Surely that is not Tottenham Court Road but the Champs-Élysées? Douglas Blyde almost had me believing we could see Paris when we arrived for his L’Hexagone (France) tasting on the 33rd floor of the Paramount building.
“If I didn’t have wine in France I would be gasping of a bottle of Tobasco. The wine is the sauce,” he says. This is one of my favourite ways to think about wine. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that – although we had some brilliant wine and food matches all evening. In particular, Ceviche with Cave de Turkheim Gewurtztraminer from Alsace. Did you know that the Vosges mountains in Alsace has the biggest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in the world?
I digress. We started off with a racy (my notes say, risky for some reason – let’s go with that) Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet. There is a growing sentiment amongst wine friends that Muscadet is most underrated and its time has come. Although we all like to feel that we can beat the system (so good! so cheap!) and you do get a lot of wine value for your money. It’s like the first breath of fresh air when arriving at the coast after too many months in London.
My favourite wine of the evening was not the Angelina-Brad Miraval Rosé (although it was onion-skin perfect – maybe too perfect) but from outside of the L’Hexagone: the Corsican red, Faustine. With a rather pale colour that defied its complexity, and smoothness that is nothing like the Corsican coast if this really was a sauce it would be light and spicy Tobasco (minus the heat, of course).
The rest of the evening became a bit of a blur as we all went to Quo Vadis for some cocktails – one called Mi Casa Su Casa… oh dear. It was two days before the event I had been organising with the Union de Grands Crus des Bordeaux for 105 Chateaux so I was a bit exhausted – but I am always happy to hear the sauce on our French neighbour, especially from the most saucy and stylish of storytellers, Douglas Blyde. (Can I say it, can I say it? Oh go on then) Ooh la la.