189 St John's Hill

London SW11 1TH


The Food:

Rosemary bread & Lemon butter

Beef cheek arancini

Crab raviolo with tomato bisque; Josper grilled tiger prawns with chili butter; beef tartare with confit egg yolk

Monkfish with braised chicory, orange and carrot; roasted venison with savoy cabbage and red wine jus; Australian T-bone wagyu (1.3kg)

Charred broccoli and new potatoes

Pain perdu with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream

Slow-baked vanilla cheesecake with passion fruit coulis

The Wines:

2019 Walter Scott Chardonnay X Novo Vineyard 94
2017 Kutch Chardonnay Trout Gulch 92
2017 Ceritas Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard 88
2017 Ramey Chardonnay Estate Westside Farms 90?
2003 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge 86
1982 Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay 91
2019 Occidental Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard 93
2017 Ceritas Pinot Noir Hellenthal Vineyard Old Shop Block 90
2017 Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir 93
2020 Cathiard Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 90
2016 Pym Rae Cabernet Sauvignon 90
2007 Colgin IX Estate 97
2009 Dominus 93
2001 Dominus NR
1996 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon NR
1985 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Estate SLV      92
1985 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 97
1980 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Syrah Napa Valley 88
1973 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon NR
1964 L’Archiviste (Philippe Gayral) Banyuls 93
1965 L’Archiviste (Philippe Gayral) Banyuls 91
1966 L’Archiviste (Philippe Gayral) Banyuls 92

How do you wind down after an intense day of blind tasting?

Read Your Say?

Cocktails by the pool?

Maybe ambient music, Music for Airport, Selected Ambient Works Volume II, Kenny G?

Gluttons for punishment, straight after the annual Southwold tasting, we troop down to Hatched to drink more wine. Participants share bottles along a theme, La Paulée style, sometimes a mature vintage and other times, an alternative region or country. This year, the theme was California. It’s not my specialty. I never dealt with the wines in the formative days of my career, and we see far less on this side of the Atlantic. So, I was intrigued to see what passed muster because while Californian wines have a strong following over there, they remain comparatively more niche over here. While the performances of wines were unknown, one thing that was guaranteed was that owner and chef Shane Marshall would dish out some outstanding food.

Hatched owner and chef, Shane Marshall

Marshall previously worked at Tom Aiken and the private club 5 Hertford Street before opening Hatched in 2017. It is located on one of the main thoroughfares towards Battersea, one of those bolthole restaurants that you obliviously walk past unless a wine writer wrote a sentence like: Hatched is one of the best restaurants in South London…

Hatched is one of the best restaurants in South London.

Beef cheek arancini

It’s essentially a single room, perhaps a little narrower than the norm, with a small open kitchen stationed to your right that imparts a sense of bustle and busyness. You can easily walk over and watch every meal being prepped if you wish. The décor is spartan, with dark walls, wooden floors, Scandi-style chairs and tables. Some might find it a bit too spartanly furnished. You won’t find any cutlery neatly laid on the table - they are housed in drawers under your table, which I constantly forget. Just pull them out when you need another knife or fork. Its diminutive size means that it doesn’t take many customers to foment a lively atmosphere.

Josper grilled tiger prawns with chili butter

Marshall works with a small team, usually just one or two sous-chefs, plus a couple of waiters at most. His menu is broadly Modern European, packed with big flavors. Several dishes are etched on my mind: the succulent beef cheek arancini, those fiery tiger prawns or that mouth-watering crab raviolo.

Crab raviolo with tomato bisque

The highlight? The heavenly Pain Perdu with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream. It’s basically a big French spongy brick of loveliness, a guilty pleasure that uses up my entire calorie ration for the year. I’m not going to analyze every dish. Simply, they are consistently supremely well executed, a reflection of Marshall’s confidence in the kitchen. It’s not finicky food or star-bating fare. It’s delicious food that fills your tummy, delivered with just the right amount of flair.  

Pain perdu with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream

Let’s tackle the fermented grape juice because we waded through a trove.

