RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Monday 8th June - ‘ Real Wine’ - Philippe Lubac £45.00

Philippe Lubac

We now have a list of the wines for Philippe's 'Real wine' tasting and dinner. All of the wines will either be from biodynamic or organic producers. Philippe is the the sales manager/wine buyer from Les Caves de Pyrene, one of the UK's most adventurous and exciting wine importers.

Sparkling Vouvray Brut, Pierre and Catherine Breton
The Bretons are best known for their Bourgueils and Chinons but are now making Vouvray from grapes grown for them under contract.

Pierre Breton


Pierre Luneau: September 2008

2007 Muscadet-de-Sèvre-et-Maine, Clos des Allées, Pierre Luneau
Pierre is widely admired as one of Muscadet's top producers.

Pierre can't believe that there is so little 2008 Muscadet – very badly hit by an early April frost

2007 Vouvray, Catherine and Pierre Breton
Jim was very impressed with this at the recent Les Caves de P tasting

Antoine Foucault

2006 Saumur Blanc, Domaine du Collier, Antoine Foucault
Antoine is the son of Charly – one of the famous Foucault brothers – and is making some stunning whites.

Sebastien Riffault

2007 'Akmenine', Sancerre, Domaine Sebastien Riffault
Sebastien Riffault is a young producer with a growing reputation in Sury-en-Vaux. His Sancerres could, however, be described as 'challenging'.


N.V Gamay d'Auvergne N.V. Jean Maupertuis
Almost certainly the first time a wine from the Auvergne has featured in an RSJ tasting. Jean Maupertuis is at Saint-Georges-sur-Allier, just south east of Clemont-Ferrand.

N.V. 'Le Cousin' Grolleau Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Cousin-Leduc, Olivier Cousin
Olivier Cousin's domaine is in Martigné-Briand, Anjou.

Thierry Puzelat

2007 Touraine KO 'In Cot we Trust' Thierry Puzelat
Thierry is a dynamic producer in Les Montils, close to Blois making Touraine, Cheverny as well as vins de pays and vins de table.

Thierry Germain in his vines: early October 2008

2008 Saumur Champigny Domaine de Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain
Thierry Germain's 'entry level' cuvée.

The order of tasting is still under discussion and the dinner menu will also be posted shortly.

There are still a few places available. To book your place, please contact Tom King or Nigel Wilkinson on 020-7928 4554 or

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sauvignon Blanc tasting@RSJ 11th May 2009

The main focus of this tasting was on Sauvignon Blanc away from the classics of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.

2007 Sauvignon Blanc, VDP du Val de Loire, Domaine de Bablut

Aperitif: 2007 Sauvignon Blanc VDP Val du Loire, Domaine de Bablut, Christophe Daviau

There was a welcome glass of Christophe Daviau’s Sauvignon Blanc. Coming from the western part of the Loire in Anjou this tends to be richer, rounder with an accent on tropical fruit – certainly less citric and mineral than the examples from Touraine and the Central Vineyards.

As we were a small group this evening we all sat around one large table in the basement of the RSJ. This was certainly a format that worked well on the evening with people feeling that they were able to contribute more easily to the discussion than when we have larger numbers. It may well be that this is an alternative format that we can offer from time to time, although the price may have to be a little higher to cover costs.

We started with three wines served blind. Not with the intention to challenge people to identify the wines but to answer one question – which of the three wines do you prefer.

2007 Les Pierris, Sancerre, Roger Champault et Fils

The three wines served blind:

2007 Les Pierris, Sancerre, Roger Champault et fils
The Sancerre had attractive weight and richness with the wine benefiting from a year in bottle.

2008 Sauvignon Blanc, AC Touraine, Domaine Sauvète
This was quite aggressively catty aromatically – some tasters also smelt elderflower – with a lean and lemony palate.

2008 Le Petiot, AC Touraine Sauvignon, Vincent Ricard
A little more concentration and weight than the previous wine with grapefruit flavours.

Of the three wines there was a preference by one vote for Le Petiot followed by the Sancerre and only one supporter of the Sauvète. All of the 2008s in the tasting are likely to take on more weight over the next three to six months. Most of them have only been in bottle for a short time.


Then we served the next three with the first course.

2008 Clos Roussely, AC Touraine Sauvignon, Vincent Roussely
This turned out to be the favourite Sauvignon Blanc of the evening with good richness balanced by a clean, grapefruit finish. This further confirms that Vincent is making some very good wines.

2008 Touraine Sauvignon No2, Clos Roche Blanche
Although well-balanced this has softer acidity than the other Sauvignons having gone through a malolactic fermentation.

2007 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors
Once again we could see the benefit of a year in bottle giving the wine additional weight and texture with a refreshing citric finish.

First course: Goats cheese, asparagus and red onion tartlet

The voting showed the Clos Roussely as the clear favourite, followed at a distance by the Quincy and then the Clos Roche Blanche. However, there was a general feeling that these three wines found it difficult against the sweetness of the red onion.


We paired two Sauvignon with the main course.

2007 Oneiros Domaine Sauvète and 2008 Trois Chênes, Vinccent Ricard

2007 Oneiros, Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine Sauvète
Oneiros is a step up in the Sauvète range from the straight Touraine Sauvignon. It has attractive gooseberry flavours and some richness.

