Wine Trip

Wine Trip

Wine Trip

The third Crozes-Hermitage webmag takes us to various parts of London, the global city where wine opens the most unexpected doors and leads to some amazing encounters that offer a fascinating opportunity for time-out. The result is a choice of venues filled with humanity. From Mayfair to Shoreditch, they reveal a cosmopolitan capital which, away from the bustle of the city streets, provide some very civilised interludes.

Phil Howard
On the Joys of Classic

He has been chef and co-owner of The Square since its opening in 1991. His dishes bring together impeccable seasonal ingredients in a harmonious and elegant manner.


“Chefs, especially when they are young, want to make their mark because the culinary scene is a competitive one. The modern trend is to have one weird rogue ingredient in the dish to make it cool, modern and edgy. I like harmony of flavours. I have never been strategic about it, it is just the way I like to cook. I stick to classics because their combination of flavours are the end product of research done by generations of hungry people, who, ultimately, would go for what tastes better. Some flavours work better together and it is not negociable. Take duck, for instance, you can go back hundreds of years, everything would have been tried, people have cooked duck with everything under the sun. The truth is that duck is most enjoyable with fruits (orange, figs…)”


“You find it on the wine scene too, where the great wine-makers are the ones who remain open-minded but have the confidence to maintain their belief in tradition and just deliver excellence in a world where the demand (by the consumer) and the desire (by the producer) for change are constant. Also, unusual ingredients tend to bring complications with regards to pairing a dish with wine. That has always made food at The Square very easy from a wine-pairing point of view. We do a lot of wine events, simply because the food lends itself to drinking with good wines! None tries to outshine the other. Our classic food pairs particularly well with classic wines, including, of course, those of Crozes-Hermitage. They are the kind of wines that make you want to cook with your stomach and not your brain.”

Interview by Anne Serres


Tim French
The Supplier of the Queen

A gentleman of encyclopaedic wine-knowledge, Tim French joined Fortnum & Mason as a wine buyer. He is now buying director with this institution that counts amongst its clients no less than Her Royal Majesty.

How do you build the collection of Fortnum’s own label wines?

We’ve got around 1,600 wines on our list and 120 wines under our own label. Through the 80’s and the 90’s, the New World revolution simplified the understanding of grape varieties and people has learnt to appreciate the consistency of New World wines. Now we have reached a new stage in the journey, where both New World and Old World are making much better wines. It is an incredible time to be a wine consumer.

What place do Crozes-Hermitage hold on Fortnum’s list?

We love the Rhône here, and the Northern Rhône (is extremely exciting for its slightly cooler climate.) At the moment, the only Northern Rhône appellation we have with our own label is a Crozes-Hermitage. It is a delicious wine. Elegance and freshness are two things I look for in any wine, and the wines of Crozes-Hermitage deliver that.

What did you make launch the Fortnum & Mason wine bar?

Wine is all about experience of tasting and enjoying it, if possible with food. In our bar, you can shop the entire list and take your bottle to the wine bar to enjoy it with food. It is a very powerful proposition, which our customers love.

Interview by Anne Serres

Wine Bar

Like Paris and Lyon, London has also witnessed an exciting new wave of wine bars where fashionable thirty somethings meet up in search of authenticity.

You could probably design a map of hip London venues – are there any parts of London that aren’t hip? – just by superimposing its map of wine bars. Critics might comment that you could also add the places where property prices have gone through the roof!

Over the past twenty years, the English capital has changed faces – several times in fact – and wine bars mirror a lifestyle that contributes to its current appeal. They are often small bars with a very assertive identity – commensurate with that of the boss! – and encapsulate positive attributes such as authenticity, sharing and togetherness. 

One of the consequences of this choice of tack, where attention is paid to what you drink and how you drink it, is that many of them offer a list of organic or natural wines. Just as London is famed for its impeccably green parks, gardens and tennis courts, it would seem that the people who live there are just as attracted to this nonconformist colour when it comes to the contents of their glasses or plates.

One of the catalysts for this change, at least as far as wine is concerned, has been the French who have introduced a careful selection of offerings where what is inside the bottle is more important than the label.  


