NV Exton Park, Reserve Blend RB32 Brut, Hampshire, England
I am continuing my occasional spotlight on indie wine merchants with a glowing review of Swains on Parliament Hill (London, NW5). This new epicurean haunt was set up at the end of last year by my old pal Victoria Sharples and my new pal Ruth Morrell. Ruth comes from a famous New York dynasty of wine merchants and Victoria has worked in all aspects of the London and Melbourne wine trade, notably at Bibendum Wine, St. John and also Philglas & Swiggot.
Swains is a stunning new wine shop and it will soon open a 20-seater bar with a 60-seater terrace looking directly across to Hampstead Heath. Specialising in seasonal produce and Melbourne-inspired dishes, along with cheese, charcuterie and rillettes, this is a place where you can pop in for a glass and then stay for the afternoon and into the evening if you so desire.
Its wine list is divine and I have chosen a celebratory English sparkler to toast Swains’ success. RB32 is a 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay blend and an electrifying, lively, hard-acid-soaked stunner. In addition, here is Victoria’s secret list of beauties to order for your cellar – 2017 Dirupi Valtellina Superiore; 2020 Botijo Rojo; 2020 Alemany I Corrio, Principia Mathematica; 2020 Lyrarakis Liatiko Kerdros Vineyard Rosé and NV Lacourte-Godbillon 1er Cru Brut Terrois d’Ecueil Champagne. Consider yourself fully briefed and please say hi from me!
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)