Ampéli, a new wine-focused restaurant that opened on Charlotte Street in London this week, will shine a light on Greek wines in a list compiled by Yiannis Karakasis MW.
Called ‘The Indigenous List’, the wine offering is led by variety and focuses on Greece’s bounty of native grapes. It opens with a quartet of Greek sparkling wines made from Moschofilero, Assyrtiko, Vidiano, and a blend of Muscat, Malagousia and Xinomavro.
Next is a pair of “new age” retsinas aimed at Sherry lovers. There is an entire page dedicated to Assyrtiko from Santorini, Crete and the Aegean Islands, followed by a broad selection of indigenous Greek whites, including Robola and Savatiano.
The reds section flags up native grapes Agiorgitiko from the Pelopponese, Xinomavro from Naoussa, Limniona from Thessaly and Limnio from Thrace.
The end of the list focuses on low intervention wines, including a couple of amphora-fermented orange wines. It also features a quartet of sweet wines including a White Muscat from Samos and a vinsanto from Santorini.
Helpfully, Karakasis MW has included how to pronounce each grape variety alongside each wine. Bottle prices range from £25 for Tetramythos Retsina to £145 for T-Oinos Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano 2017 from the island of Tinos.
The 80-cover restaurant also offers a selection of ouzo, raki, mastica and barrel-aged tsipouro. Founded by Greek photographer Jenny Pagoni, Ampéli serves dishes inspired by Greek and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.
Head chef Oren Goldfeld, who previously worked at Ottolenghi’s Nopi, will serve the likes of feta saganaki with tomato jam; okra and goat’s cheese fritters; smoked cod’s roe dip with lavash crisps; spiced potato with egg yolk, brown shrimp and harissa mayo; and braised cuttlefish with orzo and red pepper sauce.
The desserts include poppy seed loukoumades – doughnuts with Greek mountain tea syrup; and chocolate mahlab mousse with hazelnuts.
Given Pagoni’s artistic background, Ampéli will showcase the works of up-and-coming artists, including watercolourist, Leonie de Lange, and sculptor Vasiliki Maliopoulou, who crafts works from reclaimed materials found along the Greek coastline.
“Greek wine is undergoing an exciting renaissance, so I’m looking forward to introducing some new wines to London. Ampéli will be a place for people to drink something new they might never have tasted, and share dishes that reflect the diversity of the Eastern Med,” Pagoni said.