5 Bedale St, SE1 9AL/020 7403 8853/London Bridge tube/rail
The families were rival stallholders in Borough Market until they reconciled their differences by opening Bedales together four years ago. But Bedales isn’t just about France: THE best-selling house white wine by the glass at our Spitalfields store is English and they stock a Soave made by the father of one of their employees, among many others. As well as trying to encourage diversity in what the customer takes home, they offer a fixed £8 mark-up on any bottle drunk on our premises.
3 St James’s St, SW1A 1EG/020 7396 9600/Green Park tube
Trading from the same location for more than 300 years, with a magnificent Georgian cellar, Berry is historic yet keeps up with the times. Burgundy and claret lovers will drool at the hundreds of wines, but there are also decent (if smaller) selections from elsewhere in France, as well as Italy, Germany and the New World. The company’s own-label wines are top-notch. Great website too.
47 Fleet St, EC4Y IBJ/020 7353 6786/Chancery Lane tube, Temple tube or Blackfriars rail
An offshoot of the famous El Vino wine bar, with a list that combines excellent quality with friendly prices.
26 New King’s Rd, SW6 4ST/020 7736 2628/Parsons Green tube
Friarwood has dozens of clarets on its list, including some less well-known petits châteaux – the best value for those of (relatively) modest means. The shop also makes decent efforts in the direction of Italy, the Rhône and Languedoc, and there are some New World wines in the mix too. If money’s no object, check out the Armagnac vintages on offer.
38 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HJ/020 8693 9250/East Dulwich rail
A small but consistently interesting list of wines, plus an excellent wine bar.
105 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LE020 7589 6113/South Kensington tube
Handford isn’t the cheapest merchant in town, selling very little under £7, but it’s certainly one of the best when bottle prices climb into double digits. France is king here, with a strong showing not just from Burgundy and Bordeaux but also Alsace and the Rhône; there is a strong range of Italian and Spanish wines, too. Of the New World countries, South Africa is the best represented. Also check out the small but tasty selection of Madeiras.
7 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT/020 7584 7927/South Kensington tube
Haynes Hanson & Clark is London’s top Burgundy specialist, with an attractive shop and helpful staff.
21 Northcote Rd, SW11 1NG/020 7924 4494/Clapham Junction rail
The pun-lover’s favourite wine shop, now well into its second decade, has repeatedly been named Best London Wine Shop by the International Wine Challenge. It’s not hard to see why: its list is exceptional. Fans of French, Italian and Australian wines fare best, but all the bottles here are chosen with care. Specialising in smaller producers, P&S unfailingly hits on prime producers even in areas, such as Rioja and Chianti, where it’s easy to spend too much and get too little.
Planet of the Grapes
9 New Oxford St, WC1A 1BA/020 7405 4912/Holborn tube
A small shop in Holborn, packed with wines from all over the world, and unashamedly aiming for the £10-£15-a-bottle drinker, although they do stock the cheaper end – and of course, zoom up to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Supertuscans and other top-end wines. Owners Matt Harris and Marc Wise also run two wine bars, in Leadenhall Market and Bow Lane, where wines can be bought off-trade or drunk in-house for a flat-rate corkage.
348 Kensington High St, W14 8NS/020 7371 2121/High St Kensington tube or Kensington (Olympia) tube/rail
This spacious shop has been providing well-heeled Kensingtonians with wine since 1991. It’s clear that Kensington loves France because the country dominates the list, with extensive offerings from Bordeaux and ample choice in Burgundy. And even if other regions and countries are represented in lesser quantities, they are in no way of lesser quality. A fine merchant.