What to drink at Morchella

Coming from the team behind Perilla, newly-opened Exmouth Market wine bar promises a European-focused list.

Speaking with the drinks business, co-founder Matthew Emmerson, who handles the drinks side of things, said that there are several key points that set Morchella apart from other London wine bars: “I’m biased because I helped create the space and the list, but I’d say some of the points that differentiate us are the incredible snack menu, the 300 strong old world, classic, funky and coastal wine list, the vibe, the room. I feel there is something for everyone here.”

Emmerson also suggested that there is plenty of difference between the wine list at Morchella and Perilla in Newington Green: “Perilla’s list is short concise and regularly changing. We do have a big black book of wine at Perilla but much of this was ransacked for Morchella but we have begun the fun job of restocking it with unique wines. Morchella stocks a much greater fine wine and classic wine collection whereas Perilla is maybe more fun and focused on lower intervention.”

Among the “classic” regions represented in Morchella’s list is Burgundy, including the likes of Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 2020 (£194 a bottle) and Raphaëlle Guyot Les Hates 2022 (£111). Asked whether he thought Burgundy was still ‘cool’, despite the prices the region commands putting off some younger consumers with shallower pockets, Emmerson retorted: “A wine list shouldn’t be defined by what’s ‘cool’. Burgundy is delicious and will always have a place on any list!”

Emmerson

However, more unusually, the list has a sizeable offering from Central Europe, including the likes of Czech sekt from Krasna Hora (£85) and Slovenian Sauvignon Blanc by Marof (£129).

“Our head of wine the very talented Juste Karbauskaite is from Lithuania, and is proud to showcase the region,” suggested Emmerson. “We work with an incredible supplier called Basket Press Wines who import wine from that Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia. Working closely with them Juste found some incredible wines that matches the value & quality you find across Central Europe.”

As the bottle prices might suggest, this is not a destination for cheap and cheerful wines, but Emmerson shared that smaller serves are available for those just wanting to dip their toe into the wine range before committing to a bottle.

“We have a regularly changing by the glass offering of five reds, five whites and five skin contacts, ranging from £6 a glass,” he shared. “Not all of it is entry level, but there is a nice mix. We’ve been working with Uncharted Wines to list as many as we can on tap for environmental reason, but this also allows better bang for your buck.”

Emmerson described the food offering as “wholesome” with inspiration from “across the Mediterranean”, and dishes such as pork jowl with membrillo and a Sicilian seafood stew certainly meet those criteria.

Asked to select his desert island bottle from the list, and what dish he would pair it with, Emmerson bent the rules and opted for multiple plates with one wine: “It would have to be a selection of snacks – spanakopita, churros, vitello tonnato, mussel pil pil – with a bottle of the Ktima Ligras Roditis (£88) from Pella in Greece. Textural, nutty, and with an incredible minerality.”

Related reading:

What to drink at Lita

What to drink at El Bar de Cavita

This article originally appeared on the drinks business.

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