The first ever London venue to which Bordeaux first growth Château Latour has attached its name, Ten Trinity Square Private Club, will officially open its doors in September. The venue’s head sommelier, gives Imbibe a sneak peek into what members can expect…
Ten Trinity Square is thought to be the first London venue officially connected to a Bordeaux first growth since Château Haut-Brion opened The Pontack’s Head – a tavern where luminaries such as John Locke and Jonathan Swift frequented – on Abchurch Lane in 1666, soon after the Great Fire.
The wine operation for this unique collaboration between Latour, property developer Reignwood and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will be overseen by former Gordon Ramsay sommelier Jan Konetzki. He takes up the role after seven years in the head sommelier role in Ramsay’s three Michelin-star Chelsea restaurant.
While insisting that his biggest challenge is 'always yet to come', Konetzki – who will also curate the wine list for the adjoining Four Seasons Hotel, as well as acting as an ambassador for Château Latour and its holding company, Artemis Domaines – is relishing what he expects to be his most creative role to date.
'It’s definitely a big challenge from many aspects,' he tells Imbibe. 'The beauty of it is that I have the chance to write my own role because I have been given a lot of freedom to make the club an exciting place to be and also to make my own London translation of what an ambassador for Latour and Artemis should be in the UK.'
'Being seven years in a three-star Michelin restaurant is quite a challenge in itself,' he adds. 'The highest level of service and having the ambition to have everybody leaving with the best restaurant experience of their life means every day is a challenge. Every day you have to prove yourself and you have to constantly improve.
'A lot of that I bring into the members' club and to Ten Trinity as a whole – the attention to detail which I’ve learned over the years in UK hospitality.'
Designed by Bruno Moinard, the exclusive Ten Trinity Square members’ club is set within the former headquarters of the Port of London Authority in Tower Hill. The club has been shaped around the boardrooms and executive offices of the original PLA building.
One of its central attractions is the Château Latour Dining experience, with wines complemented by food from three Michelin-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic. Being the first time that the Pauillac first growth has lent its name to such an enterprise, it’s unsurprising that the château is handling its image carefully. As Konetzki explains, it is not just a case of stocking the wines and using the Latour name – operationally the château will be closely involved too.
'Latour is very much involved in everything – when we talk about menus, changing food, changing the wines…,' he says. 'Also, we have members of the team coming for wine dinners we’re offering – for example, Frederic Engerer, the CEO of Latour and Artemis Domaines, joined for the first Latour dinner which we had here [the club is currently in soft-launch phase], where we enjoyed wines down to 1887 with a group of our members.'
I think sometimes sommeliers are like the hairdressers of hospitality. You have to get it right for each individual guest who comes in.
The Latour experience at Ten Trinity Square promises to be the best available outside Pauillac. The club’s Château Latour Discovery room will feature the biggest selection of Latour wines available outside the château’s cellar, with vintages going back to 1939, from demi format up to imperial. The selection will feature the classic vintages – for example ‘59, ‘61, ‘82, ‘90 and 2000 - but also wines from 'slightly magic' cooler years, Konetzki says. Vintages down to 1982 will be available by the glass, he adds.
Ten Trinity Square will also host a monthly ‘1885 o’clock’ event – billed as an 'homage' to the classification of Bordeaux first growths – where members who sign up will be treated to dinners at which special vintages and formats of Latour will be opened and discussed. 'The more people sign up, the bigger the bottle we open,' Konetzki promises.
The club wine list will also feature an unrivalled selection of wines from the other prestigious estates in the portfolio of Artemis Domaine the holding company for Château Latour. These are Château Grillet from the northern Rhone; Domaine d’Eugenie in Vosne-Romanée – a domaine established from the acquisition of the vineyard holdings of René Engel in 2006; and Eisele Vineyard in the Napa Valley.
'The wines of these estates are a key factor for the club because we have access to all the cellars,' Konetzki says, 'so all the wines have perfect provenance, have never travelled, even back vintages we get they are coming from the cellars and then are freshly labelled and shipped to us in pristine quality. Many of these are available by the glass.'
'A total of 85 wines from what, initially, will be an approximately 500-bin list, will be available by the glass, encouraging members to step beyond their comfort zone when choosing wine – a factor central to Konetzki’s approach as a sommelier. He describes it as an 'eclectic' list, with classics from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, along with Italy and Rieslings, Spätburguders and Grüner Veltliners reflecting Konetzki’s Germanic background, a number of more 'nerdy' references, and wines representing his particular passion for wines of the Iberian peninsula.
Konetzki will lead a three-person sommelier team including Melody Wong from Hong Kong, former sommelier at Dinner by Heston, and Clémence Guillet from France, who moves from a sommelier role at Rivea by Alain Ducasse. With all preparations now complete for this unique venture, Latour’s new London representative is relishing to chance to bring his experience and personality to the role.
'I think I bring a lot of my own character in,' he concludes, 'which is maybe not the classic expectation some people have towards a sommelier. I think sometimes sommeliers are like the hairdressers of hospitality. You have to get it right for each individual guest who comes in. You have to read between the lines, and if you’re lucky you win a guest for life with a good suggestion and personal service.
'I think if you get that right, if you are breaking down a little bit their prejudices and you apply yourself to each guest and at the same time know what you’re doing on the food and the wine, that’s what makes you a great sommelier. That’s something which I try to bring in and something which I share with my team.'
Ten Trinity Square Private Club is taking membership requests now and officially opens on 1 September.