When I asked my friend why he wanted to go to the National Gallery to see this painting by Titian, he told me about how his manager had it on the wall when he first worked at Majestic. It is a magnificent painting, and if there is a shrine left to Bacchus, then this must be it.
Once upon a time, it seemed to me as if everyone worked in the UK wine trade had started out at Oddbins. Today the wave of people coming through the ranks are more likely to be from Majestic Wines. They have enviable wine training at Majestic. My friend no longer works there but had just finished his WSET diploma so we decided to throw out the rule book and head to Terroirs.
A few interesting bottles came out from behind the bar after the staff realised we worked in wine. Maybe our first question with the wine menu -“Where are your wines from Jura?” – was a bit of a giveaway….
NV Foutre d’Escampette Dne de L’Octavian, Jura
After the medieval paintings in the National Gallery, full of roaming lions and cherubs in the piazza, it is not too fantastical to imagine the taste of clouds in heaven: a sparkling Chardonny from Jura with a sherbert and melon character with a bubble that was closer to petillance than prosecco. As you can see (above), it is cloudy with a tiny amount of sediment.
AA Damijan Podversic 2008, Ribolla Gialla, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Venezie IGT
Diving straight in to the orange wines. Friuli is a hotbed for this style. A white wine macerated on its skins for 45 days (the standard being zero or limited) this is white wine handled like a red. With a texture as rippled as a chainsawed tree stump in the mouth, this was more like a campari digestif – it demanded to be drunk like a negroni.
Le Casot des Mailloies, Vin de Table de France, Ghislaine Magnier and Alain Castex
The brilliant sommelier at Terroirs brought this to the table for us to try. A dry white wine from Banyuls made from the Macabeo grape. You would never not want this wine in a WSET exam: Banyuls? Dry white? Erm, is it a….? Mental, in good way – this is the sort of wine I like to try at Terroirs. Thank you, Terroirs.
Cuvee de Drilles 2012, Domaine d’Escausses, Gaillac
My friend was excited about this wine so we got a bottle. This had all the plush fruit characters of natural wine but it was not soupy – extremely bright and cheery blueberry with enough tannic structure to snap back the attention over a few glasses. Well balanced and very good value (about £20 in a restaurant).