A few weeks ago, I met up with friend and wine journalist Jamie Goode, to go wine bar hopping out East.
The evening began in Bethnal Green at Sager + Wilde, Paradise Row, where we chatted with Michael Sager and mixologist Marcis Dzelzainis. S+W is very well known for its wine list (which is excellent), but this time we opted for cocktails which were delightfully inventive.
I had the Tahona (Derrumbes Espadin mezcal, roasted pineapple shrub, lemon and agave caramel), which was fresh, tangy and delicious - one of the best cocktails I have had in a long time. Jamie had the bergamot negroni and an amazing pine negroni made from a distilled pine infusion which Marcis makes himself. The flavours were incredible - a really exciting ingredient which I am sure will become a key component to many cocktails. Next, there was the Bijou (gin and chartreuse), followed by an aperol sgroppino - so pink and yum. We also had some amazing small plates - Chris Leach was appointed head chef in January and is doing a fantastic job with the food (they've also introduced a pasta (really good pasta) and glass of wine for £10 deal between 5 and 7pm Mon - Sun which is pretty unbeatable).
Next, we walked over to Hoxton/Haggerston, to another of my favourites, The Laughing Heart, which was opened in October last year by Charlie Mellor, opera singer and sommelier. They have recently opened their Cave downstairs, which has a dreamy bottle shop.
We pondered over the wine list for a while, which is also excellent, and opted for Charlie's last bottle (meant to be) of Les Dolomies Les Grandvaux Savagnin 2015. It was seriously, seriously good.
Very pure - mineral and lean, lemon pith nose. Striking minerality on the palate. Tense and direct. Saline mid-palate with underripe pear skin notes with some fresh pineapple. Really beautiful wine and a reason that I need to go to the Jura.
Next, we strolled a little further up to Dalston, to a more recent discovery, Brilliant Corners. Last time I went it was mid week and very chilled, but when we arrived this time it was really kicking off. It was a hot night so it was bustly and pretty toasty in there, so we went for a refreshing pet nat, one that I have actually always wanted to try - Jean-Pierre Robinot's l'Opera des Vins des années folles (VdF - Chenin Blanc and Pineau d'Aunis). Notes of red apples, raspberries, cranberries and a nice mineral edge. Lovely raw cider flavours. Great purity and very clean - sometimes petnat can have a mousey edge, but none of that here at all.
A super fun evening with brilliant wines at great venues, all of which I highly recommend. You can read Jamie's account of the evening here.