Friday, September 6, 2013

Is Sager & Wilde set to be London's hippest wine bar?

Given the high profile casualties (Artisan & Vine and Green & Blue) that have befallen the London natural wine scene over the past couple of years it's not surprising the city's newest wine bar, Sager & Wilde, doesn't use the N-word. But it's a place in which any natural wine lover would feel at home.

The bar, which started as a pop-up last year, is run by husband and wife team Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde with the aim of giving customers a chance to drink top-end, often hard-to-find wines at affordable prices.

They have impressive CVs - Michael was previously the bar manager at Milk & Honey and wine director at Quo Vadis before moving to California to run RN74 while Charlotte has worked for Jamie Oliver, Terence Conran, Sketch, Milk & Honey, The East Room and Hawksmoor. 

The basic idea is that to have a constantly changing selection of wines by the glass - "the best we can currently lay our hands on." I tried a selection including a rich flavoursome (am I really saying this of prosecco?) Zucchetto Valdobbiadene prosecco, a deliciously citrussy 2009 Heymann-Löwenstein 'von Blauern Schiefer' Mosel, a  classy English sparkler Sugrue Pierre (from Swig), a 2008 François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés (maybe a touch over the hill) and a gorgeous vivid Bergerac Les Sens du Fruit 2010 from Isabelle Carles and Franck Pascal one of the cheapest options at just £6 a glass. Oh and a sip of 1998 Chateau d'Yquem Les Saluces. Yep, that was quite a lot of wine. It's easy to get carried away.

Having just lunched at the admirable Otto's I was too stuffed to do justice to the food but a nibble of my neighbours' charcuterie showed that the Sager-Wildes devote as much attention to sourcing their ingredients as their wine. And I hear great things of the grilled cheese sandwiches.

Drinking at the bar is often second best but the bar is the ideal place to be at Sager & Wilde. A great addition to the East London wine scene.

Sager & Wilde is at 193 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL and is open from 5pm-11pm from Wednesday to Sunday - and now Monday and Tuesday nights too! The bar is on the 26, 48, 55 bus routes and the nearest station is Hoxton.

PS And good news about the former Green & Blue site in Dulwich. It's now reincarnated as Toasted and run by the Terroirs group which also owns Brawn, Soif and Green Man, French Horn.

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