During our recent stay at Vinocamp London we had a couple of hours to visit local wine stores. Comme with us for a tour of The Winery (W9) and Hedonism Wines (W1), probably the most impressive wine shop in the world...
At Le Coureur de Vin we are amateur of pinot noir. And if Burgundy fullfill our dreams for this grape (and our dreams of ruining ourselves with too expensive bottles), we are always curious of tasting pinot noir from all over the world. And strangely enough, to try pinot noir from Germany we had to go to a wine shop... not far away of Regent's Park.
French are very french ! They have so many wines that they are not always curious to try the nectars from other countries. If you can find some german rieslings in France, specially in Paris, you will hardly find any german pinot noir (or Blaüburguder as they say). So you have to go to London...
The Winery is a small ancient shop, with a nice green wood façade. We did not meet with the owner, David Motion, a former music composer and producer who bought the shop in 1996 to canalise is passion in wines, and german wines in particular. This sunday, we delt with french young Benjamin Donnadieu from the south of France. Very forward and informal, Benjamin gave us a few tips on german blaüburgunder.
We were there to find a bottle of Bernhard Huber, who died in 2014. Decanter called him "the german pinot noir godfather". But The Winery presents a wide range of german estates with a great selection of rieslings. They also present a good selection of wines from Burgundy with some stars like Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier in Chambolle-Musigny and some intersting discoveries like Vincent Latour in Meursault. The Champagne's amateurs will also find there some confidential bubbles from small wineries like Marie-Noelle Ledru in Ambonnay. And of course you have Italy, Spain and the California that are represented.
Welcome to the wine extravaganza
Then we reached rich Mayfair for a tour a the world famous shop Hedonism Wines. This "caverne d'Ali Baba", as we say in french for a place with lots of treasures, was founded in 2012 by Yevgeny Chichvarkin. This young russian oligarch, turned 41 this month, was the founder of the biggest mobile phone retailer in Russia, Yevroset, which had more than 5000 shops, mostly with a franchise system.
Obviously, things turned wrong from 2005 for Chichvarkin who started to have trouble with the authorities. Another of these mysterious complex dark stories between people who make a lot of money very quickly and a political power who wants to have its word on it, at any price. Chichvarkin had to sell in 2008 and to flee Russia. He did not forget to take his money with him.
He is now known as a fierce opposant to Vladimir Poutine and decided to build the most wonderful wine shop in the world, mainly because he realised that no London wine retailer was able to sell him immediatly the high-ends wines he wanted. So there was room for a luxury shop with all the best wines in the world in stock.
The Hedonism shop is in Davies Street, right in the center of Mayfair. Its a two storeys place. The ground level is almost like your shop around the corner, but with an incredible range of white wines. Mathusalems of Crystal Roederer or Krug ar available, and you can even buy the famous Selosse case of 6 "Lieux-dits" for only 3122,40 Pounds.
But it's when you go down to the basement that this treasury cave gives its entire magic.
They build a lot of small alcoves devoted to a specific brand or a range of wine. It is like a funfair of luxury wines. There is even, in a small corner that probably nobody sees, some animated vine shoots that captured bottles.
The place is just incredible and you can buy an entire range of Château Yquem, Mouton-Rotschild or La Tâche. It is also interesting to see an international approach of wine. If french are convinced that great french wines are the absolute best, here Bordeaux and Burgundy are mixed with no airs and graces to Califonian wines or Barolo.
Even if you feel that you cannot buy anything unless you are a billionaire, this feeling is wrong. Hedonism Wines also sells unexpensive wines and you can please yourself with a Bourgogne Aligoté From Domaine Buisson-Charles at 15,8 Pounds or Botanica, a south african pinot noir from Elgin at 22,70. Certainly not the best prices in town, but available now for you to go home.
Anyway, we went out of this wonderland with our head spinning. We thought it was time to return to normal London, where there is no chauffeur expecting you in a Bentley at the exit of the shop. But luxury had found its way to our brain, and we paid ourselves a black cab. Taking the tube after this trip to the hedonism cave was not an option anymore...