– Barbican resident Sommelier, Erin Summers, recommends picks from the The Winemakers Club at Holborn Viaduct –

The Winemakers Club has to be one of the best wine bars in the local area, and if you haven’t been yet, make sure to pop in on your list of places to try right away. Located under the arches of Holborn Viaduct, it’s the perfect place to spend an evening as the cold, dark nights creep in. It also opens during the day as a wine shop, as well as offering quick delivery service if you’re after something special to enjoy at home. They import lots of their wines themselves, which means they always have something interesting on the shelves, not often seen anywhere else in London. Their list also changes quite regularly and with many of the wines being produced in such small quantities, I can’t guarantee any of the wines I suggest will still be around for much longer!

As the festive season approaches, I’ve gone with a sparkling wine for my first recommendation, which is a great alternative to Champagne. Based in the Loire Valley in France, Lise and Bertrand Jousset farm a tiny 11 hectares in the Montlouis area, focusing on Chenin Blanc, Chardonny, Gamay, Grolleau and Pinot Noir. They have a natural approach to winemaking, producing wines of great purity which really express the terroir of where the grapes are grown. Their white Exile is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, and made in the petillant style, being slightly less fizzy than Champagne. It has a great purity to it, showing citrus flavours, pear, white peach, floral notes, a touch of spice and some stone/mineral tones too. At just under £30 it’s probably a wine for a special occasion, but I think it’s totally worth it. They also stock their sparkling rosé made from 100% Gamay and a red from Pinot Noir which are also two great wines.

My second recommendation is a wine from the fantastic Contrà Soarda winery located in the Veneto region of Italy. Ruccia Musso is a blend of Marzemino and other French varieties which vary from year to year, this time Merlot and Pinot Nero. Musso means donkey in the Veneto dialect and each vintage they name the wine after one of the donkeys who live on the farm, and in 2017 it was named after Ruccia. It’s a deep rich wine, perfect for dark, cold wintery nights and would be lovely with a slow cooked stew or ragù. There’s plenty of black fruits on the palate, some sultana and raisin notes too and a little bit of smoke. At £24 I think this is an absolute steal for the quality, and while you’re there why not pick up a bottle of their white Vespiaolo too which is also delicious.

And to finish, something a bit different from Hegyi-Kaló located in Eger, Hungary. I went for their red Örökségül which is 60% Kékfrankos 40% Turran, but the Winemakers Club also stock their white and rosé as well. The winery adopts an organic approach to viticulture and produce a tiny 4000 bottles each year. It’s fairly powerful with a touch of rusticity to it which just adds to the charm and character of the wine. Expect flavours such as blackberries, black cherries and blackcurrants on the palate, accompanied by some Christmas spices.


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