Friday 20 July 2007 11.01am
I'm a big wine-drinker (maybe too big - OK, confession over) and, although I buy much of what I drink at source or from the Wine Society and BBR and suchlike places, I'm always looking to buy wine on the hoof, so to speak. Apart from Waterloo Wines on Lant St, I'm a bit underwhelmed by the wine retailing in the SE1 area. Is there something I'm missing?
The Oddbins near London Bridge is pretty awful. The range is okay, but the wine is stored in conditions that seem to me to be too hot, with the result that a disproportionate percentage of bottles are "wrong" - corked, oxidized, etiolated, cooked. The management there may be decent enough about replacing bottles that are sub-par, but it's not a very satisfactory or indeed satisfying experience.
I've also patronized the various places at Borough Market
that sell wine. All seem overpriced to me, offering better than average bottles - but at higher than average prices. In any case, I like to talk to the vendor/merchant about his or her stock - new wines, the producers, the blend, maturity, etc. - and the people I've bought from at BM don't seem to have the appetite (or, admittedly, the time) for that sort of thing.
I'm aware of a place under the London Bridge railway arches, but have yet to make the trip there. Is it in fact retail, or is it a wholesale operation? And beyond that, is there anywhere locally I ought to be checking out that I've maybe overlooked?
Just to be clear, my tastes are mainly Old World. I'm quite interested in trying the unexpected - Israeli chardonnay, tannat from Urguguay, etc. - but I mainly drink French, Spanish and Italian reds and French, German and Austrian whites.