A wine dinner at Brawn, London, with some lovely wines

Website: https://www.brawn.co/

I hadn’t been to Brawn, a neighbourhood restaurant on Columbia Road in Bethnal Green, for ages. So it was great to join a few like-minded folk for a wine dinner there. We each bought along a couple of bottles and had some fun.

Actually, to call Brawn a neighbourhood restaurant does it a bit of a dis-service. With its two elegant dining rooms, and a kitchen that is serving up quite beautiful food, this is more of a destination restaurant. The wine list is excellent, too, veering towards the natural. Service is spot on and the pricing is very fair. Non-meat eaters are well catered for, too. I can’t recommend this place highly enough. Some of what we ate:


Charlie Herring Riesling Brut Nature 2017 Hampshire, England
11% alcohol. Another cracking wine from Tim Phillips. Bright, focused and linear with high acidity and some mineral notes. Tart lemons and apples with subtle nut and anise. 93/100

Domaine de Trévallon Blanc 2017 IGP Alpilles, France
13.5% alcohol. A blend of 59% marsanne, 18% roussanne, 11% chardonnay, 7% grenache blanc and 5% clairette from limestone soils. Textured and quite smooth with fine spices, minerals, wild herbs and some aniseed as well as ripe pear and peach fruit. Great balance here. 94/100

Fattoria San Lorenzo Il San Lorenzo 2009 Marche Bianco, Italy
15% alcohol. This is naturally made Verdicchio. Nutty, spicy and toasty with some apple and lemon characters. Has a vibrant spiciness and a touch of peachy richness. Real intensity here, and ageing very well. 94/100

François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés 2008 Loire, France
This is quite remarkable. It transcends Sauvignon, and is ageing beautifully and very slowly. Fresh, pure, mineral and taut with lemons and grapefruit, and lovely crystalline detail. Pure and fresh and really expressive, with some hints of pernod and wax. 95/100

Cara Sur Parcela La Totora Paraje Hilario 2021 Valle de Caligasta, Mendoza, Argentina
This comes from a 0.32 hectare parcel, which includes some 80 year old Criolla Chica vines. Colluvial soils at 1500 m. Fermented and matured in concrete eggs. It describes itself as a rosé but really it’s a pale infusion-style red. Redcurrants, red cherries and nice elegance. Linear and bright with great focus and precision, showing good acidity and real class. Quite remarkable. 95/100

Bendito Destino Field Blend 2021 Ribera del Duero, Spain
This is the project that Terry Kandilis is involved with, and he brought it along. It’s from old bush vines at 900 m on limestone soils, and the project started in 2020. ‘For me, the eye-opening experience was trying the Valubuena 3 anos,’ says Terry. ‘It’s just fruit, and it gave me the inspiration. This is 35% whole bunch and spends a year in barrel. Juicy, fresh and focused with bright black cherry and blackberry fruit with a slight lift. Fresh and supple with lovely raspberry and redcurrant fruit, with some structure, and a slightly tart finish. Lovely, and quite different to the normal Ribera style. 94/100

José Gil Parcela El Bardallo 2020 Rioja, Spain
José is one of the new wave of Rioja producers working in a more terroir-focused way, and this comes from a 40-year-old Tempranillo plot that has a bit of Viura in it, planted on a chalky clay-limestone and sandstone soil. It’s fermented and matured in 500 litre oak barrels. This is concentrated and fine with sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, as well as some red cherry. Ripe, sweet and textural with nice flesh. Textured and smooth, but quite elegant with it. 94/100

Vino di Anna Vigna Pirao 2021 Vino Rosso, Italy
Eric and Anna bought a 2 ha abandoned property on the northern slope of Etna at 1000 m, in Contrada Pirao. There were still some vines here, and they renovated these and planted new ones, all on their own roots. This 2021 is made from grapes that were untreated throughout the season (these vines had never been treated), but quantities were very small and the wine had a 10 day fermentation followed by ageing in 54 litre demi-johns, remaining on fine lees until bottling without filtration or fining in June 2022. Lively and bright with a slight lift on the nose, leading to a juicy, wild, linear palate that’s tapering and expressive. There’s some wildness here, but it’s a thrilling expression of high-altitude, volcanic wine. 94/100

Château des Tours Côtes du Rhône Reserve 2001 France
Sweetly aromatic with a malty edge to the cherry, plum and strawberry fruit. Ripe, rich, smooth and broad with cherry and plum notes. Bold, rich, warm and spicy. 93/100