Berry Brothers and Rudd are the oldest wine merchant in the UK. Based out of St James’s in London’s trendy Mayfair area, this is where they’ve been operating in one guise or another since 1698. When I was coming through in the banking world all those years ago, all the senior lads and lasses had Berry Brothers accounts. It’s almost a right of passage for fine wine buyers in London and the wider UK. Last week I made my first purchase from there, and it was pretty bloody impressive.
Anyone heading over to Taste of London in Regent’s park this weekend?
I was lucky enough to go along on opening night and try out all the bits and pieces that are going on, and here’s my (mercifully short) guide to what’s on…
I’ve never been a whisky drinker. When I was younger, spirits in general were just not my thing. I just couldn’t get over the harshness of it all. Then at uni, when I started drinking them, it was all about the supermarket-own-brand paint stripper. That’s not the kind of stuff to make you come back for more is it?
As I get to know more people in the wine trade, I feel like my luck is just booming up. The amazing ladies Bryony and Rachel, who invited me down to a great day at Hambledon a few weeks back, sorted me out with a ticket to the impressively sounding “Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Challenge” awards night last week. Would I like to come? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles??
The wife and I started trying to take advantage of living in London and re-introduced date nights into the week. I head onto Amazon Tickets, or whatever is spamming me with emails at the time, and pick up a couple of slots in the cheap seats at the back. Last of the romantics clearly! But whatever point there was in trying to save a couple of quid on ticket prices is blown out the water when you get into the bar area and it’s £10+ for a crap G&T. So what if there was a great place to go get a drink beforehand…
I met a lass called Clara a few months back who very kindly stuck me on a “wine geeks’ dinner” mailing list. It’s a group of mates who get together every month at different restaurants round London, have a good dinner, and do a BYO on bottles of wine. The first few months I was busy with my own dinners or random other things, but last week I managed to make it down for the first time.
Last week I ran a wine tasting for a group of guys and girls that were out on a works-do. One of them team building thingies. To me I think you’re struggling to do better in terms of team building than having a wine tasting. Ok the alcohol helps to open everyone up, but it’s also something that (with a gentle nudge) people actually like talking about.
Every time I used to go see my doctors round Great Portland Street way in London, I used to tube it down to Warren Street and wander down the gloriously horrible and busy Euston Road. The one upside of this was that I got to wander past the Bang Bang Canteen, a Vietnamese restaurant that just smelt amazing everytime. I’d been looking forward to having a go in here for ages.