There have been a handful of highly impressive wine-orientated openings in London in the past year: Cabotte near Bank, backed by a consortium of Burgundy growers; Comptoir in Mayfair, the second such offering from Xavier Rousset; and Clarette in Marylebone, which has ties to Bordeaux’s Château Margaux. The grandest and most ambitious, however, must be Ten Trinity Square Private Club, which exceeds anything since 67 Pall Mall arrived two years ago.
A collaboration between Four Seasons, Château Latour (the first time this venerable first-growth has been involved in such a partnership) and the Reignwood Group (chairman Chanchai Ruayrungruang is a noted Latour aficionado), it is housed within Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square. The hotel opened in January and has 41 private residences, each of which comes with a private EuroCave holding 120-180 bottles.
The club’s interiors have been overseen by Bruno Moinard, who redesigned Latour for its 2014 reopening and has ensured a sense of continuity here. The Chairman’s Room sets the tone; one of the first of many distinct club spaces to open off a long corridor with a carpet “stained” with a wine-red rendering of Bordeaux’s River Gironde, it was once the offices of the Port of London Authority. There is patrician dark-wood panelling (much of it original) and rich leather furniture, but also bright modern art, lighter soft furnishings and plenty of natural light, creating an airier, more contemporary feel than its rivals in St James’s.
The club is managed by the experienced and affable Nigel Stowe (formerly of The Ivy Club, The Arts Club and Café Royal), and triple Michelin-starred Anne-Sophie Pic is responsible for the menu. Her Dame de Pic restaurant downstairs offers contemporary cuisine with Asian influences, but upstairs Pic prefers “the more classic dishes of her upbringing and forebears – in other words, more cream, more butter”, says wine director Jan Konetzki (former head sommelier at Gordon Ramsay Hospital Road), adding that her crayfish gratin, chicken breast “à la diable” Millesimé 1973, côte de boeuf and sea bream with aubergine tian make great foils to powerful, complex and sophisticated wines.
Unsurprisingly, the wine list favours traditional French regions, but has a good mix of renowned estates and lesser-known but overperforming small growers. The more traditionally affordable end is small but judiciously chosen (to be expected from someone of Konetzki’s pedigree), and even the more expensive wines do not suffer too badly from London’s normally egregious mark-ups. Maison Delamotte is the house champagne (£12.50 per glass), and for £12 glasses of wine the Côtes-du-Rhône from Domaine de Fontbonau and Domaine Sunier Morgon (Beaujolais) come highly recommended. For clarets, Château Siaurac (the under-the-radar satellite appellation of Lalande-de-Pomerol) is a solid buy at £59 (£14 per glass), especially for the underrated 2012 vintage. Also worth considering is a maturing bottle of 1995 Château Haut-Bailly (£185) – a wine whose reputation is very much on the rise – from Bordeaux’s Pessac-Léognan.
There is a trove of enticing burgundies: Chablis premier cru Côte de Léchet, Domaine Defaix 2015 (£65) and Morey-St-Denis Vieilles Vignes, Lucie & Auguste Lignier 2010 (£85) – most notably the sublime double magnum of Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Domaine Henri Boillot 2007 (£1,300) and Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, Domaine Armand Rousseau 2002 (£2,350). Homages to the Rhône (home to the original Dame de Pic) include maturing vintages from the great domaines of Graillot, Jamet, Rostaing and Chave, and yes, there is a smattering of Konetzki’s favourite Germanic whites and some reds from Italy, Iberia and the New World worth perusing.
Konetzki’s pride and joy is the Château Latour Discovery Room, which allows guests to concentrate on glasses, flights or an impressive library of Latour and other wines from the château’s owner Artemis Domaines. The highlight is a 29-vintage vertical of Latour in various large formats dating back to 1939, including the legendary 1959 (£10,000). All are ex-château, so the provenance is unimpeachable and condition impeccable, having lain undisturbed in the cellar from bottling until labelling and shipment to the club in February.
There is also a very rare opportunity to taste several vintages of one of the world’s greatest and rarest whites – Château Grillet, unquestionably the finest example of the Viognier grape and very unusually accorded its own appellation. The mature 2002 vintage (£35) is a particular treat. Konetzki says a wine ambassador’s role is primarily that of a storyteller, and the Discovery Room is the perfect theatre to hold an audience captive.
Open 7am until late, Monday to Friday; from 10am on Saturday and remaining so until members leave, the club also has a library and billiards room, and following a short closure in August there will be a cigar lounge too. The club will be fully open from September and applications are still being considered.
Tom Harrow is a fine wine commentator, consultant and presenter. His Grand Crew Classé is the ultimate invitation-only club for fine-wine enthusiasts, with exclusive access to rare bottles and events around the world. Follow him on Twitter here.