London Cru SW6, Red Wine 1
The idea of making wine in London from grapes grown in France and Italy sounds a bit of a crazy one but London Cru’s first vintage is an impressive debut.
The 'urban winery', which is backed by the entrepreneurial wine merchant Cliff Roberson, operates out of a former gin distillery in Earl's Court. This year they’ve released four wines from grapes harvested last year including a full-bodied Roussillon chardonnay, a bright, zesty young Syrah from the same region, a Cabernet Sauvignon made by Mas Coutelou in Puimisson the next door village to our house in Languedoc and a Barbera.
What I like about these wines in general is that they’re not overworked or overextracted. It would have been easy to make a simple crowd-pleaser but they’re quite daringly fresh-tasting and modest in alcohol - almost verging on natural wine.
Of the four I like the Barbera (Red Wine 2) least - it’s a little weedy for the price - and the syrah (Red Wine 1) best. It’s a lovely wine - vivid and life-affirming, the sort to gulp down with some spicy sausages, charcuterie or confit duck and chips. At 12.5% it’s not by any means a blockbuster.
The Chardonnay (White Wine 1) which I at first took for grenache gris is also appealing - smooth and full but not too heavy. A good foil for roast chicken or a veal chop. The Cabernet (Red Wine 3) I think you’d find a little light if you were a cab fan - I don’t feel it's Jeff Coutelou’s favourite grape. (Go for his 7 rue de la Pompe instead)
At £15 each these wines are not cheap but given the overheads I suspect they’re not being sold at a massive profit either. They seem to have a few sampler cases of each of the 4 bottles left which is a good way to taste all the wines although there’s no price advantage in it. It would make a great present for any Londoner, particularly one who lives in SW6, but I’d get in quick. I suspect there won’t be much, if any, left in the run-up to Christmas.
* You can also book tickets for tours of the winery during November
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