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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

RSJ's 30th anniversary in 2010

RSJ Restaurant

2010 sees the RSJ's 30th anniversary. We are planning a number of events tastings/dinners featuring some of our favourite Loire producers. We are now busy contacting growers and as soon as we have some definite dates they will be announced both on this blog and the RSJ website.

Nigel Wilkinson@work

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New à la carte menu

The new à la carte menu went on this evening:


Curried parsnip soup 5.50

Ravioli of grilled aubergine and basil, tomato sauce pesto, Parmesan 5.95 /10.95

Terrine of confit duck & duck livers, homemade chutney 6.50

Selection of Spanish meats, Manchego cheese, mixed olives 7.95 /11.95

Seafood ravioli, cauliflower puree, red pepper coulis 7.95 /14.95

Mediterranean vegetable terrine, Buffalo mozzarella,mixed olives and pesto 7.25 /10.95

WildWild mushroom tagliatelle, rocket, shaved Parmesan 6.95 /12.95

Wa Warm salad of marinated Denham Estate rabbit, endive, onion marmalade, anchovies 7.95 /14.95

Slow roast belly of Suffolk pork, broccoli, sweet onions, new potatoes, anchovy and walnut sauce 12.95

Roast halibut, Dutch finger carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, Parmesan and lemon dressing 18.95

Roast Scottish haddock, chestnut mushrooms, buttered leeks, ratte potatoes, sauce vierge 12.95

Dish of the day P.O.A

Seared Dutch calves liver, french beans, crispy bacon, mash potatoes, onion gravy 15.95

Roast loin of venison, brussel sprouts, parsnip puree fondant potato, juniper berry jus 19.75

Grilled British rib eye, French beans, chestnut mushrooms, dauphinoise, red wine jus 18.95

Desserts all £5.75

Spiced blueberry brulée, pecan shortbread

Sticky date pudding, treacle toffee sauce, clotted cream

Cinnamon and hazelnut cake, apple compote, calvados crème fraîche

Chocolate tart, coffee and Tia Maria ice cream

Iced prune and yoghurt parfait, oranges, langue de chat

Homemade ices and sorbets

Selection of cheeses served with quince paste and pressed fig and almond cake £6.75

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2008 vintage report on tasting: 23rd November 2009

2008: Cabernet Franc, Saumur-Champigny early October

The RSJ's 2009 wine events calendar concluded with our first detailed look at the 2008 vintage – five whites followed by four reds.

Once again 2008 was a Loire vintage where a fine autumn rescued what looked to be a pretty miserable vintage. Low points during the year included a severe early April frost in the Pays Nantais drastically reducing the crop and hail in parts of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire. August was cold and overcast but dry with temperatures rarely over 20˚ and usually too cool to eat outside in the evening. Fortunately the sun came out in September as the wind moved round to the east and there was fine weather until the end of October. Temperatures were never high with only a few days around 25˚. The harvest was late, particularly in relation to recent years when the harvest has been considerably earlier than it was traditionally.

Fortunately 2008 was a small crop, so that despite the temperature deficit during the summer the grapes were able to ripen properly and benefitted from a long hang time to full develop their flavours. Like 2007, 2008 is notable for its clean, precise flavours. The wines are generally fuller than those of 2007 and less austere, although the acidity is more marked than in years such as 2005 and 2006. There are some very good 2008 dry whites as well as demi-secs and good reds with more flesh than 2007. The top red cuvées, although few have yet been bottled, should have to potential to age some time. However, as far as sweet wines are concerned 2007 is well superior as the weather broke at the end of October, so the best of the sweet wines are light and charming. Generally to be enjoyed young and it's not a good idea to match them with desserts.



2008 Sauvignon VDP Val du Loire Domaine de Bablut, Christophe Daviau £8.50

We started with this Sauvignon Blanc from Anjou. Sauvignons from this part of the Loire tend to be richer with flavours of yellow plum and heading towards the exotic fruit end of the scale rather than the more citric, mineral notes from Sancerre and the other Central Vineyards. Appeared to hit the spot for a good number of the assembled company – some 30 strong.


