Friday, 18 May 2012

Best Food and Drink Shops: The Sampler

I tell almost everyone about the Sampler.  Winner of 'The Best Small Shop in Britain' from the Telegraph it is hardly a secret, but I think it is a shame for anyone who likes wine not to know about it.

 The concept is a simple one.  Knowlegable staff sell exceptionally well sourced global wines in a pleasant shop.  But there is a twist.  They have around 80 wines ranging normally from around £8 to anything up to £800 (more during the holidays) a bottle in glass fronted stainless steel cases, organised by grape and style.  These cases pump out either a third, a half or a full glass of wine on insertion of a card pre-loaded with money and then keep the wine fresh by vacuum seeling them afterwards.  The best thing the wine you buy this way is that the wine is charged as a percentage of the bottle price, so ther is no mark up for drinking this way instead of taking home a full bottle.  You may not ever buy a £200 bottle of wine, but for around £6 you can try some. Also, because this is a vintier there is no pub like markup where £20 buys you a cheap bottle of plonk.   The quality is high, all the bottles have tasting notes above, the grape mix and details of the producer.  It's a brilliant way to affordably explore wine and find new producers and styles that you like.  It's also a very nice time.  Going with a few friends and having a chat is the norm here.  The atmospher is relaxed and informal and a big table stocked with books on wine and complimentary crackers for palatte cleaning makes a great focal point.  I don't have a bad word to say about the Sampler, it is absolutely fantastic in every way and I urge you all to go and have a glass there.
The Sampler has branches in South Kensington and Upper Street, Islington

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