WLC recommends: La Trompette, Chiswick

Douglas Byde visits Chiswick’s La Trompette and speaks to head sommelier Donald Edwards about how he made the switch from computing science to oenology, his “growing obsession” with minimal-intervention white Burgundy, and the rise of English wine.

Named after the trompette de la mort mushroom, Chiswick’s La Trompette has been described as having “a very appealing menu, enjoyable dishes and an unusually well thought out wine list” by local critic Andy Hayler. According to head sommelier Donald Edwards, who initially studied computing science before switching to viticulture and oenology, La Trompette is one of a very small group of restaurants which has allowed itself to “focus truly” on wine. “We are constantly hosting wine dinners, often with bespoke menus created by head chef Rob Weston, who brings a wealth of experience, having started out with Marco Pierre White before becoming the number two at The Square. Weston has ‘the humility’ to let wines take centre stage with pairings,” says Edwards.

Edwards, who worked at Ashdown Park Hotel, East Grinstead before moving to the newly opened Le Bouchon Breton, Spitalfields, later curating lists for Peckham Bazaar, Temper and St Leonards, describes his “deep cellar”, which shares space with home-cured salamis, as mostly classic. “I try to keep my purchasing a bit sensible when it comes to the more natural end of the world of wine – apart from my growing obsession with minimal-intervention white Burgundy.” Also expect maturing red Burgundy and Piedmontese picks, “which means that I can pull bins of things like Denis Berthaut Fixin Premier Cru Les Arvelets ‘14 and list it at a price that makes good Burgundy actually accessible”.

In more recent years, Edwards has become a fanatic of English wine,”which is in a uniquely interesting space at the moment”, he says. “There’s a fascinating bifurcation of narratives and directions which I very much doubt we’ll see again. I want to be able to show both the wonderful diversity of our traditional-method sparkling wines and the – already nudging at world-class – still Chardonnays and Pinots. While also giving list space to the parallel story being the older Germanic varietals, the first-generation hobby growers and the smaller less well funded but no less interesting plantings.”

When time permits, Edwards, who once scored against the Welsh lacrosse team, authors a vivid and insightful blog – Radical Wine Pairing (donalde.me) – and is an active member of the Woodland branch of the Pony Club in South Oxfordshire whose summer camps are held close to the Hundred Hills wine estate, vinous wares of which he stocks.

Score: 95 Value: 94 Size: 94 Range: 95 Originality: 95 Experience: 97

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