2008 Saumur Blanc, Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers, Dominique Tessier £7.70
We served Dominique's lemony and quite austere Saumur Blanc by itself. I like its clean precise flavours but it is clearly not to everyone's taste as one taster found it green. This may take on some additional weight wit a little more time in bottle.

We served these three Sauvignons with the first course:

2008 Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine Roussely, Vincent Roussely £8.25
The RSJ started importing Vincent Roussely's wines earlier this year and Vincent has been a very successful addition to our portfolio of producers. This 2008 is a good combination of citric freshness and generous fruit with gooseberry and grapefruit flavours.

Vincent is involved in a scheme called Mes Vignes ( Through Mes Vignes you can buy 12 vines (or multiples of 12), follow the work in the vineyard, be involved in the harvest and then receive wine from your vines. Currently there is a video on the home page of Mes Vignes, which features Vincent.

2008 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors, Jean Tatin and Chantal Wilk £11.00
The Tatin's Quincy is often quite citric and lean when young and this is no exception – I expect it will take on more weight with a bit more time in bottle.

2008 Sancerre, Les Pierris, Domaine Roger Champault et Fils £11.25
From vineyards planted on Les Caillottes – limestone with very little soil. About 40% of Sancerre's vineyards are planted on this type of rock. The resulting wines are expressive young and tend to mature quickest of the three types of terroir in Sancerre. They are generally the first to be bottled. The 2008 Les Pierris has those citric and mineral notes typical of Sancerre.

Served with:
Seafood ravioli, cauliflower puree, red pepper coulis

Tasting the three Sauvignons without food the Quincy emerged as the favourite just in front of the Touraine with the Sancerre some way behind. However with food, the Sancerre leapt up to take top spot from the Touraine with the Quincy well down.



Again we served the first red by itself.

2008 Anjou Rouge, Château de la Roulerie, Philippe Germain £9.15
Philippe Germain has 24 hectares in Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné at the western end of the Layon Valley. These 24 hectares are split into 22 parcels, which I would have though are a nightmare to work, although they do spread the risk of hail and frost damage. The 2008 has attractive coal tar and sooty aromas – one of the characteristics of Loire Cabernet Franc – and is easy drinking.

Followed by three Cabernet Franc reds, all at domaine level as prestige cuvées are not yet available :

2008 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière, Baudry-Dutour £9.25
Pleasant easy drinking red from vineyards in the commune of Cravant-les-Coteaux planted on flat gravel land.

2008 Saumur-Champigny Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau £9.50
Drinking well now, easy drinking not a heavyweight. Régis has 84 hectares of vines mainly Chenin Blanc (38ha) and Cabernet Franc with one hectare of Chardonnay which is used in the Crémant de Loire.

2008 Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Les Rouillières, Frédéric Mabileau £10.30
The most structured of the four reds and the one with the most complexity and concentration. This ideally needs a little more time in bottle to round out, although it already works well with food. Frédéric now has 27 hectares of vines.

Served with:
Roast saddle of lamb, honey roast parsnips, broccoli, mashed potato, red wine jus

The Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil was the clear winner both without and with food. Not surprisingly given its greater structure the preference was even more clear cut with the lamb. Of the other two the Chinon was preferred without food, while the Saumur-Champigny took over second place with the lamb.

