When it comes to natural wine recommendations and a trustworthy salesman are as important as they could be. Sure, there are quite a few producers I know now but even if I do their 2009 bone-dry Chardonnay might have quite a bit of residual sugar in 2010 as the fermentation stopped a little earlier. And one reason we love natural wine for is the unexpectable, that it’s not designed for expectations.With our current home in Shoreditch we are blessed with a few shops who actually have some naturals and solid to awesome consultation to offer. I’ve visited three this weekend.
1. The Fox’s Knockers
Situated on the famous Columbia Road The Fox’s Knockers is a tiny wine shop with a small but fine selection of conventional, organic and biodynamic wines. I felt well consulted and bought a bottle of Pierre Frick‘s 2009 Alsace Pinot Gris which I haven’t tasted yet. What I realised just before I left (and didn’t actually take advantage of but will next time!) is that they also sell a few wines directly from the barrel. You get a glass bottle for £ 2.50 (if I remember correctly) and a (re)fill for £5 to £8. One customer being in the shop as I asked had five bottles in his basket for refill and highly recommended using it. You surely will have to drink the wine within a week or two but that’s what it’s good for right? I liked the idea.
2. Printers & Stationers
I had seen the Printers & Stationers before and read about their wine offerings on their website so swinging by for a bottle was unavoidable. The little shop is in a side street of Columbia Road and transforms to some kind of a deli café on Flower Market Sunday. A small but also fine selection of mostly reds and an o.k. consultation made me buy a 2010 Ottavio Rube Rosso from the Valli Unite cooperative. Which I had last night. It’s a blend of Merlot and Dolcetto, dark and intense but besides neatly balanced. A good body but not overwhelmingly full. Rich tannins but doesn’t slow down drinking and is fairly smooth. Slightly sweet dark cherries and the unavoidable salami flavour. Would buy it again, specifically to serve as a perfect barbecue wine.
3. 259 Hackney Road
The best shop for natural wines in London. Although focussed only on French wines the selection is comprehensive and simply outstanding. The shop is situated (as the name suggests) at 259 Hackney Road as had been around for almost two years. Florian Tonello and Milena Bucholz spent time in San Francisco as the natural wine movement was just about to start in California. We can be happy to have them in London offering wines which are really hard to get somewhere else. For example an whole bunch of wines from Pierre Overnoy who is one of the superstars of natural winemaking, a legend. I took a deep breath and afforded a 2010 Chardonnay which I will drink maybe tomorrow and write an extra post about it. Drinking a wine like that is an event.
I also got a nice white from the guys behind P-U-R which was their 2011 Bourgogne Aligoté. Very visibly unfiltered. A nice nose of Williams Christ pears, a really strong acidity backbone, a bit herbal. I felt it could have shined more with the right food pairing but a nice summer wine definitively.
Any wine-shops in London you think we should visit before moving back?