Last Friday, my colleague Declan and I went to the first edition of the Pop-Up Wine Bar, hosted by The Good Year, and were completely blown away. The location, the service, the wine, and atmosphere were all amazing and it will remain one of the best experiences I’ve had the pleasure of discovering for the Luxurist Blog. Like most people who went to the pop-up, I will definitely look out for their 2nd edition and hope we won’t have to wait too long!
So what is the Pop Up Wine Bar and who are the Good Year?
Thought up by business partners Mumtaz Lalani and David Payne, The Good Year is a newly founded company and their services include the operation of pop-up wine bars in London. The pop-up locations will vary each time, and this first edition was held at the Attendant Café on Great Eastern Street for a month. The Attendant is a very relaxed café bar with a quirky feel, perfect for such an event as the objective of The Good Year is aimed at deformalizing wines and offering a great selection of by-the-glass wines, with easy to understand explanations.
“From Thursday 21st May, wine lovers will have a new kind of bar they can visit to feed their curiosity.” Mumtaz and David’s inspiration in creating The Good Year was getting away from the traditional wine experience and creating something new. Instead of a long list of wines according to the region, The Good Year presented a selection of 12 wines. All the wines were accompanied with detailed descriptions, as well as where they are from, and what kind of taste we can expect from them.
The pop-up wine bar opened its doors during with the London Wine Week. Wines were priced from £5, but a smaller tasting size was available to encourage customers to try the different wines and get the full tasting experience. Mumtaz worked closely with some of the best suppliers in London to provide guests with the best selection of wines, as well as food to accompany you in your journey. These included a range of cheeses from Androuet as well as salami from Natoora.
We started with the Cremant de Limoux “Les Graimenous Brut”, J Laurens, France 2012. A little bit of bubbles is a great way to start the evening. It is a very smooth and light sparkling wine – the perfect aperitif.
Then for the whites!
A Pouilly Fume, domaine Herve Seguin, France 2014, which we all loved. We tried guessing which wines we were being served by comparing the taste to the menu descriptions, and we all found this one thanks to its distinctive flavour of citrus and grapefruit.
We followed with a very special wine from Spain: The Acustic Blanc, Bodegas Acustic, Montsant, 2013. We had mixed feelings about this one as it is very different than the white wines we are used to, but delicious nonetheless with a floral savour.
Our last white was the Riesling Qba, Hermann Donnhoff, Nahe, Germany, 2013. Very sweet and fruity, our sweet-wine lovers were over the moon. Personally I am more of a dry white person, but some of our party members liked it so much they stayed on this one for the remainder of the evening.
A glass of rosé came afterwards for a little transition with the reds: MiP Made in Provence, Domaine Sainte Lucie, Provence, France 2014. Description says it all – “This delicious rosé sells out every year and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand exactly why!”
Then for my main event: the Reds.
We started with the Barda Pinot Noir, Bodega Chacra, Patagonia, Argentina, 2013. Light with a touch of spice, this wine was a great introduction to the full-bodied wines that came next. For people who don’t like very tannic wines, this is an excellent choice and I think it would go great with a nice cheese platter.
Following this, we had enjoyed a nice glass of the Chinon “Les Grezeaux”, Domaine Bernard Baudry, France 2011. With an earthy aroma and delicious mix of flavours, this was no doubt my favourite wine of the evening. Mumtaz explained to us that when customers really like a wine, the Good Year writes the wine down on a card for the guest so they can remember which one it was, or so they can re-order it on their next visit.
Le Petit Roy, 13eme annee, Domaine Jean Royer, France 2013 came next. This is a very interesting full bodied red, with strong spices. I am not normally a huge fan of spicy wines but enjoyed this one, and it is definitely a must try from their wine selection.
Our last wine from the menu was the Bolgheri Rosso, Le Macchiole, Bolgheri, Italy 2012. It is a very balanced red with a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. A bit spicy and quite tannic, not everyone at the table enjoyed this wine, but it was a real treat and definitely closed the journey on a positive note.
When we thought we were done, Mumtaz made us a magnificent surprise and brought us another glass that wasn’t on the menu. The 2013 Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella that had been one of their best sellers during the month. We all understood why, and I got a The Good Year card with the Kerner as I will without a doubt drink this again.
So our night had ended, and we spent about £20 each for this amazing experience. The bill was surprisingly low and we were all very impressed at the price-quality relationship as it is very hard to find affordable wine bars in London! If you want to be updated on The Good Year’s plans for the future, you can visit their website and sign up to their mailing list at http://www.thegoodyear.co.uk/, or visit their twitter page at https://twitter.com/tgywine.
Again, thank you very much to Mumtaz and David for this incredible evening and I hope The Good Year will keep on growing for many years. Looking forward to all your future editions!