Decanter took over Selfridges last night with the launch of its yearly tenure at the Wonder Bar.
For the next nine days, the sleek mezzanine space will play host to 40 Decanter World Wine Awards 2010 trophy winners from the likes of Clos du Val, Guigal, Peter Lehmann and Fernando de Castilla, which will be offered up for public consumption in five Enomatic machines.
The 40 wines on show are the cream of the competition winners, and make up the top 1% of the wines tasted by our panel at this year’s awards.
On arrival, I spot Regional Chairs Stephen Brook, Angela Muir and Giles MacDonogh hitting the Enomatic machines with brio, pushing their cards in and selecting wines like records in a jukebox.
Currency comes in the form of a Wonder Bar card that can be topped up in multiples of ten. So £10 will get you 10 samples of wine under £10 or 5 samples of wine over £10.Once you’ve juiced your card the fun begins.
I’m a big fan of the Enomatic. The beauty of it is that it drags people out of their comfort zones and forces them to try something new.
I bump into a besuited Craig Butcher, Editor of MSN Sainsbury’s Food & Drink, who agrees: ‘The best thing about the tasting is the range of wines on offer – you get to try award winning wines you can’t afford a full bottle of. It’s sociable, interactive and good fun’,
‘We’ve got lots of over £20 wines on offer this year, and a great mix of Old and New World wines’, Selfridges’ ebullient sommelier and wine buyer Dawn Davies explains. ‘There are some wild card wines in there too, like a Slovenian Chardonnay and a Croatian Merlot’.
Excitingly, the Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2006, which trumped the French by scooping the Sparkling over £10 International Trophy, is on show. ‘We won’t charge for it as it doesn’t keep its fizz in the Enomatic’, Davies says, ‘but it will be limited to one sip per person’.
Written by Lucy Shaw