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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Loire vintage: Chantal Wilk and Jean Tatin (Reuilly and Quincy)

Chantal Wilk with the 2011 Reuilly Pinot Gris and Jean Tatin with the 2011 Reuilly Blanc

In early October we dropped in to see Chantal Wilk and Jean Tatin at Domaine du Tremblay. Chantal and Jean have vines in both Reuilly and Quincy. Their 2011 vintage had been more complicated than for Denis, especially in Quincy where they had been hit by hail on 2nd May. Quincy appears to be decidedly susceptible to hail as it often seems to be hit. Perhaps it is a question of storms travelling up and down the Cher Valley. 

Jean: "Between 12th July and the end of August we had 200mm of rain, so there was a real threat of rot. Yields for the Reuilly Rouge (Pinot Noir) is 50 hl/ha, while the Sauvignon Blanc for our Reuilly is between 50-55hl/ha. We picked the white twice – by hand when it was just getting ripe and getting rid of rotten grapes. Then later we went back to pick the ripe and healthy grapes later by machine. we picked between the 10th and 15th September."

'Our Pinot Noir in Reuilly come from a parcel in Preuilly, which the grandfather of my grandmother acquired in 1873. It is planted on gravel, so it produces a light red." In 2010 they planted some Pinot Noir on clay and limestone in the commune of Reuilly itself."   

"In Quincy only have 50% of a normal crop. One third of our vines were untouched, while in the remaining two thirds damage ranged from 30%-100%. The storm that hit us on 2nd May travelled across from the south west to the north west. We have only made 10-15 hl/ha in the affected parcels and didn't pick until later – at the beginning of October. The Sauvignon is around 12.7% alcohol with 5.5 acidity. Fortunately we had a good quantity of stock from the 2010 vintage which will make it easier to manage the shortfall in 2011."          

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RSJ tasting and dinner: cellar raid – 10th October

Pierre Luneau drawing a sample of his 2011 Muscadet: late September

Brief report on the event

1] 2010 Rose d’Anjou, Château de la Roulerie, Philippe Germain      

2] 2003 Muscadet sur lie  Le L’d’Or, Pierre Luneau £12.25
3] 1997 Vouvray Sec, Domaine Champalou, Didier Champalou

4] 1989 Montlouis Sec, Dominique Moyer

Cauliflower risotto with pan-seared scallops


5] 2000 Saumur Champigny, Domaine des Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain

6] 2000 Saumur Champigny, Terres Chaudes, Thierry Germain

7] 1996 Anjou Villages, Domaine des Rochelles, Jean-Yves Lebreton

8] 1989 Chinon, Domaine de la Perrière, Christophe Baudry

Featherblade of beef, carrots, green beans, mashed potato

9] 1995 Vouvray Cuvée Moelleuse, Didier Champalou                                   

A selection of cheeses

Tom King’s comments following the tasting:

L' d'Or 2003  was nicely balanced and still remarkably fresh.

1997 Vouvray Champalou was quite dark colour and ageing fairly quickly [a touch of maderisation]  - a '97 lacking the acidity of some other vintages.
(Jim: acidity was quite low in many 1997s.)

1989 Montlouis Moyer - 2nd bottle much better than first - still had a remarkable freshness and nice fruit.

2000 S/C Roches Neuves Domaine - remarkable! drinking really well with lovely balance and good fruit – the surprise of the evening.

2000 Terres Chaudes - very good - obviously more weight than above with good structure - a number of years ahead still.

1995 Anjou Villages Rochelles - wonderful sweet fruit - really delicious.

1989 Chinon Domaine de la Perrière - good but rather surprisingly overshadowed by other reds - showing signs of ageing and seemed to be just past its peak.
(Jim: perhaps not that surprising given that this is the easy drinking early bottled cuvee. A bottle of the Vieilles Vignes drunk in August was magnificent.)

1995 Vouvray Moelleuse - lovely balance - nice rich pure chenin - showing very well with the blue cheeses.


Monday, October 10, 2011

2011: un année des bonnes vignerons – sorting out the sheep from the goats

The Luneau family: Monique, Pierre-Marie, Marie Chartier (now married to PM) and Pierre

Early reflections on the 2011 vintage

There is no doubt that this is a complicated and for some a difficult vintage in what has been a bizarre year, which has seen some of the earliest picking dates ever.

There are likely to be wide variations in quality as well as considerable variations from region to region depending on when the grapes were picked as there were big variations in the weather during the harvest. This looks to be a vintage where the serious and good producers win out. 

The beginning of the growing season saw a very warm and dry March, April, May and early June. This lead to an exceptionally early flowering with some vines beginning to flower in the first ten days of May. Normally flowering takes place occasionally in late May and more normally in June. Comparisons were being made with 1893, which was an exceptionally early vintage. It looked like many areas would be starting the harvest from mid-August.

Despite predictions of a long hot summer, the weather went into reverse in July, which was cold and wet. August was little better, although there was a brief hot spell. This both slowed down grape ripening and brought the threat of rot.

However, some producers in Touraine including the Clos Roche Blanche (Friday 26th) did start harvesting early varieties like Sauvignon in late August.

A visit to Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire at the end of August showed that there was already rot in some parcels affecting both the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

September started unsettled. There was some very heavy rain on 3rd, which caused flooding in parts of Bourgueil and also affected Saumur. As is often the case it was fairly localized with Chinon, for instance, seeing much less rain.

Picking started in Muscadet at the end of August and in Sancerre/Pouilly from around 5th September.

Pierre Luneau (Domaine Pierre Luneau Papin) reports that they were badly hit by rot and had to be very careful and selective when picking – throwing about 30% of the crop away. Despite the problems the nascent Luneau wines were as impeccable as ever when we visited them at the end of September.  

In the middle of September the weather started to improve dramatically. The last ten days of September and in to the few days of October it was glorious with temperatures rising to 32˚C  – astonishingly warm for this of year.

This burst of fine weather changed the vintage for those who had been able to wait, in particular Chinon where many producers didn’t start picking their reds until around 26th September.

2011 looks to be very good for sweet wines in Anjou. We were in the Quarts de Chaume on 28th  September and the grapes looked magnificent – a mix of noble rot and passerilage. We saw Claude Papin picking in Chaume, where the grapes were already coming in at 26% potential alcohol. Claude told his pickers to include golden grapes that would be normally left to ripen later, so as keep the potential alcohol down a little and ensure that the wines did end up too sweet.

In Anjou many good producers were waiting until the first week of October to start on their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to give them time to ripen fully.

Christophe Daviau picked his Cabernet Sauvignon for Rocca Nigra on Monday and Tuesday (3rd and 4th) of last week and finished picking his Chenin last Wednesday (5th October). He will pick his Cabernet Franc for Petra Alba on Tuesday and Wednesday – and that will be it.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Italian Sunday lunch with Ursula Ferrigno: Sunday 6th November

Ursula demonstrating the art of pasta making

Sunday 6th November  - Autumn around Italy          £30.00
 [Date postponed from October 2nd]

Sweet & sour little onions with sweet black grapes served with Tuscan casa lingala bread

Light & luscious ravioli with herbs and pecorino [ from Sardinia ]

Swordfish cigars with caper and olive pine nuts in a light tomato sauce [from Sicily ]

Roasted vegetable salad with artichokes [ from Campania ]

A  selection of Cheese

Fig and lemon tart

If anyone would like to assist and learn from Ursula in the kitchen, there will be a limited number of spaces available at £30.00 a head.

For reservations, please contact:
Tom King
RSJ Restaurant
33 Coin Street
London SE1 9NR                   Tel: 020 7928 4554  e-mail: