Humble Grape, 22nd December
Humble Grape is a new(ish) wine bar in the Fleet Street area. For some reason, I had conjured a very distinct image in my mind of a cosy, little wine drinking den, rather than the quite spacious venue that it is.
We went in on the last Thursday of work before Christmas so it wasn’t very busy – just a few people at the bar, and we chose a small table nearby so we were close to the atmosphere but could still talk. We were served by a very knowledgeable man (though I suspect they all have to be) who pointed out to us that we were not limited in choice by the menu in front of us. Oh no. That was merely wine by the glass. And we let him show us to the wine shop area – every bottle is available to sup there and then, or to buy to take home. Mark up seemed to be about 40% on take home sales. We explained we liked a dry, crisp wine, and whittled it down to a Chablis or a dry Reisling he recommended. We knew the reisling wouldn’t be bad from here and as we don’t often drink it, that’s the one we went for.
Next to each wine was a label ‘Tolerant’, ‘Sensitive’, ‘Sweet’. It was explained that a questionnaire had been devised for people to find out their tasting style – based not on just foods you like but your lifestyle and non-food preferences (whether you like soft towels for example) and that would (apparently scarily accurately) lead you to your preferred wine profile! We hadn’t done the ‘quiz’ by then so oculdn’t test it out but you can do it here: http://www.humblegrape.co.uk/vinotyping1
He disappeared to go and fetch a chilled bottle for a moment and then arrived back at our table. We asked him what would happen if we didn’t like the wine and he said he would end up ‘buying’ it as it was his poor recommendation. But he said not to feel too sorry for him as they all recommend wines they personally like, so drinking and paying for it wouldn’t be a chore. Luckily that was not to be his fate, we drank that all up ourselves.
A pleasant surprise was that, because it was Christmas, everyone in there was treated to a glass of Prosecco on the house! Festive cheer abounded.
They have a small menu as well, but we didn’t get anything (mainly as I’d want cheese and my friend was recently vegan) so we headed home to begin our night proper – a night that ended at approximately 8:30 am the next day!