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Shepherd Market is a reminder of a less corporate bygone age. Into its quaint alleyways comes this indie wine merchant and bar: sister to the no less sweet Pall Mall Fine Wine. Provençal sunflowers provide the colour palette for a cosy, rustic spot where Ben Van de Meutter (ex-head sommelier at Butlers Wharf Chop House) has put together a starry selection of French and Italian wines backed by a small supporting cast from Lebanon, Iberia and the New World. Expect to spend from £25 to £60 (discounted by 40% to take away) for distinguished Chablis, Sancerre, Pouilly, Claret and a gutsy, bold Cahors – Château de Cénac, Eulalie – or Italian bottles that include a trio of top-notch Sicilians. A dozen more modest wines and fizzies (such as a perky Austrian Grüner Veltliner) come by the glass to enjoy with cheese or charcuterie boards, bruschetta and terrines at outdoors tables.
Kudos to Shepherd Market Wine House for its easy-going expertise and the wonderful setting for enjoying great wine.The more I’ve come to appreciate wine the more I’ve realised there’s still a lot I don’t know and that such a lack of knowledge tends to be the case with so many so-called connoisseurs. Similarly, as I continue to acquaint myself with Mayfair – one of my favourite parts of London for a meandering mosey – the more I feel smoke and mirrors of the brashest affluence and exclusivity for its own sake have obscured and tarnished this upscale and historic neighbourhood’s resplendence.
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