Archive for August 22nd, 2008

Sarget de Gruaud-Larose 1997

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

If a bottle of wine costs more than £20 then I take it seriously.  I am tight as a gnat’s chuff after all, being from the north of England.  My recent visit to Nicolas on Berwick Street (in the grim South of England) resulted in £23.50 being added to my overdraft and the harsher penalty of ridicule from some readers.  The stakes placed on this St Julien are high.

Yes Sergeant Major!

Since I discovered Nicolas in London, I’ve spotted new branches appearing more frequently than Caffé Nero coffee shops.  It’s like buying a Ford Mondeo then realising that everyone else on the road also owns one, and most chose the same colour as you.  Reading around, it seems that the famed wine “corner shop”, revered by French drinkers possibly since Napoleon was in shorts, bought venerable British institution, Oddbins and had started converting stores to the French brand in large number.

The restructure brought about by the new owners of Oddbins was not without controversy.  The Nicolas brand was not so popular in the UK.  Accused of being bland, arrogant, and too Franco-centric it was the very cliché of the British view of les bleus.