The 2013 edition of The Good Food Guide has arrived and, as ever, the wine lists were diligently sampled: our wine awards celebrate those entries which stand neck and shoulders above the rest.
A notable wine list may excel in a variety of ways: perhaps a selection expertly represents the top domaines and producers of a particular region, or has embraced exciting new winemakers. Efforts to provide ample options by the glass or carafe are celebrated, as well as restaurants offering attractive margins on fine wines. The lists themselves also came in for scrutiny; a thoughtful, creative wine list with a clear layout goes a long way.
The Good Food Guide Wine List of The Year
Drake’s Restaurant: Ever since Steve and Serina Drake turned this clock-fronted Georgian house into a destination restaurant, their ambition has rarely gathered dust. Not the least glory of the place, however, is the fantastic wine list, the work of a true devotee, backed up by sensitively proffered advice. Burgundy leads the way, with rich pickings from the Languedoc, Rhône and Savoie, but there are idiosyncratic numbers from elsewhere, too.
And our other wine champions:
Andrew Edmunds: Prices start from £5 a glass, offering unrivalled value on a wonderfully quirky list.
Arbutus: Diners can expect a lively choice, as well as the revelatory option of a 250ml carafe for every single entry.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill: Wine producers have been chosen with care, and by the glass options are superb.
Brawn: A warrior for natural wine, Brawn offers a superb selection by the glass.
Cherwell Boathouse: Fantastic selections from Italy and a standout list of Riesling.
Chez Bruce: The resident sommeliers are careful to take budgets into consideration and there are great options by the glass.
Cigalon: A strong choice of rosés with a rare favouritism for Provence.
Clos Maggiore: Respect is duly paid to region in this big, well-organised list, with good value options to be found.
Copita: A celebration of iconic Spanish bottles, this authoritative list offers a great balance of day to day drinking.
Darroch Learg: A brief but exceptionally well-chosen selection, concentrating on fine vintage Burgundies, Bordeaux and Rhônes.
The Delaunay: Diners are treated to a brilliantly simple choice with some true gems to be found.
Enoteca Turi: A list which peerlessly singles out the best wines from each and every part of Italy, with consideration for all budgets.
Fraiche: This expansive list roams the globe for enlightened and purposeful drinking, as well as celebrating viticulture’s new trailblazers: Ian Hollick in South Australia, for example.
Gauthier Soho: Ace sommelier Roberto Della Pietra explores France, offering some surprising alternative nuggets, on a list complemented by poems and eulogies.
The Harrow at Little Bedwyn: Producers with fabulous credentials on a frequently changing list, touring Australia, Germany and Spain in particular.
Hibiscus: Diners have three sommeliers at their disposal, whose selection is around 85% biodynamic: a natural wine trendsetter.
Holbeck Ghyll: A stupendous, ever-evolving wine list, with some unusual examples from emerging regions such as Georgia and Slovenia.
Hotel TerraVina: An obsessive wine lover’s global selection, full of fascinating flavours.
The Ledbury: Opening with a page of recommendations by the glass, the detailed list has a wonderful choice of mature wines.
Lords of the Manor: Grand wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy are balanced with half-bottle and ‘Sommelier’s Value’ options on this seriously enticing list.
Locanda Locatelli: A beautifully presented Italian list, complete with maps and prices that start at just £3.50 for a glass of fresh Sicilian Catarratto.
The Old Bridge Hotel: Burgundy is a real highlight on this adventurous, top-class list.
The Old Vicarage: Possessing a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon selection, the proprietors run a wine business, with access to a selection of top growers.
Pied-à-Terre: A near-comprehensive coverage of grape varietals and styles, regions and countries. The sommelier’s selection of five glasses – all unusual and aptly chosen – is superb value.
Pollen Street Social: A concise list possessing its own exclusive imports, nurtured by ‘miracle-worker’ sommelier Laure Patry.
The Queensberry Hotel, Olive Tree Restaurant: No fewer than 34 top-class house selections are on offer here, with a real effort made to seek out unusual options.
Ramsons: A passion for food and wine matching is evident at ramsons, where you are guaranteed a perfect recommendation. Organised into styles with helpful notes.
Restaurant Alimentum: Unexpected treats abound in this well-balanced selection, with fervent praise for the Puglian Primitivo ‘Le Maschere’.
The River Café, Hammersmith: An unashamed celebration of Italian regional viticulture which visits Piedmont, Tuscany and Sardinia among others.
Roger Hickman’s: A large choice of growers and varietals offering great value via terrific house options.
RSJ: With a focus on wines from the Loire valley, the list is simply astonishing.
Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor: A well-balanced list that makes an effort to highlight unfamiliar grapes and styles.
The Square: With a brilliant selection of sparkling wines, this vast collection keeps on growing.
Terroirs: With a wonderful choice, bantering commentary and realistic prices, Terroirs holds natural, hand made wines in high regard.
Ubiquitous Chip: With value throughout, the list has a particularly impressive choice of Champagnes.
The Vineyard at Stockcross: Explore the byways of the best Californian winemaking and peek at the cellar through the new glass floor.
Vinoteca: You can’t go wrong with Vinoteca’s broad, excellent-value picks: both the Farringdon and Marylebone branches garnered an award.
Wild Honey: Nothing short of a trailblazer: almost all the selections can be bought by the bottle or carafe.
The Witchery by the Castle: An expansive array and a haven for fine Champagne lovers, whilst maintaining real value.
Zucca: Their reasonably priced, 100% Italian selection specialises in superb producers such as the Tuscan Ornellaia.
28°-50°, Fetter Lane: Peerless in options by the glass, this sound selection is constantly in flux.
Filed Under: F&B
About the Author: