Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Blacks: a London club with natural wine
I've recently revived my membership of Blacks , not on the basis that I needed a London club living out of town - useful though that is - but for the somewhat frivolous reason that they have an extensive natural wine list.
They probably did when I belonged to it a few years ago except no-one talked about natural wine in those days. The wine, chosen by Giuseppe Mascoli was always good though - usually from small (in capacity not size) Italian producers.
Mascoli is also the other half of Aubert & Mascoli who are one of the leading importers of natural wine and one of the participants in the recent Natural Wine Fair. He also created the highly successful mini pizza chain Franco Manca.
Most of the current Blacks list is now organic and a number of wines sulphur free including the very attractive and reasonably priced Terragno Dolcetto, Colli Tortonesi from Valli Unite we had at lunch today. (It could have done with being a shade cooler but when we asked if we could have an ice bucket they mysteriously brought along a bucket of cold water without ice. Maybe they regard ice as unnatural?)
They also produce a very well-designed free newsletter called The Carafe with profiles of their producers and - this appears to the food and wine matching geek in me - suggest pairings for each course on the main dining room menu.
The place is wonderfully raffish and decadent. I love it.