Pear and walnut tart with vanilla ice cream

Next tasting dinner will on Monday 18th January 2010 –
– a raid on Nigel's cellar.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

23rd November tasting: 2008 vintage – wines and menu


2008 Sauvignon VDP Val du Loire Domaine de Bablut, Christophe Daviau

2008 vintage at Roger Champult et fils



2008 Saumur Blanc, Domaine des Sanziers, Dominique Tessier

2008 Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine Roussely, Vincent Roussely

Jean Tatin checking the ripeness of Sauvignon Blanc@Quincy 2008

2008 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors, Jean Tatin and Chantal Wilk

2008 Sancerre, Les Pierris, Domaine Roger Champault et Fils

Served with:
Seafood ravioli, cauliflower puree, red pepper coulis



2008 Cabernet Franc grapes: Saumur-Champigny

2008 Anjou Rouge, Château de la Roulerie, Philippe Germain

2008 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière, Baudry-Dutour

2008 Saumur-Champigny Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau

2008 Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Les Rouillières, Frédéric Mabileau

Served with:
Roast saddle of lamb, honey roast parsnips, broccoli, mashed potato, red wine jus

2008 Pinot Noir, Sancerre (we are not actually tasting a 2008 Loire made from Pinot Noir but thought you might like to see a photo of some)

Pear and walnut tart with vanilla ice cream

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RSJ's Christmas 2009 wine offer

The following wines are a special selection from the extensive RSJ Wine list and are offered at a discounted rate until the end of the year. We have already put together a number of ‘mixed cases’ but please feel free to mix your own cases if you prefer.

To order: Tel 020 7928 4554 e-mail

A box for Christmas Day £ 55.00

1 bottle Crémant de Loire Brut, Domaine de Nerleux
Delicious sparkling wine made in the traditional method
from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.

2 bottles 2008 Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine du Clos Roussely
Stunning Sauvignon from a wonderful new discovery, Vincent Roussely.

2 bottles 2008 St Nicolas de Bourgueil ‘Les Rouillières’, Frédéric Mabileau
Lovely ripe and fruity with an excellent balance and flavour.

1 bottle Taylors First Estate Port


The Prestige case [6 bottles] £90.00
[A stunning collection of our vignerons top wines]

1 bottle 2005 Vouvray, ‘Clos du Portail’, Didier Champalou

1 bottle 2007 Chenin Blanc, Saumur, Frédéric Mabileau

1 bottle 2007 Bourgueil ‘ Racines’ Frédéric Mabileau

1 bottle 2007 ‘La Croix de Mission, Domaine des Rochelles, Jean-Yves Lebreton

1 bottle 2007 Chinon, Vieilles Vignes, Philippe Alliet

1 bottle 2007 Coteaux du Layon ‘Les Rouannières’ [50cl], Claude Papin

12 Bottles for the Festive Season £ 125.00

2 bottles 2008 Sancerre ‘Les Pierris’, Domaine Champault

2 bottles 2007 Château de la Roulerie, Chenin Sec, Philippe Germain

2 bottles 2007 Anjou Villages, Domaine des Rochelles, Jean-Yves Lebreton

2 bottles 2008 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière, Baudry-Dutour

1 bottle 2007 Bourgueil ‘Racines’, Frédéric Mabileau

1 bottle Crémant de Loire Brut, Domaine de Nerleux

1 bottle 2007 Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu, ‘Clos de la Soucherie’, Claude Papin

1 bottle Taylors LBV 2003 Port

Champagne & sparkling wine
Discount Normal
Crémant de Loire Brut, Domaine de Nerleux £9.75 £10.50

Vouvray Brut, Domaine Champalou £11.25 £12.20

Champagne J.P.Robert Brut £18.95 £20.50

Sweet Wines
The following selection of sweet wines go extremely well with blue cheese, foie gras
and various fruit desserts – why not treat yourself to a bottle or two this Christmas?

2007 Coteaux du Layon Cuvée Prestige, Domaine Ogereau [50cl] £13.85 £14.95

2007 Coteaux du Layon ‘Les Rouannières’ Château Pierre Bise, Claude Papin [50cl] £16.50 £17.85

2006 Quarts de Chaume, Château Pierre Bise, Claude Papin [50cl] £19.75 £22.50

Dry white
Price: Discount Normal
2009 Saumur Blanc, Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers £6.95 £7.70
Dominique Tessier’s lovely ripe Chenin Blanc has a good length
and is most appealing.

