Our usual watering holes may be closed for the foreseeable future, but oenophiles can still enjoy a drop of something special. Wine merchants in London and beyond have begun to offer on-demand delivery services, and Spear’s has rounded up some of the very best
Connaught Wine Cellars
This independent artisan and fine wine specialist based in Connaught Village near Marble Arch offers its wares via Deliveroo. Its most expensive bottle, a £1,320 magnum of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac 1985 is enough to make any cyclist nervous, but there is a broad range and the option to order extras such as a charcuterie platter.
Spear’s sampled a bottle of Brandol, La Brulade, Domaine de la Begude, Provence 2015 (£56) which was delivered contact-free by a pedal-powered courier soon after our order was lodged.
The Finest Bubble
Dubbed the ‘champagne emergency service’ the finest bubble provides same-day delivery in London for a staggering range of fizzes. Spear’s recommends skipping straight to the Prestige Cuvée’ offering, which includes such treats as the £1,400 Billecart-Salmon Bicentenary Cuvee 200 MV. The company also holds tasting events on Instagram live.
Spear’s has its eyes peeled on a tasting which looks at how glass shape affects the perception of champagne. Hosted by a experts in Finland and London, it involves a case of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV, Taittinger Prelude Grand Crus NV, Pol Roger Rose 2012 & Pierre Gimmonet Club Blanc de Blancs 2012. It sounds like a Friday night in quarantine well spent.
James Hocking Wine
James Hocking Wine specialises in Californian wines, which it imports directly from the Golden State. The agency normally sells to restaurants such as Hide and Goodman’s, but has recently opened up its ‘fine and covetable’ range for home delivery. It’s a selection that features some of the top bottles from Napa Valley’s most prized estates, such as the Scarecrow 2017 M.Etain Cabernet Sauvignon (£325), renowned by critics for its balance and freshness.
Spear’s recommends the Silenus Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (£110), a deep, rich and fruity wine aged in 90 per cent new French oak.
Organic and biodynamic specialist Wanderlust picks its wines from smaller producers, meaning that you’re unlikely to come across any of its bottles on supermarket shelves. It’s selection of artisanal producers are exclusive to the website, and its focus on simple, honest and fair deals with growers marks it out from many.
What’s more, it’s wine on-demand service can deliver within the hour in some parts of London.
It’s portfolio selection of fine wine contains such delights as the Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francois, 2006 vintage (£115) – a bottle which it claims is ‘arguably the best small grandmarque champagne’.
Spear’s recommends the Brimoncourt Brut Regence, a fruity and playful champagne that is one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
This award-winning Hampshire Vineyard will give a varying amount of cash to Hospitality Action’s Covid-19 emergency fund for every case of wine that it sells. The charity supports the hospitality industry – a sector that has suddenly faced hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic. One of the vineyards contributing to the incredible rise of British fizz over the last few years, Hattingley Valley are also throwing in a free winery tour and tasting with each case too.
Spear’s recommends its award-winning 2015 Rose, a multi-award winning wine acclaimed for its delicacy. Good wine, a good cause and a tour to go to after lockdown lifts – it’s a no brainer.
For those looking for something a bit quirkier, REBELLIOUS GOODS has an intriguing selection of wines, some of which has been made ‘slap bang in the middle of London’.
The company was founded with the mission of making authentic wines and craft beers more accessible for others. Its website is free of jargon, and the list is purposely kept small so that it’s focus is more refined.
That doesn’t mean it’s selection lacks variety, however. Renegade, Tillingham and Octavin are some of the best producers you’ve probably never heard of.
Recommendations include the ‘sherry-esque’ Flor from East Sussex vineyard Tillingham (£40) and the Blackbook Winery GMF, a traditional-style sparkling wine sourced from a Yew Tree vineyard in Oxford.
Cadman Fine Wines
UK-based merchant Cadman’s extensive fine and rare section has something for every taste. Current favourites from the retailer include a £270 2010 Château Palmer out of Margaux, Bordeaux, and an ‘outstanding’ £270 Penfolds, Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998. Tipping the higher end of the scale are bottles such as the 1990 Château Pétrus: an outstanding wine, with one critic hailing its bouquet as one of those ‘where a choir of angels seem to sing from the heavens’. It’ll set you back £3,780. Spear’s recommends its hard-to-find Château Veyry, 2016, which is described as ‘rich, complex and fruit-laden’.
Tasting notes for all bottles are available to download from the site, meaning you can even host a home tasting if desired.