We begin with a series of Chardonnay, not in California but up in Oregon. I fell in love with Walter Scott’s wines when I covered the region over a decade ago when I met Ken and Erica, plus their very young daughter. It warms the cockles of the heart that they have flourished since then (check out my colleague Eric Guido’s reviews). The 2019 Chardonnay X Novo Vineyard, which comes from Eola-Amity, has a subtle reduction on the nose that is actually reminiscent of a top-notch Mâconnais. The palate is crisp and tensile, quite spicy, with ginger and orange rind deftly interwoven towards the persistent finish. This will age beautifully in bottle. It sets a benchmark for the rest to follow… Jamie Kutch is another winemaker that I’ve followed for a number of years. The 2017 Chardonnay Trout Gulch has a tight and more backward bouquet than the Walter Scott, with grilled walnut and light sea spray aromas. The palate has impressive balance and builds nicely with aeration, revealing a mineral core that defines the finish. What can I say apart from a stylish Chardonnay from the ever-talented Kutch. The 2017 Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard from Ceritas is a bit of a let-down. Overtly tropical on the nose with pineapple and peachy scents, it doesn’t have the class of the preceding Chardonnays. The palate is, again, a little too tropical for my taste, with guava, pineapple and mandarin notes, though the finish requires more tension and delineation. Not bad, but it felt a bit predictable, and I have drunk better. The 2017 Chardonnay Estate Westside Farms from Ramey doesn’t quite knit together on the nose as I would have liked with beeswax and Conference pears, a little Muscat-like in style. The palate is much better, with freshly squeezed lime, nectarine and orange peel with a precise finish. The aromatics let this down, and I felt duty-bound to put a question mark against my score.

The 2003 Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge from Au Bon Climat was my own contribution to the soirée. However, this feels excessively mature on the nose despite its 21 years. It’s Sauternes-like with dried honey, white mushrooms and melted wax. It is a bit smudged and lacks tension. The palate has a resinous texture and displays a touch of oxidation that gradually strangles the finish and puts you off another sip. Bottles need to be drunk up. Not so for the next wine! The 1982 Chardonnay from Hanzell Vineyards is a gem. Quite Bordeaux-like on the nose with orange rind, fresh pear and a hint of chamomile, this displays remarkable vivacity, considering it is now over 40 years old. The palate has considerable weight and concentration matched by a keen line of acidity, hints of marmalade and quince behind the oily-textured, almost Aszú-like finish. This epitomizes the quality of mature Californian Chardonnay.

We then moved on to the reds and a trio of Pinot Noirs. The 2019 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard from Occidental hits the mark. A fresh and vivacious nose reminiscent of the Côte de Beaune, this is packed with cranberry and wild strawberry fruit. The palate is fresh and vibrant, with lace-like tannins and a tender and long, slightly tart finish that urges you back for another sip. This was the first wine that I had tasted from Occidental, and I was impressed. The 2017 Pinot Noir Hellenthal Vineyard Old Shop Block from Ceritas just lacked a little delineation on the nose, slightly overripe strawberry fruit mixed with a light smoky scent. The palate is armed with a pleasant sweetness that disguises the backbone underneath, powdery tannins with a finish that needs to dial up the tension. Not bad at all, though here it was outflanked by the preceding Occidental. The 2017 Estate Pinot Noir from Pisoni is delightful. Dark berry fruit, tea leaves and a touch of wild mint unfurl on the nose, all beautifully defined. The palate is ripe with a fresh line of acidity that maintains tension, and after a grippy entry, it dovetails into a tender, Burgundian finish. Classy.

