Ours is an all-French wine list. When you’ve got all of France to play with, says Trevor, there’s no need to look further afield; they’re our neighbours and that proximity makes for better, closer working relationships. Today we list over 50 independent French winemakers at St. JOHN.
While you won’t find Trevor or Fergus turning down good Burgundy, our minds have been opened to south-west France since the beginning of this century. From our own label Boulevard Napoleon to several of our house offerings, some of the wines we are most proud of come from Languedoc-Rousillon in Occitane, a super region which produces more wine than Australia, New Zealand and Canada combined.
'Languedoc' means the language of the Oc, but if langue is French for ‘tongue’, and oc means ‘yes’ in local dialect, then ‘Languedoc’, is ‘where the tongue says yes’. It wasn’t always that way – certainly not when it came to wine. Trevor remembers the first pallet he bought from the Languedoc in the Nineties, relegated to cooking wine on arrival at the restaurant. He then brought Fergus here in around 2000, a trip on which “we had some shocking wine and some shocking food”. It was only when they tasted the wine of a vigneron called Bertie Eden, based in a little village called La Liviniere, that something switched. Trevor will never forget Fergus’s cautious first sip before he looked up from his glass and exclaimed, “Oh, thank fuck!”
As fate would have it, Benjamin Darnault, a young winemaker working with Bertie Eden at the time, would one day become our partner in making Boulevard Napoleon, also in La Liviniere. Like the original St. JOHN, Boulevard Napoleon is named after the road on which the winery sits. And while the London restaurant’s branding is nowhere to be seen in the village, Trevor is nonetheless referred to locally as “the pig”. Because of the restaurant logo, we hope.
Words by Mina Holland, photographs by Elena Heatherwick