Vinopolis was the scene of our first date 7 years ago and we’ve always told ourselves that we would come back one day to raise a glass to reminisce and celebrate. But Vinopolis is closing down at the end of December and so I had to come back to say goodbye, but what with the December madness, the husband is kept busy and so I went along to say goodbye for the both of us with along with a friend and of course, the sprog came along just to keep us girls in line!
Vinopolis occupies an enviable position, right in the heart of London Bridge, Borough Market is a stone’s throw away, we’re on the river and there’s oodles of history here so it’s really sad to think that this place is disappearing and becoming yet another shopping centre!
The process is much as I remember, you start off doing a little wine tasting introduction and even though I have done this before, it pays to refresh the memory!
We learn to hold the glass correctly (Never hold the cup part of the glass, only the stem!), swirl the glass to release the aromas and finally how to slurp indelicately to ensure you get a good heady hit of all that flavour.
Then after a quick tour of the wine caverns, how to work the nifty machines dispensing your samples and an idea of how to best choose what you most like and want to try, we were set loose! You get 7 tokens with your entry and most of the wines are worth one token, with the champagnes and some of the dessert wines needing 2 tokens, but you can always top up if you want to buy more credits!
Can you guess where my first stop was?
Of course it was the champagne bar!
We tried a glass of the non-vintage and rose champagnes (for educational comparison purposes of course) and its so comfortable sitting in that beautiful green room, gossiping away and chatting to the staff that I actually forget we’re supposed to be wine tasting (I don’t usually forget about wine!)
What really strikes me is just how friendly and helpful the staff were – the cynic in me was thinking that since Vinopolis is closing, the staff may well not be so invested in the customers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The sprog almost has his own suite of babysitters and is kept thoroughly entertained by people coming up to play with him, leaving me to get on with the more important task of sampling wines!
We’re tempted by the Tapas bar nestled within the cavern should you be in need of a pause from your wines, they have a gorgeous range of Jamon hanging up but we spent so much time chatting in the champagne room, we think we’d better not stop for another gossip or else we’d still be there come evening!
Now I’m not a wine connoisseur so I’m not going to bore you with the “I drank this and then I drank that” nonsense, except to say I tried a few different samples (Only mini samples don’t worry) and I may even have gone back for a second try of the most delicious Riesling I’ve ever had, which I cannily noted down so I could buy myself a bottle for Christmas.
Since this is the season to be jolly, they’re offering all visitors a mince pie and mulled wine which they recommend you have at the end so as to not mess with your wine tasting palate. The hot spicy wine is exactly what you need as you’re contemplating going back into the cold outside world and we leave full of the warm and fuzzies.
Vinopolis is still open for a few weeks yet, so it’s not too late to head down there and say goodbye to my favourite wine spot and kick off the festive season in style. Don’t hang around, Vinopolis will not be back next year!
Disclosure: We were guests of Vinopolis but as always, all thoughts are on my own.