(by Peter Richards MW & Susie Barrie MW)
We’ve all been there.
Going for the safe, slightly unexciting option on the wine list. For so many reasons – none of them really helpful to either the establishment or us, the guests. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions we’re asked: how to find the right wine on the list?
Well, now we’ve taken our first step to help out with this perennial dilemma. We’ve teamed up with Mercure Hotels in the UK to choose three wines – all delicious, great value and a little bit unexpected – to sit at the heart of their new Flavours from the Cellar wine list. We launched the concept this week at an event in London Bridge (which featured American Beauty style rose petal-strewn tables – beautiful if slightly disconcerting).
Mercure was always known for its food, especially in its original locations in France. And they take their wine seriously too, as we’ve discovered. Around 40% of their turnover comes from food and drink and, within their 72-strong portfolio in the UK, they do around 2,400 weddings every year.
That’s a lot of thirsty people coming through the door.
Mercure wanted to change the way they were approaching wine, making it a bit more fresh, accessible and dynamic. The brief was to come up with a core selection of wines that were deliberately different from the norm but affordable and engaging. The idea is for our selections to change on a regular and seasonal basis. They’ll be available across all Mercure Hotels in the UK, while each hotel can then build their own list around this, in keeping with Mercure’s franchise concept.
The wines launched in the hotels in mid-December and feedback has been encouraging. Apparently, at an internal launch there was almost a stampede when staff were told they could each take a bottle home with them. And the pricing is so keen that apparently some guests, having sampled the wines and drank either glasses or bottles, have been buying in quantity to take home with them.
The wines, which also went down very well at the launch, are as follows:
- The Portuguese Special One: Adega de Pegões Colheita Seleccionada 2013, Setubal, 13% (Portugal) – £22 per bottle, £5.50 for 175ml glass, £7.50 for 250ml glass
- I Want You: Boer & Brit Suikerbossie Pinotage Petit Verdot 2012, 13.5% (South Africa) – £22 per bottle, £5.50 for 175ml glass, £7.50 for 250ml glass
- The Italian Stallion: Passori Rosso Veneto 2013, 14% (Italy) – £24.50 per bottle, £5.95 per 175ml glass, £8.50 per 250ml glass
Here’s a video of us introducing the wines:
And here’s a link to the wine list pdf: Susie & Peter’s Flavours from the Cellar wines for Mercure Hotels UK
The wines all have great stories and are well worth a try so, if you’re in the vicinity of a Mercure and have got a thirst on, do pop in either for a glass or bottle. These surely are some of the best value wines in the UK on-trade (though I guess we should let you decide that) and we’re very proud to be working with Mercure to deliver this kind of value and choice for their guests.
At the very least, it’s a good excuse not to go for the normal, safe option on the list.