2008 Les Trois Chênes, AC Touraine Sauvignon, Vincent Ricard
Recently bottled this needs time to open up, although concentration is apparent along with a mineral finish.

Main course: roast organic salmon, samphire, pink fir potato, roast courgettes and beurre blanc.

In the voting Les Trois Chênes was the clear favourite with several fence sitters in this round.

2008 Canaille, Gamay, AC Touraine, Vincent Roussely

Also tried with dinner 2008 Canaille, Touraine Gamay, Vincent Roussely. One of our frequent tasters remarked that a light red would be good with the salmon. By luck we had a bottle of Vincent’s Gamay that we had opened earlier to taste, so we were able to put this suggestion to the test. Indeed Vincent’s juicy, brightly red fruited and spicy Gamay went well with the salmon.

Dessert; iced ginger parfait, poached pear, chocolate sauce and almonds

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pierre-Bise wins Decanter Sweet Wine Trophy

Château Pierre-Bise

We are delighted that Claude and Joëlle Papin's lovely 2007 Quarts de Chaume, Château Pierre-Bise has won the Sweet Loire over £10 Trophy at the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards. This wine is a beautiful example of a 2007 sweet Loire at its best. It has rich apricot and citric fruit, great precision and purity so typical of 2007 and clean length. Delicious now it has an astonishing ageing potential.

Joëlle, Claude and their sons take extraordinary care in the vineyards. Claude is a real specialist on geology and terroir and is one of the region's great thinkers about many aspects of Loire wines.

Claude Papin

Although Nigel was a judge on the Loire panel and Jim is the regional chair for the Decanter World Wine Awards, all the wines are tasted blind and we have no idea what wines have been entered, so it was brilliant news when we got an advance copy of the Loire results on Monday.

The trophy is thoroughly deserved as the Papins make a lovely range of sweet wines from different parcels in the Layon, which are still very reasonably priced. The dry whites – Anjou Blanc and Saviennières – and the reds – remarkable Anjou Gamay and fine Anjou-Villages should also be tried.
The RSJ has long listed the wines of Château Pierre-Bise and we visit the Papins at least once a year. Also Claude and Joëlle have presented their wines twice here in the upstairs restaurant.

Across the Layon: October 2005

Now in only its sixth year the Decanter World Wine Awards has become the world's biggest wine competition with 10,285 wines entered this year. The wines are tasted by small panels made up of experts from the region whose wines they are judging.

Claude and Joëlle Papin
Château Pierre-Bise 49750 Beaulieu-sur-Layon
Tel: Email:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More to Loire Sauvignon Blanc than Sancerre?

Monday 11th May tasting and dinner

List of wines we will be showing and menu:

2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine de Bablut

Then three Sauvignons to be announced on the day

With first course
Goats cheese, asparagus and red onion tartlet
2008 Clos Roussely, AC Touraine
2008 Clos Roches Blanches, AC Touraine
2007 Domaine des Ballandors, Quincy

With main course
Roast organic salmon, samphire, pink fir potato, roast courgettes, beurre rouge
2007 Oneiros, Domaine Sauvète, Touraine
2008 Les Trois Chênes, Vincent Ricard


Iced ginger parfait, poached pear, chocolate sauce, almonds

There are still a few places available for Monday – more details here.
To book your place, please contact Tom King or Nigel Wilkinson on 020-7928 4554 or

Friday, May 1, 2009

Monday 11th May Sauvignon Blanc – a few places remaining

More to Loire Sauvignon Blanc than Sancerre?
There are still a few places available for our Loire Sauvignon Blanc tasting and dinner (£45) on Monday 11th May. Come along and see whether you really do have to pay Sancerre prices or are there some real bargains in places like Touraine away from the big names? We'll kick off with the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine de Bablut as an aperitif.

Christophe Daviau, Domaine de Bablut

Then we'll taste a number of wines including 2007 Quincy from Domaine des Ballandors, various 2008 and 2007 Touraine Sauvignons from the Cher Valley including Clos Roussely, Domaine Sauvète, Clos Roche Blanche and Vincent Ricard. The three course menu will posted shortly.

Domaine Sauvète (Monthou-sur-Cher)

Vincent Ricard (left) in his new tasting room

Vincent Roussely (Clos Roussely, Saint-Georges-sur-Cher) tasting his Cabernet/Côt

(Devotees will be aware that the RSJ is famous for its last minute changes, so it is possible that there will be slight tweaks to the wines between now and the night.)

To book your place, please contact Tom King or Nigel Wilkinson on 020-7928 4554 or

2009 Loire vintage (1st May)

It is, of course, ludicrously early to attempt to make any judgment on the possible quality of the 2009 Loire vintage. However, it is possible to say that things looking better at this stage than they did last year. Today sees the start of May and, so far, no part of the Loire has been hit by a devastating frost – unlike the Pay Nantais and other regions last year. This may be tempting fate as frost can strike in May but generally the risk decreases rapidly in May. Over the past 20 years the devastating frosts have always been in April. Furthermore the forecast on Meteo France for the next week showing night-time temperatures well above freezing.

On the other hand the very cold spell of weather right at the beginning of the year with temperatures as low as -13/14˚C was good news for the vines as a cold snap helps to kill off vine pests and illnesses. Since then it has been pretty dry, especially through February, March and April.

So a long way to go but, so far, a reasonable start.