BUYING a bottle of wine can be a daunting business.
What country, what grape, what colour? Is it to go with fish, meat, Indian, dessert?
I expect that’s why sales of Chardonnay and Merlot are so high as it’s a safe choice that can pretty much be drunk with anything – a kind of session wine for the undiscerning and uneducated.
I generally order wine by price figuring after two glasses it all tastes largely the same anyway.
I’m not anti-wine and I do know the difference between plonk and Pétrus but ultimately once you are well oiled, why keep shelling out on Chablis when Hungarian antifreeze is two zlotys a bottle?
So my idea to head to a wine bar was one fraught with dangers especially as, being a confirmed heathen, my preferred drink is lager.
As I stepped into the inviting, low ceilinged bar area of Davy’s Wine Vaults my fears grew as I instantly spotted a complete absence of beer taps along the bar.
I breathed deeply and headed toward the waiting staff.
“Would you like to look at the wine list?” I was asked as the gentleman pointed toward a thick book of wines from around the world.
“Not a lot of point.” said I.
“All I want is something light and fruity in red, and I have no idea about make, model or vintage.”
And with that I was presented with a bottle from the Brouilly region which was indeed light and fruity.
The price tag of £22.95 was less light and slightly more than I wanted to spend but I chalked that down to idiot tax on people like me who really should pay more attention during the wine bit on cooking shows.
Davy’s is everything you want in a wine bar.
Dark, cavernous and slightly mysterious, with unimaginable wines on offer, but a knowledgeable chap at hand to offer sage advice.
It will appeal to wine ignoramuses like me as well as those quaffers looking for something to challenge their educated palate.
The glasses were immaculately clean and the decor suitably winey with bottles adorning shelves around the cosy bar area.
It was a little like my own house except their bottles are posh ones for decoration and mine are there because I am too lazy to go to the bottle bank.
The bar clock was stuck at 8.52pm which was slightly unnerving when I glanced at it shortly after arriving from work but as the wine slipped down it became reassuringly early.
In the background I could hear Nick the sommelier chatting about the Loire Valley and vines, and a couple on another table discussed plans for a wedding reception.
There was no poncey wine talk about grass flavours with a creosote tinge in this place – this is for people who drink wine because they love it.
Tasting sessions are offered which to my mind means free snifters, and a full menu of bar snacks alongside a more formal dinner in the restaurant section looked fantastic.
I had a plate of cheeses and didn’t regret the fact I’d spent well over my normal quick-drink-after-work budget.
On my next visit I may even choose my own bottle.
How Davy’s Wine Vaults rates:
DECOR **** (cavernous wine cellar)
DRINK **** (it’s only wine but it’s a great range)
PRICE *** (you get what you pay for)
ATMOSPHERE *** (relaxing, cool, exclusive)
STAFF ***** (encyclopedic knowledge of wine)
Address: Davy's Wine Vaults, 161 Greenwich High Road, Greenwich, SE10 8JA