strip of gelatin.

The Dickinson & Morris was a good (if expensive) pie, but a little short on the pepper.

Lunch at the Italian Cultural Centre in Belgrave Square

On the 12 th there was an exciting lunch at the Italian Cultural Centre in Belgrave Square to flag the annual June brodetto festival in Fano on the Adriatic Coast.
Brodetto is an encyclopedic fish soup which is served as a main course. Fishermen use the fish that has been damaged by the nets, so ingredients vary. I was careful to poke around a bit to find out what they had cooked: mackerel, skate and calamari, and good chunk of something nobler like bass or monkfish. I made some at home using mackerel, prawns, vongole clams and a big slab of cod, together with onions, tomatoes, vinegar and garlic. The soup is actually served with no more adornment than a big piece of bread rubbed with garlic: sacra simplicitas.

New Cocktail Menu at the Churchill Bar in Portman Square

Another memorable event was baptism of the new cocktail menu at the Churchill Bar in Portman Square on the 10 th . I launched my first book in this hotel 36 years ago and I have been fond of it ever since. The bar is plush and pleasantly low key, just the place to meet a good friend for a quiet drink; and the cocktails were superb.

When I wrote regularly about cocktails they were mostly recreations of the classics, and then a new, younger set of men and women arrived on the scene, who were hell-bent on creativity. Now we have spun out of the classic cocktail orbit in an attempt to introduce ever newer tastes and combinations. The six featured cocktails contained such rarities as chicha morada, chicarito, spiced chai, bergamot liqueur, orange yerba maté, ginjo umeshu, jungmai dalgnjo sake and a whole host of bitters to enhance the standard bases of rum, gin, vodka and brandy.

My favourite was Che Kizuna, which was the most serious of the lot. It was founded on Carlos Primeiro brandy but turned into nectar by the addition of Ancho Reyes red, Pedro Jimenez, Lapsang cocchi Americano and Peychaud and New Orleans Bitters.

The Churchill Bar & Terrace
30 Portman Square
London W1H7BH

+44 (0) 20 7299 2035



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Giles MacDonogh

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