Thierry Bouteloup and Guillaume Siard, founders of this combination of restaurant (first floor) and wine bar (ground floor), have pioneered organic wines in London. Their good-humoured advocacy of the organic cause is reflected in their market-fresh cuisine and artisan wines which they serve around the corner from Regent’s Street and its fashion boutiques.


10 Greek Street

The menu changes regularly, and the team pays the utmost attention to the quality of the locally-sourced ingredients. This mindset bodes well for the wine list: concise and clever, To cap it all, there is… a little black book, featuring a list of wines purchased at auction sales or from clients and collectors. The list changes every month, is pencil-written, and indicates how many bottles remain of each reference.



Between Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square, Terroirs serves a selection of wine and food produced sustainably, organically or biodynamically in Italy, Spain and France: the menu changes regularly and respects seasonality. Don’t miss the homemade charcuterie! 


The Ten Cases

10 tables, 10 wines on the list with 10 cases (1 case = 12 bottles) of each available – and that’s it. When one wine comes off the list, we replace it with something else. And it works. People seem to respond to it.


40 Maltby Street

Located in the warehouse of Gergovie Wines, underneath the atmosphericarches of Maltby Street, this is a wine shop, restaurant and wine bar. The wines on the shelves are available to try by the glass, drink by the bottle or take home.



We have a soft spot for the Mayfair restaurant on Maddox Street. Their wine list is extensive, but die-hard enthusiasts should ask to see the Collector’s list: the 28-50 team has connections with wine collectors who sell bottles to the restaurant for cellar management purposes. Older vintages, famous names and prestigious regions are represented, in very limited quantities, with a more than reasonable mark-up.



Victualler proudly presents its international range of wines, paired with a select range of seasonal Slow Food, British cheese, artisanal charcuterie and oysters (on Fridays), served with homemade organic sourdough bread. They also hold monthly tastings.



What sets this mini-chain of five wine cellars and wine bars apart is its broad-ranging selection of characterful wines served by the glass. The food is an inviting combination of cold meats from Spain and Italy.


Seven Dials Compagnie des vins surnaturels

At Camden, a Parisian boudoir style wine bar which customers are mostly women, and often quite young. With a menu that features very genuine French delicacies and a wine list that includes selections from all over France, country of Julia Oudill.


All you need is food

London’s restaurant scene transports gourmet food enthusiasts to an array of sometimes offbeat venues including a fire station, the former head office of Reuters and an old abattoir.

London is a city boasting 6,000 restaurants. The choice is constantly evolving and driven by talented young chefs from around the world eager to get their creative juices flowing and show off their skills.

And yet, London is not afraid to nurture its Britishness and there are still countless eateries showcasing a part of British history, from what’s on the plate to the buildings themselves.

The result of this is a myriad of unique settings, so that when you sit at the table of a London restaurant, the experience is often extremely compelling.

“The London food scene is such a hotbed of innovation that Queen Elisabeth’s reign would not be long enough to discover every aspect of it.

La Chapelle

La Chapelle is a restaurant set, perhaps unsurprisingly, in a former chapel. Chris and Jef, the Galvin brothers, offer the standard of French cuisine that has won them a Michelin accolade.


The Swan

On the banks of the Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe provides breathtaking views out over the river and Saint Paul’s cathedral. In this hub of London culture, you can also sit at The Swan, the theatre’s restaurant, and savour revisited British cuisine. After a performance of King Lear, what else? 


Chiltern Firehouse

Between Regent’s Park and Hyde Park is the former Marylebone Fire Station where the new owners have successfully preserved its exquisite retro style and serve dishes created by Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes.


Social Eating House

This bustling brasserie in Soho was designed by the renowned Russell Sage Studio. Paul Hood, its typically English chef patron, serves British cuisine with a foreign twist in terms of produce.


The Rules

London’s oldest restaurant, located in the Covent Garden area. The owner, John Mayhew, is well versed in the Rhone Valley and its wines. The decor and menu are so British, of course, with the must-try Dover sole.



Created by designer Terence Conran, the Lutyens, located in the former Reuters building on Fleet Street. Swedish chef, Henrik Ritzen. In a true dining room setting, garden vegetables and wild herbs add color to meat and fish.


St. John

Set in a former abattoir, the St John, a restaurant opened in 1994 by Fergus Henderson, serves all kinds of meats, including offal, in a style true to the traditions of English cooking. Most of the wines are French. 


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