12 May 2008

Punctuating a Night Out

ON SATURDAY, thirsty friends and I visited Farringdon's Vinoteca, an efficiently multi-tasking venue: wine bar, restaurant and merchant. We initially perched on stools against a shallow oak shelf until the waitress, taking pity, offered us the only spare table. This was a charming gesture considering we were only stopping for a glass on their busiest evening.
Beneath labouring fans, a straightforward Bourgogne Rouge arrived curiously chilled whilst a blissfully ample Manzanilla did not. A request for water automatically produced a jug brimming with acqua of the commune.
Despite concerns over wine temperature, this venue is clearly a caringly devised, modern classic. In two and a bit years of trading it has become established as a relatively reasonably priced, variously stocked 'embassy' of the wine trade. Having said this, it will not please every guest. Echoing St. John opposite, it is deliberately coarse edged, lacking cosyness. Perhaps, therefore this is more of a stopping point then a destination.
Vinoteca - 7 St. John St., Smithfield. EC1M 4AA. T. 020 7253 8786 (no bookings)
Also pictured, the console of a moodily lit, dramatically efficent geysering and air blowing loo at Saki, nearby.
A trio of short reviews:

‘Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution’ (William Echikson)
The quality of research never clunkily impedes this fast moving, compelling insight into the dynastial celebrities behind a powerful clutch of Bordeaux’s Chateaux.

‘The Vines of San Lorenzo’ (Edward Steinberg)
A fan of Angelo Gaja illuninates his life’s mission using a vintage of the famous eponymous Barbaresco vineyard as the rivulet. Occasionally approaching sycophantism, but overall an expressive, dynamic narrative which made me care.

‘A Good Year’ (Peter Mayle/Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe)
Despite ‘winning’ a Rotten Tomato award, this warmly coloured film soothed me after a long day of city life. True, the storyline is transparent, although performances reveal the actors investment and are contagiously enjoyable. An almost inspiring story of a British bastard broker’s accession into an albeit idealised vineyard culture.
In anticipation of English Wine Week, read ‘Château England’ in the Southwark News HERE.