The Loire tour begins, in London: Sager & Wilde, Noble Rot, Le Gavroche


The Loire tour begins, in London: Sager & Wilde, Noble Rot, Le Gavroche

Sager + Wilde
Sager + Wilde

I’m on a tour of the Loire with three Canadian friends. Wine agent Nicole Campbell, and Toronto sommeliers Krysta Oben and Lexi Wolkowski. We began in London, with a day of eating and drinking.


We began at Sager + Wilde on Hackney Road. Two wines, both of which hit the mark. The first was the remarkable La Reine Chardonnay from Domaine Labet in the Jura. This is a truly beautiful wine. Then we had the Beaujolais 2015 from Julie Balagny, which was really bright and juicy with some meatiness and a bit of feral character that fits right in. Very drinkable. We also had some nice food, including a full set of the Sager + Wilde toasted sandwiches, which are pretty epic.

Noble Rot
Noble Rot

Next stop was Noble Rot. So exciting to be back, and two lovely wines. The Vino di Sasso is brilliant: a Robolo from Cephalonia in Greece. So beautiful, from limestone soils. And the Trigone from Le Soula was fabulous: all bright and juicy with a dancing mass of red fruits.

Le Gavroche
Le Gavroche

Then out to dinner at Le Gavroche, hosted by Mark Walford of Le Soula. I didn’t know in advance that we were going to Le Gavroche, so I had to pop in to Uniqlo to buy a jacket and smart shirt, to meet the dress code. This is such an important restaurant for London: it opened in 1967, then became the first London restaurant to receive one, then two and then three Michelin stars (it lost the third in 1993).

Le Gavroche is old school, with lots of soft furnishings and a serene, stately feel. The food was excellent. We were given a quick kitchen tour with Michel Roux, who is charming and gracious (Mark is a regular here). The cooking was spot on, including an incredible cheese souffle (top right) that was perfectly executed. Gulls eggs on artichoke heart (top right) was a very interesting dish: it’s hard to get gulls eggs.

We drank well. Larmandier Bernier Champagne to start with, then Le Soula Blanc 2008 and Le Soula Rouge 2006, finishing off with Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle 2004, which was delicious and in a good place. I like the Le Soula wines a great deal. This was a perfect start to the trip.

Loire Valley Road Trip

4 Comments on The Loire tour begins, in London: Sager & Wilde, Noble Rot, Le Gavroche
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

4 thoughts on “The Loire tour begins, in London: Sager & Wilde, Noble Rot, Le Gavroche

  1. I once had a gulls’ egg dish as a starter at Le Gavroche: two eggs, artichoke, and a large spoon of caviar. Utterly exquisite, but by a long, long way the dearest starter I’ve ever had: £75 about 15 years ago

  2. The dish top left looks like the Roux brothers Soufflé Suissesse, which the family have been cooking for years, not just at Le Gavroche but elsewhere. I had it at Greywalls, a restaurant in East Lothian with Roux origins/associations, a few years ago. I confess I thought it pretty disgusting, like cheesestrings melted on meringue, but I suspect Michel Roux himself might have made a much better job of it.

    I am looking forward to seeing who you visited in the Loire.

  3. My grandfather collected gulls eggs for the table of the Essex marshes. I remember taking one to school and being told off, they were protected even then. Never ate one though.

    He used to shot redshanks too, but that was all in the depression.

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