Mind the Gap

Big Ben, the London Eye, and the River Thames

Our last post was for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Where has the time gone? We’re going to blame it on extreme jetlag.

We’ve relocated to London, UK, for a few years of work, but more importantly, access to wine regions. Although it was difficult to leave our friends & family in Vancouver, the promise of being a quick train ride away from France, or a budget airline flight to Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc., was too good to pass up. In the first 60 days we’ve been here, we’ve already had a chance to visit the wonderful regions responsible for two of the world’s great wines: Sherry & Port.

Wine & Spirit Education Trust studies have been resumed as I (Mr. Winecouver) have taken the exam on Fortified Wines, and am now studying for the units on Sparkling Wines and Spirits. If I stay on track, I can hope to be a Diploma graduate by the summer of 2013 (fingers crossed).

All the fortifieds used for my exam prep. Easily obtainable here in London.

It’s a much bigger class here at the WSET flagship school in London. There is a healthy mix of trade and aficionados, in fact, much more non-trade than there were at the school in Vancouver. I’m also enjoying access to some great teachers, including Peter McCombie MW, and various AIWS alumni who obviously have decades of experience teaching.

There is a thriving wine scene here in London, with loads of négociants/agencies, retail chains, and selection. Given the UK was the birth of the wine trade, this is no surprise. We’re happy to have moved to an area with a specialty store called The Sampler, with over 80 wines available to try via enomatic machine. (The BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch would have a conniption.) Everywhere we turn there is a wine shop with an online presence offering home delivery and excellent discounting, and that’s not counting the big box supermarkets with their heavily discounted own-brand bottles. We’re spoiled for choice.

Orange wine at Terroirs

The food & wine scene here is stunning, with the obvious Michelin-starred choices. We’ve also found some great wine bars that we’ve really enjoyed: TerroirsVinoteca and Fernandez & Wells. All specialize in eclectic wine lists, by the glass, with Terroirs only serving “natural” wines. We’ve spent time at each, and will continually return over the next few years to try fascinating wines that we wouldn’t find in Canada. Terroirs is especially inspiring with their love for orange wines. Definitely a post to come about those!

So, it’s time to get back on the horse and update the blog on a regular basis. There’s no shortage of wines to review, and Mrs. Winecouver will be adding some travel reports from our trips in the Old World. Stay tuned!




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Wine truths

“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”
by Henny Youngman

Wine Ratings

★☆☆☆☆ - Poor quality. Avoid. Save your money. Between 80-84 points.

★★☆☆☆ - Average quality or poor value. Between 84-88 points. Some expensive wines are downgraded for bad value.

★★★☆☆ - Good. Between 88-92 points. Or a good value on the lower end of the point scale.

★★★☆☆ - Excellent quality. Between 92-96 points. Or a cheap yet good quality wine which is excellent value.

★★★☆☆ - Outstanding, best examples in the world. Between 96 and 100 points. A perfect wine.