As an alternative destination, we headed to Noura Piccadilly, base of Nicolas Angelina. The manager, Joseph, not only accomodated us, but joined us for the first session in order to understand what Nicolas had been banging on about for weeks. We also had the benefit of selecting wines from Noura's own wine list - one that had been compiled by Nicolas.
We were pairing white wines with still waters:
- Gruner Veltliner, Hopler, 2006
- Stella Bella, Margaret River, 2006, Western Australia - Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc
- Chateau Ka, "Source Blanche", 2007, Lebanon - Muscat, Sauvignon, Semillon
- Chateau Ksara, Cuvee du Pape, Chardonnay, 2006 - 12 month French new oak
As I have stated repeatedly, I am of the belief that we must add value to restaurant go-ers, particularly where water is concerned. The aim of 'Minerals & Terroir' is to make accessible the knowledge that the appropriate choice of waters can actually enhance the experience of the wine - which will have an impact on the food.
No one will know this better than a sommelier, and I awaited Olivier's opinion with eagerness.
The tasting brought an unlikely 20 points for the Tasmanian Rain allied with the Gruner Veltliner. Olivier felt that it ehanced the minerality and complexity of the wine, in a way that the wine alone could not acheive.
We also began to see a trend, in that the English Well water that had previously been shown to enhance the Petit Bourgeois (Sauvignon Blanc) also enhanced the Stella Bella and Chateau Ka - both containing Sauvignon! Additionally, the Danish Artesian which had previously enhanced the Knappstein Lenswood Vineyards (Semillon), also enhanced the Chateau Ka, containing Semillon.
Joseph remarked on how he was very surprised at the extent to which the waters affected the wine - and admitted that he had previously thought that Nicolas was going a little mad!
Olivier's opinion was that prior to attending, he had no pre-conceptions of what to expect, as he didn't really feel that water would have a significant impact on wine. Having sat through a tasting of four wines and eleven waters, he was quite curious as to the new understanding that he had reached about the previously ignored combination of wines and waters. He also requested that he attend future tastings also
In my opinion, since Olivier is a respected sommelier in a top London destination, this is a definite tick in the box from an individual who, after the tasting session, could appreciate the commercial relevance of what we were proposing, in addition to the experience-enhancing quality to offer his customers.