Those who aren’t familiar with London wine merchant Latimer Vintners perhaps owe it to themselves to make its acquaintance. It’s not just its service and wine list that stand out, it’s also starting to put on some extremely desirable winemaker dinners.
The first is taking place at Koffmann’s at The Berkeley at 7pm on Thursday September 18, and will showcase the much-sought-after wines of Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste. The evening (£160 per head) is also hosted by Emeline Borie, whose father François-Xavier has owned and run the brilliant Fifth Growth for more than a decade.
In many ways, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste remains very much an insiders’ wine, beloved of aficionados. One reason for that is its sheer style and quality. A quintessentially elegant and complex Pauillac, “GPL” (as it is affectionately known) invariably punches above its weight in both the best and the most challenging vintages. And though by no means cheap, it is always good value. (Alas, in Bordeaux these days that tends to be a rare combination.)
The evening begins with a welcome glass of Bollinger, followed by three courses of Koffmann’s sublime cooking, which will be exquisitely matched with six vintages. These include the great 1995, 2000 and 2005. However, the pièce de résistance will be the GPL 1990, poured from a magnum. It was one of the top wines of the vintage and is easily of Super Second quality.
Coming from Gascony, as well as being passionate and knowledgeable about the great wines of Bordeaux, Pierre Koffmann is unquestionably the perfect chef for this dinner. Moreover, his cooking is really for people who love to eat food rather than worship it. Equally, Grand-Puy-Lacoste’s wines are for proper, passionate collectors and drinkers, as opposed to wine investors and label hunters.