London drinking: Bedales

Jamie Goode checks out Bedales, a chain of three wine bars with an eclectic selection of wines

I’ve been in Bedales twice in the last couple of weeks: once in their Spitafields branch, and the other time in the older Borough Market venue. There’s another venue, at Leadenhall Market, too, and Bob’s Lobster is also part of the group.

These wine bars are a great place to drink wine. Although it’s mainly about drinking wine in situ, you can also buy the wines to take away, at a discount. And there’s food here, too: small plates/charcuterie, typical of this sort of wine bar, done well.

The wine list is well chosen. As well as punter-friendly wines, there’s some geek stuff, too: lots of choice, with some rarities. A nice blend, and I didn’t have any trouble finding things I wanted to drink. There’s a printed by the glass list (including 50 ml tasters) with a selection of bottles, too, and then the rest of the range is on the shelves. You have to get up and look at what they’ve got.

The challenge is that our demographic is from people who want to spend £20 a bottle and then others who want to drink cult wines,’ says Angelo van Dyk, the wine manager. ‘I’m trying to find a balance. It has been an interesting list to curate.’

This works fine in the more modern Spitafields branch, where the shelves are all accessible. But in Borough Market, if it’s busy, you can’t really reach the shelves without being incredibly intrusive to the tables sitting right next to them.

Prices are good, and this is one of the top places in London to actually drink good wine without bankrupting yourself.

Yo El Ray 2018 Western Cape, South Africa
This is the wine project of South African ex-pat Angelo van Dyk, the wine manager at Bedales. It’s a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Grenache with real elegance. A fine, spicy nose leads to supple cherries and red berries. A lovely drinkable style, pure and fresh, with fine-grained tannins. 92/100 (£48 to drink in, Bedales)

Xavier Weisskopf Le Rocher des Violettes Côt Vielles Vignes 2017 Touraine, Loire
12.5% alcohol. This organic Malbec from Touraine really hits the spot. Bright, juicy and exuberant with fresh red cherries, plums and berries. There’s also some meat, spice and charcoal with a hint of pepper. This wine shows a restrained sort of wildness, but overall it is drinkable and vital. 92/100 (Bedales, Spitafields)

Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi 2018 Kakheti, Georgia
13% alcohol. A wine made in traditional large, sunken clay fermenting vessels (qvevri). Concentrated, dense, meaty and spicy with lovely blackberry and cherry fruit. Has a sweet core with nice richness. Lots of depth to this wine: floral and tannic with nice tar hints. Not subtle, but so delicious. 93/100 (Bedales, Borough)

Beck Zweigelt 2018 Österreich (Austria)
12.5% alcohol. Judith Beck is based in Burgenland, and this is an organic Zweigelt with amazing drinkability. Dense, reductive and spicy with juicy cherry fruit and some black fruit character, framed by some nice green sappiness. The reduction dissipates after a while. Lovely focus and drinkability. Edgy and delicious, with some savoury hints. 92/100 (Bedales, Borough)