Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH
WLC Rank : 168
Glass from : £ 6.50 (175 ml)
BEST FOREver-changing Coravin Selection
Large, well trained sommelier team
A large selection which will be familiar to anyone who has popped into the excellent wine and spirits department of the former linen merchant that is Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.
Bartender turned Sommelier, Diego Muntoni, has dedicated 12 years of his life to Harvey Nichols, ‘developing my wine knowledge, gaining the WSET diploma and winning a WSET scholarship along the way.’
Built as a power station, turned cold store for makers of OXO stock when it brazenly added illuminated windows shaped as the OXO logo to the now iconic tower to circumnavigate laws against conventional signage, Oxo Tower Wharf is now home to Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, overlooking the tidal Thames. Here, Muntoni and his eight-strong team of sommeliers aim to have a wine from the Harvey Nichols portfolio, from top-tier, rested Bordeaux to Brazilian Chardonnay, and new-wave South Africans, to sate every palate and occasion, ‘ensuring our guests an exceptional wine experience.’
The rotating by-the-glass selection runs between 40-60 bottles thanks to Coravin, ‘including some very interesting white Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc, and the guests’ favourite, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Charbonnière.’ Other options may include Kistler, Chardonnay and Fontodi’s Flaccianello della Pieve from magnum. Indeed, big bottles are a big deal up here.
Given dining here can feel quite celebratory, it is little surprise to encounter such an ample Champagne selection, especially so for vintage expressions. Hence the presence of Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francais, Jacques Selosse, three vintages of Cristal Rosé, and 1989 Krug in magnum. ‘However, we have gradually increased our range of English sparkling wines, including our own label Brut and Brut Rose. There is a bright future for English Sparkling as sales are increasing and new brands are entering the market.’
Indeed, the total number of English wines currently approaches 30 bottles, including still whites and reds. Hence, dishes by long standing Executive Head Chef, Jeremy Bloor, who likely does not rely on OXO cubes, may include slow-cooked suckling pig with mushrooms, parsnip and mustard purée, Brussels sprout leaves and crackling crumbs with Stopham Vineyards’ Pinot Gris, or lamb loin with cumin-scented quinoa, chestnut gnocchi and goat curd with Gusbourne’s Pinot Noir, culminating in an OXO Chocolate Plate with Noble Harvest from Denbies.
Overall, given the crack wine team and an expertly curated selection of 800 bins, dining here is to gaze through an OXO shaped window onto the world of wine in all its glory.
By Douglas Blyde.
A whopper of a selection which will be familiar to anyone who has popped into the excellent Harvey Nichols wine shop in Knightsbridge.
Some good value is to be had with the Harvey Nichols branded wines, which include a Grüner Veltliner and a ‘Plan de Dieu’ from the Rhône. A great buying team ensures the list here is consistently tip-top and worthy of exploration.
The Coravin selection has particular appeal if you feel inclined to dabble in the fine wine offering but don’t want to haemorrhage money – this isn’t a cheap list. No fewer than 30 listings are available in 75ml or 125ml measures by the device. Castillo Ygay 2007 (£34 for 125ml) and Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 from magnum (£17) stand out among the reds.
There’s a hell of a lot of Chamapagne here, often mature vintage stuff, with plenty in magnum format too (there’s a big mag selection generally, in fact). Bolly, DP, Krug and Cristal all get generous coverage for free-spending bubbly lovers; Harvey Nicks’ own-label OXO Champagne is also perfectly serviceable, and priced at just £62. There’s a lot of love for English sparkling producers besides. Hambledon Premiere Cuvée would be worth a pop.
Harvey Nicks’ ‘Britalia’ campaign to big up high-end Italian products, including wine, dictates that you’ll see plenty of good gear spanning most Italian regions. Unsurprisingly Piemonte and Tuscany get the most coverage, but Sicily is not far behind, with the excellent Cerasuolo di Vittoria from COS (£63, or £130 for magnum) and Passopisciaro’s equally excellent Etna Rosso (£90) both winking seductively from this section of the list.
While a big list, there’s very little flab. Particularly impressive is the range of New World offerings, which digs deeply enough to necessitate division into sub-regions. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are all worth your attention if you’re looking for value. David Sadie Chenin Blanc from Swartland and Te Mata Gamay Noir from Hawke’s Bay are both worthy purchases in the under £50 bracket.
Along with the nearby Tate Modern Switch House restaurant, one of the sharpest lists you’ll find on the South Bank.
By Darren Smith