'Go for the wine, stay for the wine, stumble out for the wine'


Open Mon–Fri midday–11pm, Sat 11am–11pm, Sun midday–4pm

As someone who experienced minor palpitations trying to decide which shade of black I’d pick for the last iPhone release, choice is not something I always deal well with. A constant sufferer of buyer’s remorse, my life is an insufferable struggle of limitless choice, a battle with self-doubt to convince myself that I am buying—or have bought—the right thing.

So, as you can imagine, I generally receive the question “What wine would you like?” in the same manner I receive phrases like “I’m sorry sir, we’ve sold out of that” and “I’m late, it’s yours”. What wine would I like? How do I know? I just spent the last twenty minutes deciding what food to have, now you expect me to choose a wine to go with it—why don’t you just ask me to cure cancer while you’re at it?

So, I do what I always do: pick something a third of the way down the list. This is, usually, where you’ll find the wine list G-spot. A bottle of something you wouldn’t find on a supermarket shelf and won’t make you look like a tramp, but also something affordable enough to mean you’ll have sufficient money left at the end of the meal to pay your rent. It’s a fine line and one I have refined over years and years of careful and costly research that I’m letting you have for free. You’re welcome.

“Good choice” your dinner companion will say, allowing you to momentarily bask in the sunshiny rays of smugness as you graciously accept the compliment and pretend that you know what you’re talking about.

However, there is a very cheerful alternative to this life of vino-deception. Her name is Marina and she works at Vinoteca in Marylebone. Marina knows more about wine than I do about not knowing about wine, which is a fucking lot.

She paired a medium dry bottle of French sauvignon with fish and two separate glasses of red—a French claret and an Italian Valpolicella Ripasso—with beef. No, I don’t know what these are either, but that’s the point. That’s why you go here, so you can be told what to drink and be happy about it.

I think that you would be less likely to go for the food, which was competent—good even—but nothing to write home about. All the fun is in the stuff you wash it down with. Go for the wine, stay for the wine, stumble out for the wine.

Cheers, Marina.

The details:

Vinoteca, 15 Seymour Place, London W1H 5BD; 020 7724 7288; marylebone@vinoteca.co.ukwww.vinoteca.co.uk

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