Drinking Wine in London, A Lot of Champagne, Discovering Grillo

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich at dusk.  Familiar to scotch drinkers...
The Cutty Sark in Greenwich at dusk. Familiar to scotch drinkers…

A short vacation in London.


And a lot of good wine.

The beer wasn't too bad either.  Young's Winter Warmer.
The beer wasn’t too bad either. Young’s Winter Warmer.
A flat white mid morning
A flat white mid morning

I bought a bottle of “grower’s” champagne from a local Co-Op (high street grocer) which was palatable and pleasant and came through on my credit card statement at $28 Canadian.  Not sparkling, not Prosecco, not cremant de bourgogne/loire, whatever, not methode champenoise, actual champagne.  $28 for 750 ml.  (Now, not to get too excited; at the 02 arena they were selling individual 250 ml bottles of Moet for 25 pounds sterling, so about $40 or, translated to 750 ml, $120 Canadian.)


BA serves actual champagne in the lounge, if you’re flying on points.  Henriot Brut and Brut Rose.  Neither, to my mind, were that memorable but they do retail in Vancouver for, wait for it, $80.


On board the reconfigured 747 (I would love to have been on the new Airbus, but not in the off season) they had a choice of three and I drank two sensational glasses of, first, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle then Taittinger Brut Vintage 2006.  That Taittinger with its dry, nutty, spicy nose was the bomb.  I also sampled a most exquisite white, the A To Z Wineworks Riesling, 2015, from Oregon, which had the tart crispness of a Pink Lady apple with the honeyed finish of Rooibos tea.  And, shock of shocks, they had a CA Pinot, Sangiacomo 2013 from Sonoma, which somehow had all the lightness of raspberry with the layers of wood shavings and spice you’d not expect at 39,000 feet.


I also sampled a number of natural wines at Terroirs in Covent Garden, including a “too young” Gamay.  More on the natural wine issue in a separate post.


But the big find this trip was that many restaurants have started selling decent bottles of Sicilian Grillo by the glass.  Day was when you could get a very tasty Verdicchio or Gavi as a house wine, but no more.  Grillo, however, was hearty, herby, earthy and spoke of the seaside.  I really couldn’t get enough of it.  Dirt cheap too.

Lamb sirloin at Hix in Soho; a great reason for a few glasses of Medoc
Lamb sirloin at Hix in Soho; a great reason for a few glasses of Medoc

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