Hey, Londonist never misses a chance to use a spittoon in polite company and yesterday's press tasting of autumnal selections at Berry Bros & Rudd was no exception.
What was exceptional was the number of quality wines we tasted. Let's start with a couple of favourites from the OMG! rack. Burgundian producer Olivier Bernstein's 2007 Meursault, Les Charmes, 1er Cru (£312 per six-bottle case in bond) landed on our tongue with a thunderous BOOM of crème brûlée while his 2007 Bonne Mares, Grand Cru (£660 per six-bottle case in bond) was so complex and lasting we had to take a break, grab a sandwich and contemplate its grandeur.
After our break, we returned to the real world and sampled the range of wines closer to our wallet size. Still no plonk here. At £7.55 a bottle, the Chilean 2006 Chono Syrah was delightfully silky for its price bracket. And while we thought the £313.15 per bottle 2000 Essencia, Royal Tokaji was a rich honey wonder, its 2007 ATS Cuvee Late Harvest at a mere £10.95 seemed a reasonably suitable substitute for less finicky palettes.
On to the spirits, the 1975 Berry's Own Reserve Demerara Guyanan Rum (£92.95 per bottle) tickled our nose hairs, shocked the back of our throat and went down like butterscotch. It was just the sort of booze we'd love to pull out of our liquor cabinet on the most special of occasions this winter.
All in all, the Berry Bros press tasting confirmed that this St James's institution is a safe bet for grabbing some grape juice, whatever your budget. Berry Bros & Rudd is located at 3 St James's Street (SW1A 1EG). Visit them online at www.bbr.com.
Photography by Chris Osburn