If you have read my “Chianti Classico at its best – Le Cantine di Greve in Chianti” post then you’ll know that I am very turned on by the enomatic machine phenomenon. I mean how can you not love them? You pop in your prepaid card, push the button to the corresponding wine and then you are enjoying endless styles of wine for minimum cost. It’s a fantastic way for beginners wanting to try different styles of wines and experts alike wanting to broaden their knowledge at an affordable price without having to buy a full bottle.
So yesterday I decided to check out some of the museums in London and what do you know they just so happen to be in the same vicinity as various wine shops I have been endlessly recommended to go visit. Long story short, I spent about 2 hours in a museum and then he next 4-5 hours roaming the wine shop boulevard of South Kensington. My greatest find had to be The Sampler on Thurloe Place. It is a unique wine shop with over 1,500 tipples to choose from, and the best part is that you can try 80 of these via the enomatic tasting machines.
The Sampler tasting card sets you back £10, you don’t pay a deposit for the card so therefore you can keep a hold of it to use the next time or likewise if you don’t spend your entire balance but have a need to spend it then you can buy a bottle to take home with you. The machines give you the option to have a tasting sample, half glass or full glass of your desired tipple. Tastings start at a mere 30p and work their way upwards to the icon wines, a taste of Haut Brion 1996 currently sets you back about £20 or a taste of Chateau Palmer 1995 is around £10. Not bad when you consider the price for a full bottle.
It is a great way to spend an afternoon; I was there on a Wednesday afternoon and had the place all to myself. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful without being in your face. I seriously think I could spend a whole day there! However on this occasion I was on my best behaviour and strictly stuck to only spending £10, next time I will be sure to take the boyfriend and his wallet though 😉
Here is what I tried;
1. Serge Dagueneau Pouilly Fume 2010, 89p for a taste, £17.80 per bottle
Compared to a Kiwi Sauvy I found a lot more depth in this beauty, the nose had a strong flinty aroma with grass notes that were almost hay like. The palate was a white picket fenced garden with bright white flowers and a bowl full of passion fruit. Yes I realize what a hippy I sound like!!
2. Gaia Assyrtiko 2010, 89p for a taste, £17.80 per bottle
Steady on solider, the aroma on this one is pretty full on. The nose is like a Mediterranean salad, full of capsicum and olives with a lush smoothness. The palate however was bright and fresh with notes of green apple and citrus.
3. Maurice Schoech Harmonie ‘R’ 2008, £1.62 for a taste, £29.16 per bottle
A mix of enticing herbs, smoke and toffee apple on the nose. The first sip literally tingles on your tongue, just like when you’re eating a fresh pineapple. I swear this Riesling/Gewurtz/Pinot Gris has the powers to transport you to a tropical island where you would be drinking this on a beach with a half-naked man fanning you with a giant leaf. Dreams are free…
4. Isole e Olena Cepparello 2007, £2.65 for a taste, £53 per bottle
The nose makes your mouth water with intense aromas of dark red berries and chocolate covered in vanilla drizzle. This is a smooth criminal, no doubt about it. The palate for me didn’t live up to the nose, however I wouldn’t turn it away if it landed on my doorstep. The tannins were chewy yet not overpowering, the red berries and vanilla continued on the palate with a touch of smokiness. Smooth, stealth, yet I’ll always need another sip to decide if I really like it….
5. Bodegas Riojanas Vina Albina Reserva 1970, £2.18 for a taste, £43.50 per bottle
Sherry nose with a touch of nougat biscotti. The palate was literally horizontal, in other words dead. Sad.
6. Teso la Monja Victorino 2008, £1.72 for a taste, £34.50 per bottle
A lovely end to a lovely afternoon. The nose was like a fresh bowl of blackberries dusted with icing sugar and on the eye the colour was an intense berry red. Dark berries follow through on the palate and are laced with smokiness and sweet spices with a beautiful sweet cedar wood flavour taking this suave charmer to the finish line.
For more details on where to locate The Sampler as well as what is currently up for tasting, please click here. Enjoy those sips!