A fine wine lunch at Chez Bruce: Chave, Jamet, Chapoutier, La Mission, Montrose and others

One of the great pleasures in life is a good lunch with plenty of wine, shared with nice people. These are notes from a lunch at Chez Bruce, one of London’s top restaurants, with Keith Prothero, Greg Sherwood and Neal Martin, to which we all brought a bottle, supplemented by a starter white from the list. We tasted all the wines blind, and notes are written without knowing the wine’s identity.

A note on Chez Bruce: for me this is one of London’s finest restaurants. A beautiful blend of classic and modern, with a relaxed formality (if that is possible). It’s high-end and service is spot on. This is what we ate:


Thorne and Daughter Rocking Horse Cape White Blend 2020 South Africa
13.5% alcohol. 35% Semillon, 28% Roussanne, 11% Chardonnay, 15% Chenin and 6% Clairette. Bruised apple, white peach and spice, with a touch of honey and marmalade. There’s also some lime here. Nice acid line: very fine and pure, with a sense of richness but also precision. 94/100

François Buffet Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2013 Bourgogne, France
Elegant, with a sweet core of red fruits: cherries and strawberries. There’s some spice, too. Delicate and expressive with lovely precision, but also some richness. Silky texture, showing real elegance and purity, and it’s quite beautiful. 97/100

Château Montrose St-Estephe 1989 Bordeaux, France
Earthy, spicy and dense, this is a structured wine with some age. Intense, showing rich, bold blackcurrant fruit with a slightly ashy edge to the sweet black fruits. Earthy and dense with a hint of mint. Quite a bit of evolution here. 95/100

Château La Mission Haut Brion Graves 1999 Bordeaux, France
Vibrant and tannic with bold sweet black fruits. Black cherry dominates with grippy, grainy tannins in the background. Lots of structure here with some development, showing nice focus. 96/100

JL Chave Hermitage 1988 Rhône, France
This shows some development with notes of earth, spice and iodine as well as black cherries, blackberries and herbs. Shows nice firm structure and good complexity, but also quite a bit of age here. 96/100

Jamet Côte Rôtie 2001 Rhône, France
This shows earth, spices, tar and spice with some meatiness and a saline edge. Fine with a slight animal wildness under the cherry and blackberry fruit. Developed and grippy. 94/100

Chapoutier L’Hermite 2013 Hermitage, France
Fresh but firm, this is dense with bright berry and cherry fruit with some tannic grip. Very firm, showing black cherries and even blackcurrant, with a little bit of reduction and lovely density. 95/100

Mullineux Olerasay 01 NV Swartland, South Africa
A remarkable solera-style sweet wine, this was the first release. Complex, spicy and aromatic with marmalade and grapefruit, honey and spice, apricot and lime. Very fine, complex and spicy with great intensity. 96/100

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