Wine and Spirits guide for expats in London
When people think of London the first thing that often comes to mind is wine and spirits, mostly in the form of beer and pubs! It’s true the Brits have a passion for drinking. As far as beer goes, Carling is ‘Britain’s Number 1 Beer’ and Newcastle Brown Ale is the English beer for the more refined beer connoisseur. London Pride is another label whose name says it all – this bitter beer brewed locally is available in pubs and supermarkets across the capital. Many other beers from the UK and around the world are available in shops around London.
And although the English love their beer, wine is something there is definitely no shortage of in London. Even neighborhood ‘off-licenses’, or ‘corner stores’ as they’re referred to in the US, carry a good selection of wines from France, Chile, Spain, and South Africa, for example. Supermarkets like Waitrose also carry a vast variety of wine and spirits. New 24-hour drinking licenses are now obtainable by shops to make your London drinking experience even more convenient. Wine prices start at £3.50 with the average bottle around £5.99.
UK wine production is still in its infancy though a royal blind tasting of champagne produced astonishing results in 2000 with a English champagne beating its French counter-parts easily.
Oddbins is just like Threshers! Oddbins locations are everywhere and lots of deals on great bottles of wine are to be found. Store hours vary. http://www.oddbins.com
Majestic Wine Warehouse is the place to go if you’re looking to buy great wines in bulk (minimum 6 bottles). The shop carries wines ranging from affordable to expensive. 40% savings can be obtained on many wines if you purchase 2 or more of the same bottle. Majestic carries wines from around the world and has locations across London. Store hours vary. Visit http://www.majestic.co.uk
Berry Bros & Rudd: http://www.bbr.com has been around since the mid 17th century and can’t be beat for tradition. Happily, though, it has also kept up with the trends, bottles costs £8-9 with frequent wine tastings.
Fortnum & Mason is a serious London institution and the wine shop doesn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for that special £200 Grand Cru, you will find it here. The staff are knowledgeable about their selection and can recommend wines fit for the monarchy. The shop is conveniently located near Piccadilly Circus and will give you that Old English feel you want when you’re ready to spend a small fortune. Visit http://www.fortnumandmason.com
Milroy’s of Soho: “The” Whiskey specialist which stocks one of the biggest ranges in the city (around 660 different types on offer among which some are very rare). Offers wine too. Its branches can be found in the best London’s locations from Belgravia to Knightsbridge http://www.milroys.co.uk