The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon was the maiden vintage from Daniel and Florence Cathiard, better known for owning Smith Haut-Lafitte. Blackberry, cedar and wild mint appear on the nose, which is pretty tight initially. I appreciate how this gains precision with aeration. The palate is youthful and structured, perhaps a soupçon of Bordeaux in the mix (and why not?) It needs a couple of years, but there is breeding in this Cabernet Sauvignon. It should give years of drinking pleasure. It was interesting to juxtapose this directly with the maiden release from Alfred Tesseron of Pontet-Canet. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon from Pym Rae is named after the children of much-missed comedian Robin Williams, who originally owned the farm. Tesseron respectfully decided not to change it. I actually tasted this wine three times, here at Hatched and then twice more in Washington, DC, with Tesseron himself. Cassis and violets on the nose, this is quintessential Napa, as you would expect. I found it a little flashy, though I have it on good authority that subsequent vintages are more restrained and complex. The palate has plenty of blackberry and blueberry fruit, lush in style and thoroughly enjoyable. Glossy on the finish, I would actually afford this another year in bottle to lose some of that puppy fat.

Going up through the gears, we reach the fabulous Colgin’s 2007 IX Estate. Fresh, vibrant, exquisitely defined and almost pixelated on the nose, with just a hint of peppermint lurking in the background. The palate has real weight and heft, yet it is wrapped up in a lattice of filigree tannins and exudes precision and tension on the finish. I can be critical of California Cabernet blends sometimes; however, this is up there with Bordeaux First Growths. After a corked 1996 Harlan Estate (insert sad emoji here), we move to a pair from Dominus, owned by the Moueix family. The 2009 Dominus is very classy on the nose, with lifted black fruit, briary, hints of wild heather and freshly rolled tobacco. This seems to gain precision in the glass. The palate is beautifully balanced with white pepper-infused black fruit. It’s a powerful, almost burly Cabernet with a bit of sinew on the finish that is perhaps atypical for Dominus. Give it another couple of years because the class is tangible. Sadly, the 2001 Dominus was corked.

The 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate SLV from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has a classical, Bordeaux-inspired bouquet that is, in fact, cut from a similar cloth to that vintage on the Left Bank. Cedar and wild mint infused the red fruit on the nose, although curiously, with aeration, it becomes more austere, perhaps more like a 1986 Bordeaux. The palate is medium-bodied with a ripe, velvety smooth entry and hints of candied orange peel and menthol, something Cali’ old school suffusing this Cabernet. With its slightly medicinal finish, this is just a wine drinking beautifully now. The 1985 Monte Bello from Ridge Vineyards is fabulous, so fabulous that I parsed it out for a Cellar Favorite earlier this year. Moving back in time, the 1980 Syrah Napa Valley from Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a bit ‘dusty ‘n musty’ on the nose and also shows a touch of oxidation. The palate is missing some fruit at its core, quite simple in style and hampered by a one-dimensional finish. More of a curio than something I would be eager to drink. Alas, the much-anticipated 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from Heitz Cellars was out of condition. (Insert second sad emoji here.)

We finish with a 2005 Château de Fargues, though I will hold that back from a forthcoming vertical. There was also a 1965 Banyuls from L’Archiviste, Philippe Gayral’s venture that I have followed for a decade now. This bottling from September last year has a tertiary nose with a pungent fennel scent and a judicious touch of oxidation. The palate is fresh and vibrant, with candied red fruit intermixed with licorice and cassis, leading to a more marine-like finish. The 1966 Banyuls has a similar nose to the 1965; however, here, I found a touch more concentration on the medicinal palate, with tangy marmalade mixed with clove and thyme towards the finish that lingers in the mouth—just delicious and incredible value for money. Best was the final wine of the night, the 1964 Banyuls. Again, this is not dissimilar in style to either the 1965 or 1966. Still, here, one finds the most freshness and complexity on the palate with wonderful clove, Seville orange marmalade and Indian spices towards the finish. Excellent. Did I mention how these wines represent incredible value? I did? Well, no harm in repeating it.

Hatched comes strongly recommended. It might lack the luxurious accouterments you might expect from a restaurant. You could argue that it is stripped down to the fundaments: the quality of service and quality of food. Inconveniently, it is not located close to any tube station, off the beaten trek, so either grab a cab or give your legs a workout. Trust me, the Pain Perdu alone is worth it.

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