*** An introduction from Barbican resident Sommelier, Erin Summers
I might be a bit biased as I’m the Wine Curator there, but Hithe + Seek has to be one of the most exciting openings in the City of London.
Located in the newly opened The Westin London City, Hithe + Seek is overlooking the River Thames. I’m in charge of everything wine, so I obviously think the wine list there is pretty special. We recently opened down on Upper Thames Street at the end of last year, and although I’ve met a few of fellow Barbican residents there, it would be great to meet more of you!
For my three wine suggestions in this edition of Barbican Life, I’ve picked wines I serve by the glass, in an attempt to try and get some of you to come and visit us at Hithe + Seek!
I absolutely adore English sparkling wines, so why not start off your evening with us with a glass of Leslie’s Reserve Brut from Balfour, a fantastic winery based in Kent. We recently hosted a wine tasting here where we poured a huge range of their still and sparkling wines, but their Brut has to be one of my favourites. Made in the same way as Champagne, it’s a fantastic alternative and it’s always good to stick local. Predominantly Chardonnay, with a bit of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris too, it’s definitely my go-to drink when the sun’s out.
For my white wine suggestion, it has to be Fórra from Alois Lageder, situated in Alto Adige in Italy. Manzoni Bianco is the grape, which is a crossing between Pinot Bianco and Riesling so expect the flavours and acidity from Riesling, with a little extra body from the Pinot Bianco. It’s also a biodynamic wine, and the winery use some very interesting techniques to care for their vines and wines. A particular favourite of mine is a process whereby the fill a barrel of water and manure, get a bit stick and swirl it round one way, swirl it round the other until a vortex is created. This vortex is energy, and so spraying this mixture over the vines brings energy to them! Music by the composer Bach is also played to the barrel, and he is the master of harmony, and this is believed to bring harmony to the wines. Whatever your view on these practices, Alois Lageder make truly fantastic wines, full of purity and expression, so they are certainly doing something right!
And finally for a red, something a bit different. Pheasant’s Tears is a winery based in Georgia founded in 2007 by John Wurdeman and Gela Patalishvil. Most of their wines are pretty out there for people who haven’t really discovered natural/organic/biodynamic wines yet, but their Quinta is a perfect introduction. It’s a blend of Tavkveri, Shavkapito, Danakharuli, Goruli Mtsvane and Chinuri (don’t ask me to repeat these if you visit the wine bar!) so all local varieties. The name of the winery – Pheasant’s Tears – comes from a Georgian tale in which the hero claims that only a wine beyond measure could make a pheasant cry tears of joy. Expect notes of sloe fruit, damson, violets, some earthiness yet a lovely clean finish. Georgia has a very long history of winemaking, with many believing this could well be the birthplace of it. And this winery still works in a very old school way with a nod to the past. The wine undergoes 5 days skin contact before being aged in Georgian Qvevri (large clay pots) which are buried in the ground to naturally regulate temperature.
A few of you have popped by the hotel, either for a glass of wine or something to eat in our restaurant Mosaic and it’s been a pleasure to meet you!
We opened our doors in November 2022 and are proudly the 1000th hotel in the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Designed by Dexter Moren Associates, this stunning space features 222 guest rooms, and you’re more than welcome for a look around!
The wine bar Hithe + Seek boasts river views overlooking Shakespeare’s Globe with an impressive 150+ bottle wine list which is uniquely divided into ‘Hithe’ and ‘Seek’. Hithe being wines from classic countries, grapes you’re probably familiar with, from well-known winemakers, and wines which certainly won’t raise any eyebrows. Whereas Seek is for those of you who are feeling a little more adventurous; featuring lesser known grape varieties, unusual winemaking practices, orange wines, those with unusual flavour profiles and wines from countries you perhaps didn’t even realise produce wine!
We also run a monthly wine club called Seekers, which you can sign up to on Eventbrite or find more information on our website. Each session has a different theme, with some previous events focusing on English wines, New World verses Old World wines, Taittinger Champagne house, the basics of wine tasting and in June we are taking a deep dive into the wines of Italy.
I hope to see some of you soon as Hithe + Seek!
Hithe + Seek
60 Upper Thames Street
020 3988 0141
Hours – Tuesday to Saturday 3pm – 11pm