La Dame de Pic London
The Four Seasons, 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ
WLC Rank : 23
Glass from : £ 7.50 (125 ml)
BEST FORA strong relationship with Champagne Billecart-Salmon
Wines of the Rhône
Pristine cooking by Anne-Sophie Pic
Anne-Sophie Pic’s London venture at the Four Seasons offers beautiful, precise dishes alongside a smart, Rhône-rich list by Jan Konetzki.
The triple Michelin-starred mothership of chef and restaurateur, Anne-Sophie Pic is located in gardens in Valence at the heart of the Rhône corridor, hence it seemed natural for Jan Konetzki, the sartorially noteworthy wine director of 10 Trinity Square, to focus on wines stemming from the mighty river’s banks at Pic’s elegant London outpost. “While I pondered the idea, a vast map of the river unfolded in my mind. From the glaciers, to the Mediterranean sea, there is so much to discover.” Konetzki, who feels, “we’re going to own the Rhône crown for the UK”, extols the diversity of what may be reaped. “There is everything from entry-level amazing value bargain finds such as Jacquère and Chasselas from the banks of Lake Geneva which are stunning and can replace a Chablis easily but cost half the price, to established, world-class, blue-chip wines such as Jean-Louis Chave Cuvée Cathelin Hermitage which can cost the same price as a bottle from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.”
As well as offering plentiful Rhônes, Konetzki highlights of vinous “Cousins” on his list, hence one “cousin” of the Northern Rhone, a Grüner Veltliner by producer, Frank Hirtzberger, is portrayed thus: “if Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous person from Austria, then Grüner Veltliner is the most famous grape variety. This wine is produced from the best vineyards with the greatest attention to detail. It is complex and age-worthy; reminiscent of the most well-known whites in the Northern Rhône.” And at the top end is “glamorous cousin” Penfolds Grange, described as “one of a kind,” and “inspired by the great hermitage hill of the Rhône… giving Hermitage a run for their money!”
Konetzki believes sommeliers are foremost entertainers, there “to ensure people have a good day out,” which is why he enjoys introducing other factors to the the investigation and appreciation of wine, such as offering a tasting of half bottles versus magnums at the restaurant, “which was a revelation for everyone, there being more intensity from a magnum, which is a slow burner, like a young artist compared to a neutral, soft half bottle.”
Dishes, inspired by Pic and realised by head chef, Luca Piscazzi (formerly of Aspleys at The Lanesborough, La Pergola, Rome, and Amber, Hong Kong) include signature starter of pretty, tiny hat-like “berlingots” pasta parcels, possibly filled with époisses-like St Cera spoonable, washed rind cows’ cheese from Bungay, Suffolk, which Konetzki matches with “intensely mineral, but not austere, Meyer lemon scented and nearly fresh yoghurt-like” barrel-fermented Albariño from 180 year-old-vines (Leirana ‘Finca Genoveva’, Bodegas Forjas del Salnés). This, he says, “lifts flavours and helps with the richness of the cheese.”
Although initially intended to cater for nearly 200 guests a day, the elevated cooking its clientele, which Konetzki describes as “gourmet tourists” have come to appreciate from this destination restaurant means it, in reality, treats, very well indeed, a maximum of half that number.
By Douglas Blyde.