I like buying wine to be more than a transaction. I want it to be experience where I can touch bottles, sample wine and chat to the experts on hand. Even better, if I can hang around and have some charcuterie and other small bites as well. And if I can admire the shop design as well, then DING! DING! DING!
So, hello then New Street Wine Shop, near London’s Liverpool Street, just opened by D&D London in The Old Bengal Warehouse, which dates from the 18th century. I went for a pre-launch sneak peek, and to sample some of the grower Champagnes they stock. (Growers make and bottle their own Champagne unlike the Grand Marques who buy most of their grapes in.)
We sampled six altogether, courtesy of Vine Trail. My favourites were Bérêche & Fils Brut Réserve (attractive red fruit nose, clean and herbaceous to drink with a touch of strawberries and cream), £36.50, and the biscuity, nutty, salted caramel Jérôme Prévost “La Closerie Les Béguines” 2008, £67 – the richest no dosage Champagne I’ve tried. I never said my tastes were cheap!
You could spend a serious amount of cash in New Street Wine Shop – it is in the City after all. But you don’t have to fork out huge amounts to sample some iconic wines. There are some Enomatic machines and, the night I was there, some impressive stuff ready to be hooked up for the first proper day of trading. You can also order bottles to drink on site – corkage is waived on Mondays and, until 31st October, is £4 per bottle at other times.
The New Street Wine Shop is one of three D&D outlets in the Old Bengal Warehouse. Next door is Fish Market, serving British seafood for lunch and dinner. Funnily enough, I wound up there a few days later for their launch party. Copious amounts of my current English fizz crush, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2007, spankingly fresh oysters and what Mr. SipSwoosh called Kentucky Fried squid. He meant that as a compliment of the highest order – because of the superb crunch of the batter. It tasted like it had fennel seed in it. It hadn’t. We checked.
Afterwards, we wandered to the Old Bengal Bar (part of the New Street Grill – slightly more formal, gentleman’s club-style decor) for an Espresso Martini. Lighter in body than I am used to, I was asked if I wanted sugar added – which was a nice touch (I didn’t). The bartender also shaved chocolate on top. The result was more like tiramisù in a glass. A divine pick-me-up.