The trouble with wines by the glass….

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

El CaminoResearching for my latest wine column in The Notebook I was asked to write about New World wines. It may sound pretty unchallenging on the surface but believe me that’s about as broad as it gets. Where do you start? In the same way I solve most of life’s conundrums I suppose…. by opening the wine list. Bien sur!

The timing of my research coincided perfectly with a few hazy weeks full of friends, food and wine. You know me, it wasn’t necessarily in that order…. anyway, it’s been good, and it gave me plenty of opportunities to find the inspiration I needed. Lots of mini measures of wine by the glass meant I could taste a pallet load of different wines and still remember what I’d tried the morning after. Sticking to wines from the New World I tasted some great wines and terrible ones. Of note was a red I had at ‘409’ restaurant & bar in Clapham north called Miss Harry 2007. Produced by Hewitson Wines it’s a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. A close second was a hunky-chunky Pinotage from South African producer Beyerskloof that I had at Out-of-the-Blue bar in Wandsworth while catching up with ‘Lil Jo*.

The thing is it’s one thing trying these wines and wanting to tell you about them but unless you live around London and plan to go to the same places as me then my fingers are tapping tasting notes across your screen in vein. And this has got me in a bit of a tiz. It’s a stupid situation really, and one that the wine trade only has itself to blame. You see if you’re a restaurant worth visiting then you will never (ever) consider putting a high street wine on your wine list. Fact. This in turn means that if I want to tell you about a wine I’ve tried lately then I’m restricted to those I buy from a shop, open, enjoy and tap-up. Arguably not the hardest job to live with but! as a girl about town this will prematurely a house-wife make, not to mention that trying wines by the glass becomes a nonsense for you and me when you’re dotted around the UK and asking me for wine recommendations that you can buy and try.

So, where does that leave us?

For me I’m left in a position of clarity, one that has helped to reignite my passion and conviction for my Miss Bouquet seasonal wine collections. The collections will now evolve to include the latest *styles* that I’ve found being served in bars and restaurants across the country as well as recommending the high street interpretations that you can get hold of for your wine rack.

After all that it’s pretty short and sweet. What do you think? Will that work for you?!

Miss Bouquet x x

PS: If you’re interested I’ve discovered the following places around London which I would recommend if you’re ever in the area:

Las Iguanas – Latin American, Waterloo – www.iguanas.co.uk
Santa Maria Del Sur – Argentine Grill, Battersea – www.santamariadelsur.co.uk
Bedford & Strand – Bar, wine room, bistro, Charing Cross – www.bedford-strand.com
Aquum – bar & restaurant, Clapham High Street – www.aquum.co.uk
Out of the blue – kitchen & bar, Wandsworth – www.outofthebluebar.co.uk
Koha – restaurant & bar, Leicester Square – www.cafekoha.com
409 – restaurant & bar, Clapham north ( no website that I can find – its above the Clapham North pub and opposite Clapham north tube….)

PPS: If you’re wanting a hot off the rack wine recommendation then try Musica en el Camino 2007, Rioja DOC (pictured). This red from 100% Tempranillo is full of cranberry, red berry and chalky lavender sweets on the nose followed by fresh red berry fruit flavours, dried herby characters and some soft peppery spices on the finish. £7.99 from Oddbins.

* [‘Lil Jo is fine btw, she’s just moved house so Prosecco Monday’s are temporarily on hold]

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