Natural, small-producer wines in London
NYC-hound here. Looking for good natural wine bars/restaurants in London. Something along the lines of the good Paris wine bars or Ten Bells in New York City or Terroir in San Francisco.
I hear Terroirs off the Strand is good. Any other suggestions? I have a particular leaning towards obscure varieties from the Loire. Though any place that serves interesting, low-interventionist wines from France and Italy is welcome.
Also, any tips on good retails stores to buy such wines? I'll be staying in South London but will spend most of my time in Central, East and North London. Any tips are appreciated.
I think you'll be lucky to find anywhere in London which can afford to be that specialist I'm afraid. Having said that, the chains tend to have longer lists which might help. Balls Brothers is one to look out for, dotted around The City and the West End.
Otherwise the Ebury Wine Bar in Ebury St. and Fino's in Mount St. are both worth a visit I think.
This may help:
Edit: As for shops the Waitrose supermarket chain carries some off piste lines, as does the Oddbins chain of wine shops (plenty of branches). Both have good websites.
Edit2: This is the organic bit of that website, which might be a good place to start:
One of the largest producers of British wine is a 40 minute train ride south of London. Denbies is the largest vineyard in England. They do tours and have a nice salesroom - and they win awards. I'm not sure you'd be interested in that but thought I'd mention it. It's quite a beautiful place and surprises a lot of visitors.
Thanks for all comments. I am interested in exploring English wines too.
Varieties such as Romarantin, Pineau d'Aunis (my favorite) and Grolleau are still little known grapes to most consumers and even wine trade unless you're a total Loire hound. Of course I wasn't referring to Sauvingnon Blanc, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir or other better known grapes grown in the Loire. I know RSJ and love it there but wanted to try something
The Sampler in Islington (North London - closest tube is Highbury & Islington - you can also walk from Angel tube) - it's a shop but you can sample most wines by the glass - they have climate/temperature controlled machines that dispense their wines by the glass with a pre-paid card that you top up at the till. It's how I've tasted wines from which I could never afford to buy a bottle. Sounds gimmicky - I know - but it's not - they have 1st class wines and the experience is quite enjoyable. On a Friday night it starts to almost feel like a dinner party! Maybe just drop them an e-mail to see if their Loire selection is what floats your boat? http://www.thesampler.co.uk/about.asp
Vinoteca on St Johns street in Farringdon is a lovely wine bar and the food there is excellent if you want to stay for dinner. Not sure what their range of natural wines is like as I have not looked into this. The downside is that you can't book so get there early (ie 6ish) if you want a table.
Zurigal thanks for the tip about Denbies - sounds really interesting.