Preview: London Wine Week

london wine weekGet your corkscrews ready: next Monday marks the start of the inaugural London Wine Week.

Run by the people who bring us London Cocktail Week every October, the seven-day event will see spirits left firmly on the backbar as all things vinous take the spotlight.

Over 120 wine bars, wine shops and restaurants across town are getting involved to offer London’s wine lovers exclusive tastings, discounted glasses, wine flights and pairing menus. To take part, you just need to buy a London Wine Week wristband for a tenner and then make sure you drink enough across the week to get your money’s worth. And quite frankly, that’s not very hard.

Donning your wristband will automatically make you eligible to buy a selection of premium wines for just £5 a glass at any one of these 100-plus bars. While all will be significantly cheaper than otherwise, many of them wouldn’t usually be available by the glass at all, making this a good opportunity to try something special without having to fork out for a bottle. Many of the bars will also be offering wine flights so you can try smaller portions of a few varieties for the same price.

Somewhat irritatingly, the website doesn’t mention which wines each of the bars and restaurants will be offering as part of the deal. At the moment you can find this info on some of the venues’ own websites and twitter feeds, but it would be helpful if it was added nearer the time.

A whole line-up of special tastings and events will take place throughout the week, most of which cost extra and some of which are free with that all-important wristband. We like the sound of the daily English vs. French tasting at Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany in Camden, where you can sample and compare our own sparkling wines with those from Champagne, and whites made in France’s Loire Valley with those made in Kent, with nibbles for £20. Or a tapas crawl around Soho and Fitzrovia taking in Salt Yard, Fino, Drakes Tabanco, Ember Yard, Copita and Barrafina for £50 including food and sherry at each stop.

If you want to keep the drinking going at home, there are also discounts to be had on bottles from lots of independent wine shops. And if you’re really keen, there’s this talk on how to start a fine wine collection. Might need to shell out more than a tenner for that, though.

London Wine Week runs from 2-8 June. Visit the website for full details on what’s planned and to buy your wristbands.

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