There’s not much of a wine scene in Nottingham. The popularity of bars serving exciting craft ales and esoteric cocktails proves that people are happy to experiment with obscure hops, cloudy beers and luminous concoctions stuffed with fruit and booze you’ve never heard of, but the same cannot be said of wine. Why?
Although Notts is slow off the mark, there’s a young and vibrant wine scene exploding all over the world. Fortunately, a handful of people are flying the boozy flag of great wine here and we’re not talking about Veeno, whose naff brand and contrived experience are taking the piss out of you.
After work one day, head to Junkyard who are serving the entirety of their short-but-excellent wine list by the glass (BTG). Look beyond the taps to a crowd-pleasing-but-unusual Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand (Faultline, £6.20) for a wine big on gooseberries and, controversially, cat piss on nettles (trust me, okay). Not sure? Ask to taste it first, they’re happy to help.
If you’re usually a fan of big, f**k-off reds, try the rich-as-hell Sicilian wine for a change (Carlomagno Appasimento Primitivo £5.30) at Hand & Heart on Derby Road, also serving everything BTG. You can also pick one up at their supplier Weavers and try a Spanish white while you’re there (Basa Blanco, Rueda £10.50/btl), which is perfect if there’s fish for dinner or asparagus on the BBQ.
Swing by Delilah where you can drink and buy without leaving the bar. If you enjoy their English fizz (Three Choirs Classic Cuvée £6.95) you can take a bottle home for less than the price of three glasses, or faff about with their superb selection of BTG wines by treating yourself to a flight of three for £6.95.
If you’re into shopping, head to Gauntley’s and find a basement full of wines beneath the tobacconist underneath the council house. Stretch your budget and buy a really special French red from tiny, independent producer Phillippe Gimel (Saint Jean Du Barroux 2010, £21.20). One hell of a wine.
If you think that’s a lot to spend on wine (it’s not) you could visit M&S, whose wine buyers are bang on point. Check out the Portuguese Vinho Verde (Tapada De Villar, £9/btl), which has a “spritzy” edge because it keeps fermenting in the bottle. Deliciously different.
Next time you’re at the bar, consider asking if there’s something more exciting than a 250ml bucket of mass-produced McChardonnay with lies. There are mind-blowing, organic wines to look forward to, made by people as mad as a box of frogs, high up on volcanic slopes. Wines like that will be served in Nottingham come September.