London Top-3 Wine Shops

Well hello London! We meet again. Yesterday I stepped of the plane at Heathrow airport to a welcoming 18 degrees (C) and could feel I had come home. My days of actually living in London were short(ish), only one and a half years, but it always feels like the place I am supposed to be. This trip is going to be brief. We are here for two reasons; the main being a visit to London Cru, an urban winery in the heart of the city (Fullham), and the second being food. The rest of the trip, we intend on eating and drinking at nice restaurants. You might call it market research, but I would be lying if I would say it is not enjoyable. Who said work always needs to be boring.

Enough with the babbling. To celebrate my brief return to London, I thought I would bring back a list of my favorite wine-shops and hangouts in the city:

1. A trip to London would not be complete without a pop into the Sampler (the South-Kensington branch), one of the best wine-shops in town. Even if I am not buying, I love that they have a wide range of wines in the sampling machines as well as some sparklings by the glass. One can just pour a small taster into a Riedel Vinum and walk around the shop (or stand by the Champagne shelf drooling as I do it). Click here for a complete review of the Sampler from January.

2. The Winery is a small piece of Germany located close to Warwick Avenue tube. The shop houses a wonderful selection of mainly German, Austrian and French wines. If you are a friend of Pinot, this is the shop to come to for some interesting German Spätburgunder. We also found some wonderful Marie Noelle Ledru Champagne here the last time we visited. Her wines are only available in London through the Winery. Here is a full review of the Winery from January.

3. Our newest find is Vagabond wines. It is a fairly similar to the Sampler, a wine shop and sampling house. Vagabond is perhaps one step more towards being a bar than a shop and is quite crowded with afterworkers in the evening. The selection is also slightly heavier on Spain and new world wines while the sampler houses one of the best champagne selections in the city (grower champagnes I might add). Vagabond also has a nice amount of sampling machines for trying out different wines as well as wines by the glass. What I particularly enjoyed was their charcuterie board that could be ordered as a companion for the wines. Here is a post about Vagabond from our last trip in January.

There are many more shops that I like visiting, but these are my absolute favorite ones. Perhaps it is because you can have a glass of wine while shopping. All in all, I love the variety of shops in London and wish we could have such a selection in Stockholm. Perhaps some day…one can always dream.

Aussie Inspiration at Philglas & Swiggot

After five and a half weeks of travelling in Asia, we returned to a grey and cold Sweden yesterday. Regardless of the weather, it is great to be home – there is nothing like your own wine fridge. Before going back to business and some Singapore memories, I have a few reviews on London wine shops to share with you.

A few blocks off Oxford Street it feels very tranquil stepping into this small wine shop. Philglas & Swiggot used to have a clear focus on Australian wine (and to some extent also New Zealand) but the past years strengthening of the AUD has made it more tricky to sell Aussie wine (and other stuff from down-under) in the UK. So the selection has extended to other parts of the world as well, for example Italy, France and South Africa. The shop in Marble Arch is one of three outlets and I am yet to check out the others.

Service was really friendly and extremely knowledgeable and helpful (great recommendations for other wine shops to visit, this is how we found out about the German wine shop The Winery). The current selection of wine did however to some extent fail to excite me, probably because I am not very knowledgeable on Aussie wines. I only found a few things that really got me in to the buying mood: a German Riesling names Einz, zwei, dry (what a great name) and a Louis Barthelemy Champagne.  I also saw some Taltarni sparkling wine from Tasmania. It’s one of my old favorites, and although I did not see a good reason to drag a bottle all the way to Stockholm (as I have tasted plenty of samples), I am happy to recommend it to anyone who wants a good Aussie bubbly.

After visiting Philglas & Swiggot and spending some time in Asia (due to the proximity, a lions portion of the wine selection in shops was from Australia), I realized how poor my knowledge on Down-under wines really is. There are many interesting areas, like Yarra Valley making some good Pinot Noir and Barossa Valley with its Shiraz and not to mention Tasmania with some great Method champenoise bubblies.  I am still on my way learning about old world wines, but something about Australia tickles my fancy (maybe it’s the weather). A few days before we were due to fly back to Sweden we started discussing next years holiday plans (as one needs holiday plans), and Australia is climbing quite high on the list.