2007 Muscadet ‘sur lie’ Pierre de la Grange £7.25 £7.80
Pierre Luneau’s stunning Muscadets go from strength to strength
and this wine has real ripeness and excellent balance.

2008 Touraine Sauvignon, Vincent Roussely £7.50 £8.25
Organically grown from low yields, this lovely ripe Sauvignon
has much more concentration than most from this appellation.

2008 Sauvignon, Domaine de Bablut £7.90 £8.50
Christophe Daviau’s delicious organically produced Sauvignon
is ripe, elegant and has a lovely balance.

2007 Château de la Roulerie, Chenin Sec £9.95 £10.80
Now in the hands of the dynamic Philippe Germain, this famous
old Anjou property has gone through a transformation. This superbly
balanced ripe fruity wine goes well with lightly spiced and oriental food
as well as traditional fish and white meat dishes.

2007 Vouvray Sec, Domaine Champalou £9.95 £10.80
Didier Champalou’s delicious Vouvray has lovely ripe fruit
and great length. It is for wines like this that he is regarded
by many as one of the leading vignerons in this appellation.

2008 Chinon Blanc, Baudry-Dutour £10.25 £11.00
Although predominantly a region for red wines, a number of vignerons
have planted Chenin Blanc with great success, not least Christophe Baudry who has made a delicious ripe and well balanced wine.

2008 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors £10.25 £11.00
Jean Tatin’s delicious dry zesty and beautifully balanced
Sauvignon is now drinking superbly.

2008 Sancerre ‘Les Pierris’ Domaine Champault £10.50 £11.50
This classic Sancerre from the Champault brothers has a lovely
blackcurrant nose, ripe Sauvignon flavours and is beautifully balanced.

2007 Chenin Blanc, Saumur, Frédéric Mabileau £14.95 £16.20
Frédéric’s fabulous Chenin Blanc is made from old vines vines
which gives it a wonderful concentration and complexity.
It is fermented in oak barrel and was recently awarded the Liger d’Or.

Red wine
Price: Discount

2008 Saumur Rouge, Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers £6.95 £7.70
A ripe and fruity Cabernet Franc from Dominique Tessier – this
wine has an elegance and nice balance
2007 Anjou Rouge, Domaine Ogereau £7.80 £8.50
Easy drinking, fruity and with a nice concentration, Vincent Ogereau’s
latest vintage is fantastic value.

2008 Touraine Gamay, Domaine du Clos Roussely £7.50 £8.25
Delicious fruity Gamay from low yields grown organically
by this exciting young vigneron.

2008 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière £8.50 £9.25
Baudry-Dutour's lovely 2008 is packed with ripe fruit
- it has a glorious nose of violets and a lovely balance.

2008 ‘Les Rouillères’ St Nicolas de Bourgueil £9.50 £10.30
Frédéric Mabileau’s delicious 2008 is rich ripe and elegant
with an excellent balance.

2008 Domaine de Nerleux, Saumur Champigny £8.75 £9.50
The highly regarded Thierry Germain has made a delicious
Champigny this year, full of ripe fruit and charm.

2007 Domaine des Rochelles Anjou Villages £9.75 £10.50
Jean-Yves Lebreton has produced a wonderful wine made from
Cabernet Franc – it has a lovely concentration concentration and length.

2007 Bourgueil ‘Racines’ £11.95 £12.95
Frédéric Mabileau is recognised by his peers as one of the finest vignerons in the Loire valley and his 2007 Bourgueil, made from old vines, has lovely ripe fruit and a very good length and concentration enhanced
by careful ageing in oak.

2008 Sancerre Rouge ‘Les Pierris’ £10.75 £11.60
Delicious Pinot Noir from the Champault brothers with good balance and drinking well.

2007 Chinon ‘ Vieilles Vignes’ Philippe Alliet £15.25 £16.50
Stunning wine from very old vines and aged in new oak .Lovely rich and concentrated. Another fabulous wine from Chinon’s greatest wine maker.

