St. JOHN has always had a cautious attitude to fashion. As Fergus says, “Cooking is constant; trends come and go.” Trevor takes much the same approach to wine, his all-French list favouring the timelessly delicious over what he suspects might be faddish.
France offers him a massive playground in which to frolic. He works with winemakers from various regions, generations and disciplines, with wines that range from classic expressions of well-known grapes and terroirs to the more obscure and surprising.
The Cotes Catalanes – a pocket of the Haut-Roussillon defined by its exposure to opposing yet complementary winds, temperature extremes and schiste soil, resulting in rich, mineral, almost tannic white wines – is no exception, not least Domaine Olivier Pithon in the village of Calce. St. JOHN's Head of Wine, Victoria Sharples, described his Macabeau-Grenache Gris-Grenache Blanc blend Lais Blanc 2017 – named after his ageing pet cow – as “savoury, beguiling and Burgundian in style”. This saw some raised eyebrows from die-hard Burgundy devotee Fergus, but it indicates the calibre of wine that this unflashy young winemaker in this less-establishment French wine region produces.
Trevor recently added three Pithon wines to the list – one the new vintage of Lais Blanc, and a new red (Olivier Pithon 357 2016, a 100% Carignan well-suited to accompanying cooler days and warmer meals) and his D-18 white 2016, another complex blend of Macabeau, Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc grown on his most-prized slopes, aged in foudre barrels for 12 months and in bottle for six. It’s a long, textural wine boasting green autumn fruit, good now or in ten years, should you be able to wait that long.
As September comes to a close, so does the monthly focus on Pithon’s wines. All remain available on the list and to take away: constants, not trends.
Words by Mina Holland, photography by Elena Heatherwick