The trouble with wines by the glass episode III…..

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Mr&Mrs Smith France

There is definitely a little je ne sais quoi in the air…. Bastille Day followed by the Tour de France, topped off with the launch party of Mr & Mrs Smith’s Hotel Collection – France. I love cycling but I only took part in two of the events above, naturellement.

1. Bastille Day at Battersea Park proved France is anything but out of favour with Londoners as queues for the country’s gastronomic delights were consistently longer than my patience can handle!

2. The launch of Mr & Mrs Smith’s Hotel Collection – France, embraced an air of shabby chic that only West London and parts of Paris can get away with and still retain their cool edge as we hung out in Notting Hill’s quaint Travel Book Shop drinking Champagne Ruinart Brut NV and eating our body weight in cheese from the dangerously waist-expanding La Fromagerie.

champagne ruinart-nvWe must have been 30 or 40 people crammed into the charming little Travel Book Shop chatting away and nibbling on cheese. We had a selection of four fromages on wagon wheel sized plates each with its own little flag telling us its name. They’d even printed off tasting notes so we could appreciate the cheese in our minds-mouths before absorbing the calories. Now to the wine. White, bubbly, biscuity, but not too much and refreshing on the finish. The name? Champagne Ruinart Brut NV. How did I know that you may ask? Because of the neat display of bottles stacked up by the cheese? Non. Because of the tasting note written on the wine that was available for me to collect near the bar area? Non. Because of the information sheet in the (fabulous) goodie bag for me to read when I got home? Non. None of these simple aide-memoires were employed. Instead I knew which wine was in my glass because;

1. I’m wine-curious and
2. the little champagne Ruinart logo was printed on the bottom of the invitation (and I was geeky enough to notice)

I make no apologies dear reader for your feeling of déjà vu because, yes, I am still harping on about the trouble with wines by the glass (just as I did here and here). How is anyone supposed to remember what wines they’ve enjoyed in anticipation of one day coming across that wine again if they so rarely get to see the bottle?!

Can you remember exactly what wine you had when you were last out and about? Non? I wonder how many of the guests at the Mr & Mrs Smith evening would know what they’d drunk on that summery champagne flowing evening in Notting Hill. Not too many.

Quel dommage.

PS: I’d love to be proved wrong, if you don’t work in the wine trade and can remember exactly what wine you last had when you were out and about please do let me know 🙂

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5 Responses to “The trouble with wines by the glass episode III…..”

  1. Louise Hurren says:

    Well, I DO remember the last “by the glass” wine I had (but yes, I do work in wine, so I guess I don’t count). It was last week, in a Montpellier restaurant called Morceau de Lune, where they display their wines on a wall of shelves; customers are invited to go and browse the shelf instead of being given a wine list (obviously the bottles are not served off the shelf or the temperature would be all over the place). It’s a neat system because you get to actually see the bottles (and pick ’em up, read the front labels, check the names/logos/graphics, scrutinise the back labels – if them have ’em) – so much more effective than just a long list of names printed on a piece of paper. Bottles have their prices written on them, and those available by the glass are indicated too: bingo. I was dining with a friend who had chosen dishes that clashed hugely, flavour-wise, with mine, and it would have been difficult to find a bottle to suit both, so instead, we each chose glasses that complemented our food perfectly. Mine was a Pinot Noir made by Limoux-based coop Anne de Joyeuse; it had a distinctive dinosaur on the label (it was classier than it sounds). It went down so well that we ended up ordering a bottle. I wish more restaurants operated in this way. Hurrah for Morceau de Lune! http://www.restaurant-morceau-de-lune.fr/

  2. Louise Hurren says:

    Opps, I meant to say: yes, you’re right, missed opportunity by the drink sponsors at the Mr. and Mrs. Smith event (though I don’t suppose they had much to do with how their Champagne was actually presented on the night).

    You say “I wonder how many of the guests at the Mr & Mrs Smith evening would know what they’d drunk on that summery champagne flowing evening in Notting Hill. Not too many.” Somehow, I don’t suppose many of them actually cared…

  3. Miss Bouquet says:

    Loving the concept at the Morceau de Lune, thanks for introducing me to that! Such a simple concept, I wonder why it hasn’t caught on elsewhere!

    The problem that wines by the glass pose to us as a trade is a huge obstacle to brand engagement and consumer loyalty that we need to over come, and in doing so we may start to see more people caring about what’s in their glass 🙂

    Miss B

  4. Ben says:

    Dear Miss B,
    the french expression is ‘Je ne sais quoi’ meaning ‘I don’t know what’.

    so there.

  5. Miss Bouquet says:

    Mon dieu! Thanks for the French lesson, duly noted and changed above!