Berry Bros & Rudd

BERRY BROS. 
& RUDD

With over 300 years of expertise to call on, who better to give us a few wine tips than our St James’s neighbours…

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As part of our residency in St James’s, the Hole & Corner team took the opportunity to visit Berry Bros & Rudd, Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchants, who have operated out of the same address at 3 St James’s Street, London, since 1698. Here, Geordie Willis, brand director, gives us some insight into current wine trends and investment, while Berry Bros & Rudd’s expert buyers pick out their top recommendations…

How much have you noticed people’s tastes in wine have changed recently – and have you changed what you stock in response to this?
With regards to drinking wines, our customers are starting to show their adventurous side. Great value can be found in the less well-known regions, particularly in the New World, and we take great pride in finding interesting new wines. Our list includes wines from the classic Old World but also from regions as diverse as Lebanon, Bulgaria and China.

What are interesting new areas to invest in for anyone collecting or planning their cellar?
Bordeaux is still the standard-bearer for the investment market, but we are also seeing considerable interest in top-end Burgundies, super Tuscans and prestige Cuveé Champagnes.

What common mistakes do people make when investing in wine?
Wine investment is a long-term plan and there is a danger of looking for a quick return (we would recommend a 5 – 15 year period as a minimum). Personally, I always look to buy wines that I enjoy drinking; it’s far more rewarding that way.

Berry Bros & Rudd’s top five recommendations:

012012 Louro de Bolo, Bodegas Rafael Palacios, Valdeorras, Spain, £16.95
Rafael Palacios is the brother of Spain’s leading winemaker, Álvaro Palacios. It should come as no surprise that the family genius, enthusiasm and attention to detail are also evidenced in Rafael’s wines. Regular stirring of the lees (the dead yeast cells formed during fermentation) imparts oatmeal and honied notes to back up the evocative aromas of gorse, fennel and Galician landscapes. The palate has an oily resonance, with stone fruit notes, a herbal backdrop and a saline mineralty on the finish.
Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer

022009 Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Monte dei Ragni, Fumane, Veneto, Italy, £37.95
Beautiful red cherry vividness; such clarity, gentle precision, yet open-hearted with crunchy fresh cherry stone aromas; the brilliant red fruit indicative of the vintage. Still evolving, this dry wine (no residual sugar) offers a dreamy palate of red rose, loganberry fruit and salato (salty) flavours.
David Berry Green, Wine Buyer

032011 Côte de Nuits Villages, Domaine David Clark, Burgundy, £27.50
Made from old vines that are thought to be around 60 years of age in the commune of Brochon, this is has a gorgeous perfume. It is quite lean and tight in its youth, with some tannins rather than acidity to provide the structure.
Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer

042012 Mullineux White, Swartland,
South Africa, £17.95
An intriguing blend of old bush vine Chenin Blanc that gives weight and vibrant acidity to the wine; with 16% old vine Clairette that adds an aromatic lift and 8% younger Viognier that has had a period of skin contact to add additional flavour complexity and palate weight. The wine’s rich texture is further enhanced by extended ageing in old oak barrels on the lees. This wine has the body to be a superb accompaniment for barbecued or fried fish and white meats.
Martin Hudson MW - Wine Buyer

052012 Schieferterrassen, Heymann-Löwenstein, Mosel, £17.50
Taut and focused, this is incredibly mineral and peppery, with a long fresh finish. Drinkable in the short term but will also keep.
David Berry Green, Wine Buyer

Berry Bros & Rudd

Photographs Emil Bendixen