Although it has already scooped the award for London’s most original wine list, Duddell’s has added even more quirky touches to its drinks selection.
The restaurant, which occupies a former church near London Bridge, was named ‘London’s best wine list for originality‘ by Wine List Confidential at the London Wine Fair in May this year.
However, head sommelier Konrad Lassota has made further updates to the list, making the offer even wackier, including a selection of wine flights grouped using unconventional headings, and a section devoted just for wines made by women.
In terms of the former, diners at the Cantonese restaurant can now try a triumvirate of 75ml servings under the titles of ‘non-interventionist’ – featuring, for example a Georgian Rkatsiteli – or ‘new world-old school’, with a Petit Manseng from Marlborough (see sample from the new list, bottom).
Along with these, Lassota has retained a selection of five wines representing the five elements of traditional Chinese thought, known as Wu Xing .
Beyond this is a range of wines chosen by his number two at Duddell’s, sommelier Izabela Pi, called ‘women behind the bottles’, with labels from Emma Rice at Hampshire’s Hattingley Valley, and Ayana Misawa, who is the winemaker at Japan’s Grace Winery – a top producer of Koshu in Yamanashi.
This part of the list also includes a brief history of women’s role in the world of wine (see below).
Beyond this is an extensive list arranged by country, including wines from China and the ‘ancient world’ – comprising Algeria, Armenia and Lebanon – along with a small selection of different vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild, which feature to promote the connection between art and wine (the walls of the restaurant are adorned with rotating art displays).
Despite the quirky selection of wines, and their original arrangement, Lassota told the drinks business that his best-seller was Chablis – with the restaurant pouring more Premier Cru ‘Les Fourneaux’ from Domaine Colette Gros (£59) than any other drink on the list.
As for a db food-and-wine-matching recommendation, a brilliant discovery came in the form of Armenian red grape Areni Noir from Zorah Wines (under its Karasi brand) paired with Cantonese roast duck.
When db expressed surprise and delight at the match, having previously tried a Nuits St Georges with the dish, Lassota said that the Armenian-Cantonese combination shouldn’t be seen as strange, pointing out that this far eastern European nation was a lot closer to China than Burgundy.