Hedonism Wines – an art gallery for wine geeks
This really could have been so bad. I could’ve been awful. Elitist, snobby, stuffy, grotesque. Hedonism Wines is none of this . It’s inspiring, its exciting, its fresh, its fun. It’s an art gallery for wine geeks. I can’t believe its taken me this long to go – it certainly won’t be long before I go back.
What Hedonism have done so well is realising that 1% of their clientele will deliver the money and the other 99% can enjoy themselves without the fear of being patronised or spoken to in a condescending manner. The staff are brilliant. They will spend as much time with you as you want with no pressure put on to buy anything. Nothing is out of bounds – if you want to see and hear all about the Penfolds Grange vertical containing every vintage since 1951, not a problem. If you are interested in German Riesling, brilliant, they’ll talk you through what’s good and why, then discuss top and bottom end recommendations… If you want. They will deliver your wine to you for free the same day anywhere in London, whether its a case of DRC at £12,000 or a bottle of Napa Cabernet for £20 (the are 500 wines under £30).
They should really provide a floor guide like you get in the great museums of Europe, with all of the must see installations. Penfolds Grange, tick. D’Yquem wall, tick. Big bottles, tick. Mouton Rosthchild vertical, tick. It’s not a huge place but you will not want to leave anything out. Oh and don’t miss the Sine Qua Non room – I’d never heard of them before but the stunning display is worth the visit alone.
Then there’s the tasting table. There are 48 wines to taste from the Enomatic sampling machines. Get yourself a card, load it up with some cash and away you go. All of the wines are dispensed in 25ml tasting measures, which start from around £1 for a Slovenian Sauvignon or Douro table wine, all the way up to £30 (ish) for a taste of Cheval Blanc 2006 or a 100-point Chareau d’Yquem 2001. The glasses are Riedel of course and the staff are on hand to make recommendations or you can just design your own flight. We tried some delicious Aussie Riesling, the Slovenian Sauvignon, a Gewurtz from Alsace and a Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 2005 – superb. On reds we tried an excellent Napa blend and then the Pomerol and St Emilion offerings from Secret des Grands Chefs – a recent venture designed to take on the first growths. And the 2009s certainly show great potential.
I loved my first visit to Hedonism and can’t wait to return. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Roland who was the most amazing host and provided so much insight and so much passion… And also recommended a fine German Riesling which I took away as a suitable souvenir… Well I had to!