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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Planet of the Grapes, City

By a fluke of nature, I discover a new City wine cellar. Leaving the launch party at Madison, we're suddenly engulfed in a monsoon that's whipped in from nowhere. Stranded on taxi-free City streets, my date spots a sign for somewhere called Planet of the Grapes. I’m sceptical: sounds like the wine bar equivalent of Curl Up and Dye or Tan-a-Reef. Will there be Blue Nun, Black Tower and pink Lambrini? As the alternative is sodden duds clinging to my contours  - Nigella in her burkini not the look I go for - I'll risk it. And..happy boy am I! Naffissimo name aside, these guys take their vino seriously. The deal? Pick any bottle off well-stocked shelves and pay £10 corkage on top of retail. £18 bags ballsy Chilean Merlot, but trade up and snog big sexy buggers on the cheap. Intense Californian old vines Mourvedre, complex Kiwi Syrahs and pudding-y top notch Tokaji, a hot Hungarian to know. At £35, Olivier Leflaive’s Saint Aubin 1er cru Dents de Chien is les couilles du chien; as classy a white Burgundy as you’ll drink all summer without spending silly money. POTG turns out to be POTG: The Sequel - the original is showing at Leadenhall Market and there's a POTG retail unit in New Oxford Street too (*makes note to reccie*). Understated decor is enlivened by a gallery of ‘dead drunks’ - Hank Williams, Truman Capote, Billie Holiday and what I take to be the little singer from The Monkees. The date corrects me:  It transpires it's Jack Wild (pictured above, as the Artful Dodger) years before he pegged it . The departed boozers are a sobering prospect.  As damage limitation, there's share platters, pork pie, mussels and steaks. Sweet staff comp us a bowl of goose fat chips with aioli and, had it not stopped raining, would’ve proffered umbrellas too, I imagine. 
74-82  Queen Victoria St. EC4 7248 1892 www.planetofthegrapes.co.uk