Exciting wines are never just one-trick ponies.

The best are an articulation of three constituent parts; the grape variety, the place it is grown and the producer who cultivates it. When these three ingredients are both seamlessly balanced and exhibit mutual accord, they produce an elusive fourth characteristic in the wine- terroir. It is this fleeting expression of terroir that is invariably greater than the original sum of its parts.


The importance of House Wines.

 House Wine. [haυs wain] noun. An unnamed wine sold by a restaurant, at a lower price than wines specified on the list. © Collins English Dictionary.

Across formerly rural regions of France, the roadside bistro or café would traditionally keep a local wine for the thirsty traveller. It was inevitably the cheapest alcoholic beverage behind the bar, locally sourced – the owners probably made it themselves – and served either in a simple carafe (Pichet) along with a sturdy Duralex glass, or a label-free bottle poured into a 125ml ‘Paris goblet’. The reds often bordered on the undrinkable and you’d barely dress wounds with some of the whites. In many villages, rosé might well be an unofficial mixture of the two. However they were cheap, and were definitely a customary element of the maison in question.

As with the Collins dictionary definition above, much has changed.

Those memories of rural France – or Spain or Italy – were foisted lock, stock, and literally barrel, upon an unsuspecting British public in the 1970s and 1980s. A glass of Piat d’Or or Mateus Rosé were considered sophisticated and wine was often served from an upturned optic – but the concept of house wine had undeniably arrived on our shores. The years have passed when house wines were not only presented as the least expensive, but were often the cheapest the owner could source, regardless of any redeeming quality.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we find ourselves in the midst of a minor revolution in house wine provision as distinct changes have drifted through the on-trade.

Many British pubs have ironically moved towards the now declining French bistro model via the gastro-pub, where it is often exciting food that prompts footfall. As a result, it is the style of cuisine that increasingly determines the wine we request at the bar. In turn, restaurants have understood that with a group of customers sitting around a table, selecting different dishes from the menu, it is rare for one wine to fit all.

As wine now slipstreams behind the influence of diverse food styles, it is no surprise that the demand for distinct and exciting wines has outstripped the ‘Claret for meat, Sancerre for fish’ mantra of the past.

Inspiring wines are migrating from the ‘Wine List’ to the immediacy of the blackboard.

Along with gastronomy, the selection of ‘wines-by-the-glass’ has become something of a flag bearer for large sections of the on-trade, and we hope our carefully selected ranges assist in the creation of a confident house wine provision.