Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Buy the glass

For reasons that are beyond by comprehension, UK authorities are decidedly hazy about the legality of selling wine in quantities other than 125ml, 175ml and 250ml glasses. Some regions allow it; others forbid it, citing the 1988 Weights and Measures (Intoxicating Liquor) Order. So, in theory at least, British wine drinkers can't experience the delights of exploring ranges of small samples of different wines.

Despite this madness, brave places like The Sampler, Selfridges Wonder Bar and now the Kensington Wine Rooms are braving the ire of the bureaucrats by utilising clever Enomatic machines to offer 40-80 wines in measures as small as 25ml. At a time when binge drinking (quite possibly involving Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio) is an undeniable problem, what could make more sense than a setting like the Kensington Wine Rooms where customers compare small servings of Chablis and Meursault; New Zealand Sauvignon and Sancerre and enjoy them to the accompaniment of a plate of good Spanish ham and/or English cheese and/or stuffed peppers? The Sampler is set to spawn a series of new outlets and the Kensington Wine Rooms was set up by the founder of a successful set of Paris pubs called Le Frog & Rosbif, so it's reasonable to expect it to multiply as well.

According to officials last week, the law is set to be liberalised, opening the way to tasting-flights of wines in wine bars across the nation. But don't hold your breath...

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