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Winter at RSJ Restaurant

We have put together the following programme of wine tastings and Italian Sunday lunches for Winter 2009/10.

Jean Tatin tasting 2008 Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Quincy

Wine Tastings with Dinner (
3 courses) Start 7.15pm
Monday 23rd November ‘The 2008 Vintage’ £45.00
Reduced yields but producing wines with great maturity and breadth. With the notable exception of the sweet wines from Anjou, 2008 can be considered a better vintage than 2007.
Why not come along and introduce yourself to the delights of the 2008 vintage and taste some stunning Chinons from Baudry-Dutour (Christophe Baudry and Jean-Martin Dutour) as well as Jean Tatin’s terrific Quincy, the Champaults delicious Sancerre and various other delights.

Quincy 2008: small bunch of well ripe Sauvignon Blanc

Monday 18th January ‘ Cellar Raid’ £45.00
We will be tasting some wines from the RSJ archives – details to be posted on website in due course

Club discount applies to wine events. Don’t forget to mention your club discount when eating in the restaurant!

For reservations please contact: tel: 020 7928 4554
RSJ Restaurant 33 Coin Street London SE1 9NR


Ursula is a great enthusiast

Italian Sunday lunches at RSJ

Our winter schedule of lunches with the passionate Italian cook, prolific food writer and personality, Ursula Ferrigno, continues with the following dates at the RSJ Restaurant.
Starting at 1.00pm these events will include a glass of wine on arrival.
Sunday 22nd November ‘In and around Italy in 6 courses’ £30.00
Enjoy the Italians’ well loved dishes covering the length and breadth of Italy – full of diversity and a
great taste experience!
Crostine alle Olive - Umbrian Olives are famous and full of flavour –with Porcini mushrooms they make a delicious combination.
Rotolo di Spinaci – Emilia Romagna is well known for its pasta and as a gastronomical capital – fresh handmade pasta rolled with spinach & ricotta.
Polpetti di melanzane – Roman aubergines are special and this is a great example – herbs & pineuts with an infusion of mozzarella and tomato.
Costaletti di Tonno – Sicilian Tuna with capers, marinated with lemon and herbs, this has a classic sweet and sour flavour.
Cipollini alla Fontina From the Val d’Aosta – little onions with parsley.
Torino ‘home of chocolate’ – This luxury desert chocolate salami served with homemade ice cream using of course, Italian eggs.

Sunday 24th January ‘The Magic of Venice’ £30.00
A Venetian culinary experience – full details to be posted on the website in due course

We have a few places [strictly limited] for anyone who wishes to assist Ursula during the morning, making bread, pasta soup and sauces associated with these lunches.*
This will cost each person an additional £30.00 for this cookery tuition.

For reservations please contact: tel: 020 7928 4554
RSJ Restaurant 33 Coin Street London SE1 9NR

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2009 Loire: Christophe Daviau happy with result

Christophe Daviau checking Chenin Blanc in mid October 2009

I caught up with Christophe Daviau (Domaine de Bablut, Brissac-Quincé) on the phone this evening:

Christophe: "We finished on Thursday 29th October when we were still enjoying the summer weather. I'm very glad that we finished then as we have subsequently had quite a lot of rain. On the Friday it was still fine and summery but it got very humid on Saturday and we had rain on Sunday 1st November and we continued to have rain during this week.

Domaine de Bablut, Grandpierre Chenin Blanc 2009

Although we will obviously have to see what the wine is like once it has finished fermenting, I'm very happy with the Coteaux de l'Aubance. The last tri of Grandpierre was 19% potential. I'm also happy with the Anjou Blanc sec. For the reds the quality is good but it would have been good to have had about 10hl/ha more. I haven't done the calculation yet but I estimate that the yield for the red was around 30hl/ha."

Cabernet Franc destined for 2009 Petra Alba