The Sampler-Trying iconic to everyday wines, all at the push of a button….

Don’t you just wish you could try every single wine before you buy it?  I know I do. Sure the back label gives a mighty fine description (if it’s New World or none at all if it’s Old World, esp. France and Italy!) but oftentimes, unless you’ve had the wine before, you might have only a hazy idea of what you’ll be getting. You pop the cork and hope for the best. The ‘Sleuth and ’90 were out and about in Islington the other day and we popped into The Sampler to, well, have some samples.The Sampler is a wine shop with a difference, namely you can try the wines and not just 3 or 4 but close to 100 before you buy. The shop has been open since 2006 but I’ve never actually been in to give their wine sampling dispensers a go. Briefly, the machines are temperature controlled, airtight and use a nitrogen mixture to ensure that the wines don’t become oxidized. The Sampler offers 3 different serving sizes, the smallest being 25 mls up to 75mls and priced accordingly. To get the wine you just pop in a smart card which you load with  prepaid credit (min. £10) and then push the button for your sample. Sarah (wine90) had previously arranged for us to go down and give the wine dispenser a go, so when we walked in, Sebastian Crozatier, the shop manager, had our cards charged up and rarin’ to go. Where to start?? The shop carries around 1000 classic, interesting, and off the beaten path wines at any one time and has plenty on tasting, 80 in all! There were some amazing wines available to sample. From New World to Old World and back again. 25 ml samples started at about 45 pence for the everyday wines all the way up to the “Icon Wines”.  I think the most expensive was £79.17 for a 25ml sample of Lafite Rothschild 1982 (£1900 btl). All prices quoted for samples are the...

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