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Buying Wine in London
Buying Wine in London

London. A city of history, culture, rain, expensive hotels and spectacular wine shopping opportunities. Whatever your motivation for travelling to London, it’s worth leaving some time in your schedule to visit its leading wine shops! Here list some for reference:

Handford (South Kensington)
105 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LE
Tel: 020 7589 6113 Fax: 020 7581 2983
Location map
Nearest tube: South Kensington

A short walk down the Old Brompton Road from South Kensington tube, Handford's new shop, which used to be home to iconic merchant La Vigneronne, is a worthwhile destination for any wine lover. There's still a strong Southern French selection – including some small-production gems sourced directly by previous owners Mike and Liz Berry – but the coverage is now broader, if a little less focused than it used to be. Portugal, Italy and Burgundy are strong, while South Africa excels. Lots of interest here, and you can forgive the slightly high prices when you see the depth of the range.

Strengths: Languedoc, South Africa, Burgundy, Italy, Portugal

Must buys (this is based on La Vigneronne stock):

Domaine Mouton Syrah, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes 2000 (£6.95)
L’Esprit de Fonte Caude 1998, Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux (£20)
Domaine Gros' Noré 1999 Bandol (£14.95)
Niepoort Redoma 1999, Douro (£24.99)

Fortnum & Mason
181 Picadilly, London W1A 1ER
Phone: 0207 7348040 Fax: 0207 437 3278
Opening hours: 10–6.30pm Mon–Sat; 11–5 pm Sunday
Location map
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park

With its genteel, slightly old-world atmosphere, buying wine at Fortnum & Mason is a very civilized process. The wine department is spacious, well laid out and the broad range, numbering some 1200 wines, is superb. Prices are fairer than you might expect for a high-end department store. My only gripe is the absence of any information on the shelf, which means you have to pick each bottle up to see the price.

Strengths: Burgundy, Germany and fortified wines

Must buys:

Chateau Leoville Barton 1996, St Julien £55.00
JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Sp?tlese 1999, Mosel Saar Ruwer £21.00
Xavier Copel Primo Palatum Cahors Classica 1999 £15.50
René Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2000 £36.00
Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée-St-Vivant Grand Cru 1998 £185

400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB
Phone: 020 7318 3730 Fax: 020 7491 1880
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 10 am–8pm, Sat 9.30am–8pm, Sun 12pm–6pm
Location map
Nearest tube: Bond Street or Oxford Circus

Once you’ve finished shopping in Selfridges’ wonderful food hall, spend some time browsing the wine department, rather awkwardly located in a corner of the main store. There’s plenty to catch the eye here, with a list that is strong in every department: lots of mouthwatering names to get any semi-serious wine nut salivating. Prices are higher than normal, but this is forgivable in light of the breadth and quality of the range.

Strengths: Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, Rh?ne, Loire, Spain, South Africa, California

Must buys:

Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 Napa £99.00
Andrew Will Pepper Bridge Sangiovese 1999 £19.50
Seresin Chardonnay 2001, Marlborough £10.99
Jermann Vinnae 1999 Venezia Giulia £13.75
Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2000 £14.50
Alion 1998 Ribera del Duero £26.95
Jean Louis Chave Hermitage 1999 £125

La Réserve
56 Walton Street, London SW3 1RB
Tel: 020 7589 2020 Fax: 020 7581 0250
Location map
Nearest tube: South Kensington or Knightsbridge

Set in the middle of a smart residential area, La Reserve has a glittering range, with the old world elite rubbing shoulders with the best of the new. The main drawback is the poor value for money: prices are pretty frightening for some of the top bottles. But then you get stuff here you wouldn't find elsewhere, and the local residents are loaded.

Strengths: Burgundy, Bordeaux

Must buys:

Domaine Courbis Cornas 'Champelrose' 2000 (£20.95)
Sylvain Cathiard Vosne Romanée 1er Cru 'Les Malconsorts' 1999 (£38.95)
Brokenwood 'Graveyard' Shiraz 2000, Hunter Valley (£41.95)
Bodegas Mauro 'Vendimia Seleccionada' 1996 Vina de la Tierra (£37.95)
Trimbach Riesling 'Cuvée Frédéric Emile' 1997 (£24.95)

Also worth visiting:

Handford Holland Park
12 Portland Road, Holland Park, London W11 4LE,
Tel: 020 7221 9614 (small, friendly wine shop with an interesting selection - Holland Park tube on the central line)

Harvey Nichols Ltd
Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ Tel: 020 7235 5000 (large department store with plenty of high-end wines - Knightsbridge tube)

87–135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL Tel: 020 7730 1234 (world-famous department store boasts a range strong in the classics - Knightsbridge tube)

Jeroboams A chain of shops around the capital boasting a tidy range with some real interest. Branches include 50-52 Elizabeth St, SW1W 9PB; 6 Pont St SW1X 9EL; 96 Holland Park Avenue W11 3RB; 20 Davies Street W1K 3DT; 77-78 Chancery Lane WC2A 1AE - see for details of their range.

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Tags:London, UK, Italy

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