In his review for Country & Townhouse magazine wittily entitled “The Highlands Go Haute”, Richard Hopton praised head chef Mark Donald for bringing aspects of the distillery into The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant, including the “wonderful, malted barley sourdough bread, which reproduces in edible form the essential ingredients of whisky”.
Another example, concerning the bar aspect, is the peated new make martini, stirred with umeshu. The Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery (1763), was purchased by the Lalique Group and Dr. Hansjorg Wyss, owner of the Californian Halter Ranch winery, in March 2019.
Located beside the river from which the distillery draws its water supply, and with mountain views, the dining room, with touches of the local tartan, is lit by glowing Lalique chandeliers while wines are served from Lalique Versailles decanters. These rest upon chilled Carrara marble bases, meaning there is no need for an ice bucket.
Head sommelier Julien Beltzung, whose motto is “Take care of, and learn from, the people around you”, first worked at Lalique’s Villa René Lalique restaurant while studying hospitality, segueing to Hôtel & Restaurant Lalique at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes, followed by a year in Hong Kong at Somm and Amber at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
Beltzung is proud of every single bottle on his 500-bin list, especially so the impeccable-of-origin collections of Latour, Mouton and Pétrus brought from the personal cellar of owner of Lalique, Silvio Denz. And then there are the wines of Dr. Hansjorg Wyss’ Halter Ranch Vineyard, Paso Robles.
“We also have the biggest selection of Alsace in Scotland, it being the home region of Lalique,” he says. “So, you can have Alsatian wines served by an Alsatian sommelier in hand-blown Alsatian stemware.”
With Scottish langoustine ceviche with caviar, wrapped in buttermilk taco with yoghurt, dashi, tuna gel and leche de tigre by head chef Mark Donald (formerly of Edinburgh’s Number One at The Balmoral), Beltzung pairs Junmai Daiginjo 45, Keigetsu from Kōchi Prefecture, “which I discovered while in Hong Kong”. The result, he says, is “dry, fresh and floral”.
To read the full Wine List Confidential 2022 guide, pick up your copy here.