Features

Tried and tested: wine flights at Humble Grape

As part of a new series, we’ll be trying out one experience, from entertainment, to sport, to community activities, in each area of the borough – first up, a bargain wine tasting at a snazzy Crouch End eatery

It’s not often that you are able to get a taste of the high life without feeling robbed – especially in London. Humble Grape therefore, a recently opened joint winery and restaurant, has definitely hit on something with their refined but affordable wine events. 

Their wine flights offer a chance to be (almost) transported to the likes of the Italian foothills, the vineyard-adorned plains of Spain or the sunny south of France. Last month, I was lucky enough to have had a sneak preview of the beverage-oriented events they have in store, along with a handful of local business owners (and, for some reason, the mayor of Haringey kitted out in his finery). 

Their first in the series was called ‘Fizzology’, so named because it was a set of sparkling wines on show. To steer those seated through all they needed to know about the four wines (placed carefully on little laminated A4 sheets of paper in front of them), Alex, general manager of the Canary Wharf branch, talked us through as we took sips – or glugs – from each, encouraging us to swirl our glasses to oxidise the drink (which really did improve the flavour, impressively). We progressed from most dry to most sweet, which also, as it happens, was cheapest to most expensive. (Handily, on the paper was a small description of each wine and its price tag.) 

Voyaging from prosecco, to cuvee, to rose, to – topping it all off – champagne, each sip was undeniably expertly selected by Humble Grape’s team of wine sourcers. For those who don’t usually savour their wine, swirling, sniffing and all, this event didn’t bring any of the pretension often associated with sommeliering. And our host was the perfect font of all grape knowledge. 

A little surprising was their choice to shun all English sparkling wine from the tasting menu – and their branches more widely I am told – despite the industry being tipped to soon rival France’s champagne business, thanks, grimly, to climate change. (I wonder whether ironically it might be more environmentally friendly to get in English wines rather than importing.) But given the cost of English wines, maybe it’s for the best. The fact that this event was a mere £11 to attend – and £10 is given back as a voucher against any Humble Grape purchase, making the event really only £1 into the bargain – is undoubtedly the best thing about it.

The Humble Grape’s next wine event will be a Women in Wine tasting event on the 21st March in celebration of International Women’s Day. Tickets are £18


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