“Opulent,” “Seductive,” “Luscious!”
Some of them foul and some of them appealing, yet all the above have been used to describe the occasionally baffling libation that is, wine. It’s easy to believe people are taking the Jean-Michel with all this overblown chat, but worth sticking in there because once you scratch beneath the surface, you’re in for a treat.
Wine requires a little patience before you can tell the jackin’ numbers from the more restrained, minimal stuff. Here’s a little heads up:
Aside from free tastings, the best place to drink wine is at home. Pub wine is rarely representative of what a good wine can be. The £18 Pinot Grigio you just drank at the pub was actually purchased for a fiver. Thanks to George’s hideous VAT and import duty, it’s actually worth less than a pound at source. Think about saving your pennies while taking a swim in the following paragraphs.
Buying wine is very much like buying records. Both are best purchased from independent shops [twatty but true], where you can expect to receive sound advice and an attractive choice of artisan goods. Can Richard bloody Hammond offer you a hand-harvested Malbec from Southwest France out of his crate of Morrisons shit? No, because that would make him COOL, which he is not.
You can listen to most records before you buy them, and now you can try a lot of wines beforehand too with the smart card system. Top up your smart card with money, pop the card into the machine, choose your wine, place your glass under the dispenser and away you go. This jolly invention allows you to try a variety of wines, starting at 90p for the lighter tipple to several pounds for the big hitters. Still, it saves you buying the whole bottle which might cost up to £100. Try Bottle Apostle in Hackney and The Sampler in Islington and South Ken.
Next time from the Wine Man: the consequences of removing a Dirty Martini from a perfectly adequate booze menu …