South West London

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Archive for wine tasting

Elixir Wines – Fine Wines in South West London


For a comprehensive directory of wines from across the world you need look no further than Elixir Wines, London’s Online Wine Shop which delivers free to addresses across the capital.  With full and varied wine lists, unparalleled sommelier expertise and fantastic deals, the site makes browsing for wine simple and informative.  Zara Salih, Manager of the James Pendleton Angel department highly recommends Elixir Wines’s carefully compiled wine hampers and Christmas gifts and James Pendleton are delighted to be in partnership with this thorough and locally focused company.

Enter the code “JamesPendleton” to get the best prices and a special prize.

Jacques Pechereau, founder and CEO of Elixir Wines, shared some of his knowledge with us.

1. Tell us about your wine knowledge and sommelier expertise

After many years in top restaurants in France (Le Richelieu, Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel etc) and England (Waterside Inn, Bray and le Gavroche, London) I have spent all my life in the wine industry.  In addition to my restaurant experience I was sales director of a major UK wine importer for ten years.

2. Which wines would you recommend for a cold winter’s evening meal?

For the lovely wet English weather I would recommend two superb red wines from the Languedoc region.  First a lovely rich Minervois (AOP) chateau Maris 2009, an organic red bursting at the seams with prunes and figs, black plums coated in chocolate and a rough rasp of herbs mellowed by the bright freshness of blackberries.  Second is Ribera del Duero (2009) from North West Spain.  This smooth and fruity 100% tempranillo made by the famous Torres Spanish wine making family is a wine to remember and savour slowly.

3. Is there a type of wine you feel is overlooked despite being fantastic?

Chardonnay is very overlooked despite being the most recognised grape in the world.  Wine lovers should explore all the time and discover new tastes.  For example the lovely unoaked chardonnay from domaine de Grauzan in the Côtes de Thongue near Beziers in the Languedoc is a really delicious white, this wine teases the palate with soft and subtle aromas of bananas and guava.

4. How do you put together your hampers (could you tell us more about pairing wines)?

A hamper must be a discovery box full of goodies and should offer pleasure after pleasure.  A good hamper should allow you to enjoy wine in all its glory as well as tempting you to discover new tastes and countries all the time.

5. Do the people of South West London have a favourite wine?

My customers in South West London have a favourite white from Gascogny: Domaine de Saint Lannes 2011.  This is a vin de pays from the South West of France made with ugni blanc and colombard and is full of tropical fruit flavours.  It’s delicious as an aperitif or with scallops, beurre blanc and a touch of lime.

6. If you could compare Clapham, Battersea and Wandsworth to a wine, which would it be?

It’s a difficult question but it would be a diverse and universally pleasing wine such as a stunning Château Couronneau organic Bordeaux 2010 (an excellent vintage).  This wine is made with 100% Merlot and has the flavor of ripe black summer fruits, a creamy texture and a soft and full palate.


Best Local Businesses: The Wine Tasting Shop in Balham

Wine Tasting Shop

The Wine Tasting Shop in Balham

Tucked away along Balham’s Hildreth Street, the Wine Tasting Shop is perfect for novice and established wine connoisseurs alike.  The Shop is well known in the area for its wine tasting evenings, which invite budding sommeliers to learn the basics of wine tasting, compare old and new world tipples and experiment with food and wine pairings.  Wines are also available to buy or taste at any time in store.  Julia, Devon and the team are very happy to share their expertise and the James Pendleton team don’t hesitate to recommend the Shop for a guaranteed journey of discovery at every visit.

We asked Julia Michael, owner of The Wine Tasting Shop, about her experience of living and working in Balham:

1.  What is the Wine Tasting Shop’s ethos?

Our focus is on wines which have undergone as little intervention as possible in the vineyard and winery.  We identify small scale, non-invasive wine producers and aim to meet as many makers as possible.  Our customers can find out the background story of every wine-something you’d never encounter in the supermarket!  Another aim of ours is to encourage our customers to try new and unusual wines-it’s amazing how often people are pleasantly surprised!

2.  What for you is the most rewarding thing about your wine tasting evenings?

It has to be seeing people realise that anyone can be interested in wine!  We try to demystify what can be seen as an exclusive pastime, and it’s great when people begin to gain confidence and start to explore some of the very many wines out there.

3.  What one wine fact most surprises people?

Just how little money goes into making mass produced supermarket wines; for a £5 bottle of wine, the amount spent on actual wine production is between 2 and 5p, with the rest going on bottling, marketing etc.  We like to offer real, good quality alternatives to supermarket wine, where more than pennies has gone into what you will be drinking!

4.  What is your experience of working alongside Hildreth Street market in Balham?

Hildreth Street has a fantastic atmosphere-everyone looks out for each other and there is a strong community feel which is hard to come by in a city as large as London.

5.  What do you feel the future of wine is in South West London?

I can see a great future for wine tasting in South West London; we’re seeing a great influx of people of all ages and generations with a real interest in the subject, which is fantastic as our goal has always been to make quality wines more accessible.

6.  If Hildreth Street was a wine, what would it be?

Most definitely a natural wine with no additives, no pretentions and a fantastic flavour!