Last night I enjoyed the company of an old friend at Texture in Portman Street, near Marble Arch in London.
We drank Andre Jacquard’s Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs from Mesnil – dry and austere, but delicious. The sommelier was the delightful Swedish-born Erica Laler, who recently finished runner-up in the UK Young Sommelier of the Year competition. Well done Erica. She is studying for the Master Sommelier qualification under the tutelage of Texture’s co-owner Xavier Rousset, who I first met in October 2006 when he was working at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons. I have met him only a couple of times since but he always recognises me and remembers my name – an incredible memory. He is very good at what he does and thoroughly deserves all his success.
After my friend left for his dinner date I was settling down to finish the bottle of Jacquard when I was ambushed by three strangers – Adam, Jane and Deborah, I later learned – who invited me to share a bottle of Vilmart Grand Cellier, which was a totally different style to the Jacquard – heavily oak-influenced and oxidative, a gypsy dancer to the Jacquard’s ice maiden, as Adam put it. The ice maiden analogy is correct for the first wine but I think the Vilmart was more French matron than gyspy dancer – strict and rather heavy on its feet.