The Bordeaux invasion of London – continued
London has always been a Bordeaux friendly wine hub and the Bordelais love London back, always happy to come over and share their wines with Londoners. As early as 1666 Arnaud de Pontac, then owner of Château Haut Brion, sent his son to London to open The Pontac’s Head, a tavern where they served the Chateau wine. He created a trend amongst the smart 17th century London set for ‘The New French Claret’ as compared to the lighter Clairet and established the ‘Graves de Bordeaux’ as their go-to wine well before the Wines of the Medoc dominated the market. This was possibly the first example of direct wine marketing and the first French bar.
The trend continues; I reported on 110 of Taillevant when it opened and Château Latour have recently created a new club in the Four Season at Ten Trinity Square, London, with the wonderful Anne Sophie Pic’s ‘Dame de Pic’ restaurant that I have yet to try but I did recently test-drive another new London venue.
Clarette opened in Spring this year (2017), in a beautiful half timbered Marylebone townhouse, Clarette is the project of a young generation of wine lovers with deep Bordeaux roots: Alexandra Petit, of the Château Margaux family and restaurateur Natsuko Perromat du Marais (the Perromat family are from the Graves) are in partnership with Thibault Pontallier son of the much missed director of Château Margaux, Paul Pontallier.
The building lends itself to an atmosphere of private dining upstairs with its different nooks and crannies, with an impressive wine display in the private dining room. The large communal table on the ground floor lends a more informal atmosphere. Wines by the glass are served with sharing plates in front of a fireplace. On warmer days the terrace is perfect for people watching.
The wine list is French focused, as you would expect, but not all the bottles are Bordeaux, or even French, with an eclectic by the glass selection starting from around £5.
If you are planning a visit to Bordeaux, Clarette will give you a perfect taster while you wait.