Bottle Apostle

In Italy, it’s commonplace to find enomatic machines in wine shops but the trend is still catching on here in London. There are only a few places I know of that have those machines on tap, so to speak. The Sampler in Islington and Kensington Wine Room being the two I can name off the top of my head. And now I can add Bottle Apostle to the list. Bottle Apostle is in East London. I’d heard of these guys but it wasn’t til I moved north of the river and just a hop, skip, and jump from Victoria Park, that I had a chance to visit. A very cute little corner shop in the village of Victoria Park, I met owner Andrew Bakin one rainy afternoon. Andrew was inspired to open Bottle Apostle because he wanted a wine shop that was non-intimidating and comfortable but with a good selection of wines, a place where customers could walk in without feeling lost and maybe even learn a bit about wine. There are 4 enomatic machines,2 whites and 2 reds for your wine elucidation. I really liked the selection of wines that were on offer. Andrew prefers to stock the more interesting wines, ranging from German rieslings and Italian falanghina to Lebanese and Portugese reds, all of which are available to sample from the enomatic machines. He also has more traditional wines from smaller producers, Meursault  to Haut-Bages Liberal as well as some quality Italian wines and a healthy selection of California wines as well as New Zealand, South Africa and a small contigent of South Americans. I’m not going to list any of the wines from the machines because they change frequently. As soon as one runs out, it’s replaced with something different. That’s one way to keep you coming back, you never know what’s going to be in the machines. The prices are also reasonable for the 30ml samples, most ranging in price from 50p to £1.75 depending on the wine. There were...

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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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