It’s been the fashion world that’s lead the way when it comes to changing our shopping habits and opening our arms to buying online. The ease at which one can browse (without elbowing anyone) pay (without queuing) try on in the comfort of our own homes and return an unsuitable item (without breaking a sweat) are some of the keys to the success of these youthful online boutiques.
But however much I rave about the beauty of online shopping wine is something I very rarely buy on the internet, a place that can sometimes be a haven for Del Boys of the wine world eager to flog you plonk that you have no idea whether you’ll enjoy. Luckily however the demise of the Thresher’s empire has bought about a resurgence of innovative independent wine shops together with a whole new philosophy of selling wine. Try before you buy is the mechanic and it’s going down a storm.
Vagabond Wines is one such example that has sprung up in Fulham and offers you the chance to adopt a failsafe method of buying wines so that “you’ll never buy a bottle without knowing what’s inside it ever again!” says the Manager. Pop into their store, buy the equivalent of a wine oyster card and like a kid in a sweet shop select to taste any of the 100 wines they have open every day of the week. Their excellent pocket sized wine notes and signage throughout the store will help you browse by wine style and take away the name of the wines you enjoyed so you don’t even have to commit the names to memory!
Buy a bottle or a case, taste now and have the wine delivered later, you name it they’ve thought of it. Once tried and tested you can wave goodbye to the baffling supermarket wine isle. Try before you buy, it’s so simple you’ll wonder why it’s not always been the case.
Miss Bouquet’s top tip:
Not sure where to start when you get to Vagabond Wines? Here are two must-try bottles that will get your taste buds into the swing of things. Domaine des Deux Roches St Veran ‘Tradition’ 2008 from an appellation that is too often over looked by its sexier neighbouring villages; rich, full bodied and vanillary with a refreshing acidity on the finish this is a classy white, 100% chardonnay, that you won’t hesitate to buy for £13.95. And for a fantastic pinot noir that would make a Burgundian blush sample Avalon Estate ‘Archangel’ Pinot Noir 2008 from Central Otago, NZ once you’ve tried it you’ll know why it’s worth every penny of its £22.45 price tag.
This article has been published in the February 2011 issue of The Notebook Magazine, Kensington & Chelsea.