Explore the best bottles that the Scottish capital has to offer with Joanna Blythman’s guide to the city’s wine bars and restaurants...
Chef Fred Berkmiller’s city centre wine bar offers an almost exclusively French list of around 40 wines, selected as great examples of a certain grape, or region, with a fondness for biodynamic, organic or natural bottles. The majority of wines are available in 125ml and 175ml glasses, ideal for mixing and matching with his thoughtfully sourced charcuterie and cheese.
Airy, modernist Timberyard with its clean-cut, Nordic-influenced food, showcases ingredients that are carefully sourced from local artisan producers and foragers. From Wales to Tenerife, its interesting, 24-page wine list travels a path less trodden, picking out natural wines from small, artisan European producers.
The highly educational wine list at Edinburgh’s cherished Italian-Scottish institution is solid: there are more than 50 wines in the Veneto section alone. Specialist fruit and veg imported from Milan market are a highlight of V&C’s authentic cucina casalinga, while a policy of charging only retail price plus £4 corkage rewards experimentation with pricier bottles.
Check out the weekly changing cheese and wine flights at this easygoing, convivial wine bar in pleasant Stockbridge. Share a baked Camembert with toast and grapes, or graze the cheese and charcuterie small plates, which features European classics alongside gems from local food heroes, such as Peelham Farm’s organic fennel salami from Berwickshire.
In this atmospheric Old Town cellar (pictured top) you can be sure of a fresh glass of wine (available in 175ml, 125ml or 25ml measures), thanks to an Enomatic wine dispenser. Divino’s list features stellar wines, such as Gaja’s Barbaresco, Antinori’s Tignanello and Gianfranco Soldera’s Brunello di Montalcino, for those who have a deep wallet. Interesting wine flights are also available.
Jérôme Henry’s cooking shows gastronomic maturity; he has fully digested classical cooking methods but isn’t hidebound by them. The wine list in this civilized restaurant is of manageable proportions, mostly Old World and strong on classic French, but with an interesting selection from Austria and Germany, plus some unusual wines from Morocco and Switzerland.
Good Brothers serves a constantly changing selection of 20 wines by the glass. Its extensive list majors on natural wines from smaller producers, notably skin contact ‘orange’ wines. Pair these with a well chosen range from leading Scottish cheesemonger, Iain Mellis, and variously sized sharing plates that range from venison tartare to smoked haddock beignets.
Edinburgh’s top gastropub from Michelin chefs Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack showcases modern Scottish food. It has a well-chosen wine list, which roams the world and includes some natural, organic and biodynamic options, as well as a selection of fine wines. Most wines are available by the glass, while the majority of bottles are under £40.
Edinburgh’s swankiest restaurant, operated by the reliable Galvin brothers, serves classic French dishes with a mainly Old World wine list that fields an unusually plentiful choice of half bottles. Expect serious prices for its fine wines and older vintages, but a Coravin allows you to sample delights by the glass, from regions such as Puligny-Montrachet, Tuscany, Priorat and the Dão.