By Brett Jones
Wine travel is possible right in the heart of London now, for hidden away behind Trafalgar Square is a little piece of Continental Europe named ‘Terroirs’ … not a vineyard it’s true, but a splendid new wine bar, where the staff smile when you arrive, are friendly and very knowledgeable.
We visited just before Christmas and started with a glass of Albert Mann Alsace Riesling from the very decent selection of wines by the glass on a fascinating list of natural wines from ‘Britain, France, Italy and Spain’. Part owned by the excellent importer Les Caves de Pyrène, a visit here is a great opportunity to discover interesting wines accompanied by small dishes.
With our ‘first courses’ of creamy polenta (a delicious surprise), and squid and clams cooked with ham we drank Maremma Rosso IGT Principio 2007 from the Ciliegiolo grape variety grown on the hillsides just inland from the Tuscan coast; its juicy, cherry fruit was a fine match especially with the polenta.
The wine list is predominantly French and we had toyed with the idea of an obscure Loire red from the Grolleau grape, but were advised that it wouldn’t be the right wine for the next dishes we had ordered – a great touch: the sommelier brought us a taste of the wine to try before taking her advice. In full agreement, we remained in Italy, this time from Trentino in the north east, the indigenous Teroldego Rotialano 2006 from Foradori. Its pure full bodied fruitiness went well with our rich dishes; my black pudding served on a couple of fried eggs in a pan was terrific and the spicy piperade with chorizo was tasty.
A great place to relax, eat and drink good wine, Terroirs is well situated between the Strand, Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square. Indeed if Lord Nelson atop his column diverted his seaward gaze he would smack his lips!
With the current dollar and euro exchange rates, London is an ideal place for a wine lover to visit with innovative wine shops, bars and restaurants. Wink advises that one day we will do a micro-region guide to ‘Around London’ including a couple of vineyards within easy reach too.
Terroirs Wine Bar, 5 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DW
Tel: 020 7036 0660
Closed on Sundays