Post Vinopolis, Laithwaite’s and an outstanding Whisky Exchange experience, I found myself in the Borough Market looking for, well, a drink. I mean, really. One can only take so much teasing – Vinopolis was closed, Laithwaite’s didn’t have any tastings and neither did the Whisky Exchange. A llama can only take so much.
Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages has a helpful (http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/travel050228.html) piece about experiencing all that is wine in London and deep into it at the bottom, there is mention made of The Pantry – a little hole-in-the-wall spot that specializes in wines from England and Wales.
Sit down I did and right away I had two samples in front of me. It was a beautifully hot day, so sitting on the little bar stools on the pavement (they’re not called sidewalks here) was a great idea. The only part which didn’t work out was sucking in the cigarette smoke of those sitting outside the stores nearby. It tends to interfere with one’s tasting experience – and the lovely Pantry pourers recognized this and commiserated with me.
In the picture below there are two wines – on the left is the sparkling rosé from the Bolney Wine Estate in East Sussex and the right is Meopham Valley’s, hailing from Kent – half way between London and the limestone cliffs of Dover.
Both were excellent examples but I confess to have been smitten by the Meopham Valley. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, hand harvested and made in the traditional method according to organic standards, using sulphur only as necessary.
It is clear and bright, a pale Chinook salmon hue with a long-lasting creamy mousse. On the nose it’s clean and youthful with medium minus aromas of yeast, green lime and Granny Smith apple.
On the palate it’s dry with an almost off-dry core and rapier acidity. Medium minus body and medium minus alcohol, it has medium plus flavours of lime and lemon citrus, pink grapefruit, summer strawberry and fresh bread. The finish is medium plus.
WSET ‘Very Good’ quality with exceptional acidity – drink now or may be kept for 5-7 to develop that acidity and beautiful yeastiness.
As the pourers, put it – don’t look for any tannins in English wines, but if it’s acidity you’re after, you’ll find it here. Jolly good work, England!