Here at the Club you may just think we’re indiscriminately into all great food and booze, but we’re actually quite discerning – and particularly passionate about food and wine that has a personal significance for us. Our menus are largely influenced by family backgrounds and travels – Simon and Lucy’s but also our whole kitchen team. Simon’s parents live in the Midi area of the South of France, Lucy’s father comes from the Bavaria, Emilio is half Italian, Melvin lived in Zanzibar and our whole team are great travelers and adventurers who love their foodie experiences.
Our kitchen develops our core menus and evening events based on the authentic, traditional cuisine of the countries and regions we have experience of but using local ingredients wherever possible. When it comes to drinks, our bar is no different! You might have noticed that our entire red wine menu, and all but one of the white wines, is from the relatively unknown, small vineyards of Gaillac. No coincidence that this is a just 30 minutes from Simon’s parent’s home. Our original idea, when the club first opened, was to start with a wine list that Simon and Lucy knew and loved and then in time to expand beyond Gaillac. Here we are though, five years later, with Gaillac wines proving so popular with everyone that the expansion plan wasn’t needed. It’s great to introduce people to a wine region most won’t be familiar with and for them to find a wine they love and can’t get elsewhere.
The wonderful climate and beautiful sunshine in Gaillac make for the ideal wine producing environment – the main reason Simon’s parents chose it as a base from which to enjoy a relaxed retirement. Last year, our very own Alfie bravely set out on a solo journey to the south of France, to join these passionate wine aficionados in Gaillac. Taking the train from Toulouse, he journeyed through beautiful rural France on a tour of ‘what seemed like every single vineyard’ in the vicinity!His mission was to find a delightful new high-end red for our menu, so he strapped in for the wine tasting marathon of a lifetime (it’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it). The result of all this arduous quaffing was his selection of Château les Vignals’ La Fauvette Rouge, a spectacularly rich and velvety combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. La Fauvette is the newest addition to our wine menu, and it’s really something special. It pairs amazingly with red meats, game and robust, spicy flavours (which we seem to do rather well at the Club) – why not sample a bottle when you’re next with us?
La Fauvette joins a selection of other beautiful reds on our wine menu, which have each been chosen on their own merit and their complementary nature for the food we serve. Each person has different tastes when it comes to choosing wine, so making the selection for a wine menu is no small task. Our wonderful house red is Vigne-Lourac’s Duras Cabernet, an easy drinking, juicy mix of Cabernet and Duras grapes. We’ve offered this wine by the glass as well as by the bottle for the five or six years we’ve been open, and it’s a consistent crowd pleaser – lovely on its own, or the perfect accompaniment to game, meats and cheese.
Next up is the 12 month-aged Cuvée Naîs from Domaine de Salvy – a robust and full-bodied Gaillac red with several awards to its name. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gaillac-specific Braucol grapes bring a fruity flavour that works well with red and white meats. Another prize-winning treat is Château de Mayragues’ Clos des Mages, where the robust Braucol grapes are tempered by the softer Cabernet Sauvignon variety, leading to an elegant wine full of dark fruit and pepper notes. This is a biodynamic wine, meaning it’s produced using farming practises that view the farm or vineyard as one organism – and they must be doing something right, as this is a very popular red for us.
Finally on for a special mention is Château des Saurs’ Réserve Eliézer, a slightly spicy and richly-coloured red wine that’s matured in French oak barrels for up to a year. Merlot, Braucol, Syrah and Duras vines combine for a flavour profile that’s really balanced, making Réserve Eliézer a great wine for enjoying with all meats, game and cheeses. The owners of this particular vineyard own a wonderful steak restaurant in nearby Toulouse, where a limited menu of Aveyronnais salad and entrecôte steak lets the wine really sing.
We’ll always be happy to talk to you about our wine selection, and to suggest the perfect wine to go with whatever meal you decide to order from our menu (or a steaky special, perhaps?). If you’re very lucky you might even get to speak to the man himself, Alfie… and if so, be sure to compliment his choice of La Fauvette!
If you’re interested find out more there’s a great article by John Couth right here about the Midi area wine and its link to our menu and his poetry.