September 2, 2009

Wines at Bedales Wine Bar, Borough Market

By In Reviews, Wine Notes

Not entirely convinced that the first two wines offered were really the showcasing ‘wow’ bottles that Bedales should have opened. A crisp Vernaccia was perfectly chilled and a good accompaniment to the marvellous platter of food but the red was, well, surprising. And odd.

The foodie and tourist heaven of Borough Market is a great place – lively, ram-shackled, and bustling. As least it is on the true market days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). On a Wednesday morning the vacuous stares of the camera-clutchers show either realisation they have come on the wrong day or bewilderment over the lack of much happening in this ‘must see’ destination.

Bedales was one of a handful of places open (a couple of fruit and veg people, Monmouth coffee, Brindisa…). I couldn’t decide if Bedales shabbiness was by design or accidental; it certainly fits in with the general air of the market, perhaps more so given the general lack of much happening. One good thing about going on an off-market day is the wide choice of seats!
Bedales doubles as a wine shop (with a hefty concentration on Europe and New Zealand – I didn’t spot an Aussie or a Chilean wine at all) and is one of three in a chain (the others being in the city). More than one bottle though is graced with a little Bedales Ladybird sticker which, according to the Bedales blog, denotes a biodynamic wine.

An unplanned chat with the wine-buyer/managing director, Arnaud Compas, just ‘passing through’ gave a little background to the range – “education by trial”, “to entice the non-connoisseur with the unusual”, “fall in love with the oddities”. In the brief chat you figure he greatly prefers wine tasting and befriending the wine-makers over spreadsheets and signing cheques… even if, in his own words, Bedales is “run like a car-boot sales. wine in – wines out”.

“Whilst we import much of our produce ourselves, we also maintain an impeccable army of artisan suppliers. We source our charcuterie and artisan cheeses, many of which are unpasteurised, from France’s famous ‘Rungis Market’, the world’s largest larder (it in fact covers more land than Monaco). Many of our finest bins come from boutique producers unearthed during globe-trotting research trips. For sapid support, we utilise some of the finest, most dedicated purveyors in the capital including fellow Borough Market traders.”

Wine Tasting Note: Fattoria di Fugnano Vernaccia di San Gimignano, 2008, Tuscany, Italy.

[More: Adegga / Snooth] £12.99
A cool aperitif and cut through the Bedales food platter beautifully. Crisp, nutty, “with a duty, straw-lined barn edge” as Arnaud put it. Pears and a lovely closing edge of almonds to me.

Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

Wine Tasting Note: Clos Les Files Bianco, 2005, Priorat, Spain.

[More: Adegga / Snooth]
A superbly drinkable blend of grenache and maccabeu; again the crispness matching the food with a smoke dimension adding interest to both aroma and finish. Interestingly no alcohol indicated on the label.

Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

Wine Tasting Note: Marc Barriot Clos de l’Origine, 2004, VdP des Côtes Catalanes , France.

Price: £21.99 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
A fault? Fizz and rather too much of it too but a vigorous shake and some time open reveals the true extent of this bottles deliciousness. Grenache-Syrah blend with a superb, full, dark berry fruit led palate. Firm tannins and an edge of spice. Alcohol 14.5%. Biodynamic. The score is after the fizz dissipates; but rather an odd bottle to open as an example of the range; most would return it as faulty.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

A few more glasses of wine appeared; but what with the chatting, slathering the excellent duck rillet on to bread, and comparing an ‘interesting selection of cheeses’ with each new wine as it appeared – and simply just relaxing and soaking up the markets atmosphere – I neglected to write anything down. There was an impeccable Swiss Merlot I believe…
5 Bedale Street
Borough Market
London SE1 9AL

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Top :: Comments

  1. Wine Clubs September 3, 2009

    Weird to think that they have wine from New Zealand, but nothing from Australia. Not having Chilean wine is strange as well, did they have anything else from South America? South African wine? I’m fascinated by what certain wine stores around the world are able to carry based on availability and local consumer taste.

  2. Andrew September 3, 2009

    I should mention that I didnt do a bottle-by-bottle investigation of the wine shelves; there may well be some Aussie or South American wines available; but I didn’t see any. The New Zealand wine range looked very tempting…

  3. Fransschoek Wine September 4, 2009

    Thanks a lot on that tip. I’ll be sure to check it out.

  4. Lara Lernspiele September 4, 2009

    I can’t believe they don’t have Australian wine. I think it is a kinfd of wine which is good for almost all kind of tastes.

  5. Dylan September 8, 2009

    I’m an absolute fool for the markets around here. I imagine they don’t differ much with exception to some offerings. Here we just have incredible spreads, sometimes people bring home-cooked delights using the locally grown fare. The atmosphere is always vibrant, but in such a relaxing way.

  6. Steve Colombé November 23, 2009

    As someone who knows Priorat well and indeed makes wine there I believe the white wine you are referring to in this report is Clos Les Fites Blanco made by La Perla de Priorat. The winery is based in El Molar in ‘low’ Priorat.

  7. Anon March 12, 2010

    They do a selection of Aussie wines, I should know, I used to work there.


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