‘Why can’t every week be London Wine Week?’, we ask. Returning for its third year, the organisers are promising to put an even bigger spring in your step from 23rd– 29th May with a jamboree of exciting ways to celebrate and explore the humble grape; from wine flights so expansive that you’ll feel as though you have levitated, trendy rooftop BBQs proving that wine is loved by young and old alike, and gourmet BYO banquets (some with no corkage charge!). And of course, there will be wine tastings galore – it’s basically a jolly good excuse to become a wino and a wine buff at the same time…
For example, Nyetimber, the original producers of the British bubbly we aren’t allowed to call ‘Champagne’ but which undoubtedly tastes a darn sight better than a lot of the stuff produced in France, will be hosting a pop-up (pardon the pun) at the base-camp of London Wine Week at Devonshire Square, a leafy oasis nestled between the City and Shoreditch. Wristband holders (you can purchase one via the LWW website in advance for £10) will be offered a flight of their award-winning English ‘sparkling wine’ for a mere £5. I foresee a rather English queue forming, but that shan’t deter me.
I also love the fact that the opening day coincides with my birthday, so please don’t expect me to come into work the next day. I am sorely tempted to ditch the friends and relatives in favour of disappearing down the cavernous basement of undoubtedly the greatest wine shop in the world, Berry Bros and Rudd of St James (like a Hamleys for adults) who are hosting a one-off banquet-style supper (£40 for three courses) with the option of either purchasing a bottle in store (wristband holders will be offered a 15% discount on all wines under £100) or bringing, or should I say dusting off, your own cherished vintage at no extra charge – heaven. If, like me, you’re rather daunted by the prospect of meeting a room full of wine snobs, the glass of sparking you will be welcomed with on arrival should help to oil the wheels. You’ll be like Robert Parker in no time.
Just when there is any danger of you or I getting too over-confident, the next LWW event on the radar (if we manage to get over the hangover of the previous one in time) is sure to put us in our place; the Honest Grapes Challenge taking place from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Brunswick House Cellars in Vauxhaull on 25th and 26th May (tickets £25), giving amateur aficionados the chance to be wine buyer for the day. Think you can tell a bottle of supermarket plonk from a priceless Margaux? After this wine tasting, you might not be so sure. Last on my agenda – yet just the tip of the iceberg of LWW events – Hedonism Wines in Mayfair will be hosting a Rothschild wine tasting from 6-7pm (free for LWW wristband holders) on 27th May, running through 6 glorious wines from a name that is synonymous with wine around the world. With over 170 years of pedigree, along with successfully helping to command a greater respect for new world wines, Rothschild is arguably the finest stable of wines today. Bottoms up!
London Wine Week 23rd – 29th May 2016, based at Devonshire Gardens with events and participating bars throughout the capital. For more information and to order your £10 wristband visit the website.