I love tasting a good wine, so trying out a new watering hole for the discerning drinker was not exactly hard work, especially when it’s virtually on the doorstep. So last week, I did a postcode hop from W4 to W3 to experience a new kind of drinking establishment. Vindinista opened recently, in February 2015, by wife-and-husband team Paola Tich and Mike Taylor.
Vindinista is a wine bar like no other; it’s perfectly formed and bijou interior looks like it was sliced cleanly out of a West End boutique hotel and transplanted into the wilds of the rapidly gentrifying Acton, West London. The interiors are great and I particularly love this print on the wall of a female dandy inhaling a aromas from a tasting glass.
A small group of food and drink bloggers was invited along for a tasting and menu sampling, courtesy of the owners Paola and Mike, to get to know the place a bit better. We tried seven wines in all which you can see on the tasting list in the photo above. On the list was sparkling, white, rosé and red which were accompanied with various charcuterie and cheeses; here are my thoughts on what we tried. And note well: I’m by no means a wine expert but it was great to discover all of these wines (especially as I’m stuck in a pinot noir rut at the moment)…
The first two sparkling wines, which are available by the glass, include a rather delightful one from Patagonia in Argentina. It’s called the NQN Malma Cuvée Reserve NV which is quite lively with a biscuity taste reminscent of champagne. The second choice, the Colet Navazos Extra Brut from Spain, has a hint of sherry. I think itwould work well with some salted almonds, aioli with bread, some coarse pate event and some manchego to bring a rounded experience. Sherry is not my tipple of choice, but I would buy this unless for an aperitif at a dinner party. Spanish sparkling wines and cavas can often be too fizzy and acidic but this was smooth and aromatic.
And so on to the white wines; one English and one German. The Three Choirs House Dry was much better than I expected for an English wine; ; English wine in my mind is usually associated with over sweetened gooseberries. It was very light and drinkable and nice and dry too! The great thing about emerging wines is that they are completely irreverent when it comes to naming and Bullshit Grauburgunder Pinot Grigio Gris from Germany is no exception. I’m not a great fan of German wines per se, but again this was pleasant and dry.
Most unusual of all was the Rosé Du Grappin, a traditional foot-trodden Gamay and it was interesting and a talking point; not sure I would order this unless with a group who wanted to try out something adventurous and different.
We then moved onto the reds with the Austrian Pitnauer Velvet which I enjoyed, not least because I’m a red-head when it comes to wines. However, it was the Li Veli Askos Susumaniello from Italy which stole the show and was my favourite. It’s the kind of wine you can really savour, it’s smooth and full bodied without too many tannins. There’s a brilliant story behind it too which involves the Greeks and Puglia so have a read up here.
While the wine bar is small, and seats less than 20 I think, the range of wines on offer has big ideas. It is worldly to say the least and very well curated. With a choice of around 20 in all, the wine list changes throughout the seasons. This Summer you’ll find wines from near and far; Hungary, Germany, Austria and Tenerife. The wines are made from unusual and interesting grapes such as Susumaniello, Zenit, Blaufränkisch, ListánNegra and Godello which will certainly test your mettle when it comes to your knowledge of wine. Stacey who is the sommelier is on hand to guide you through your choices if the owners aren’t there so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
For the more conservative wine drinker, there is a small list of by-the-bottle only wines such as Chablis, Rioja and Malbec. I think you should just jump right in to the wine list and avoid anything familiar as you won’t be disappointed and you will come away with a more educated palate!
Customers also have the option to buy a bottle from across the road at Park+Bridge, a wine merchant owned by the same couple, and drink it at Vindinista for a £10 surcharge.
Many of the wines follow biodynamic, organic or minimal intervention philosophies. Current artisan producers include Andrew Nielsen of Le Grappin, whose Macon-Villages and foot-trodden Gamay rosé are both served from a bag-in-box; David Bowley of The Vinterloper in Australia; and Suertes del Marques from Tenerife.
Vindinista is definitely charming and quirky, it has no kitchen as such so the menu is limited to cold cuts, cheeses and antipasto / tapas. There is one hot item on the menu which is a toasted cheese and truffle sandwich which smelled divine but not one for me as I’m gluten free – but you can get gf crackers which was a real bonus. You can expect to order spiced nuts, olives, potted shrimp, cheese plates and charcuterie to accompany your wines.
To conclude on the tasting and the overall experience; I think this is a great find for people who want to explore West London outside of Zone 1 or even Zone 2. Churchfield Road in Acton is definitely changing for the better with the addition of Park + Bridge and Vindinista. The wine bar atmosphere is welcoming and friendly so suited for a drink or two with a group of friends and it wouldn’t feel awkward to pop in for a glass of something special and read a book either. Top of the list for me though is the range of wines and the genuine enthusiasm of the team for the story telling that goes with it, so definitely worth your while to drop in if you’re in the area.
Paola and Mike also own the nearby Park+Bridge wine merchants which you can see below; I popped in and got a lovely Moulin de Gassac Rosé (France £8.95) for a garden party there as well. Check out the full wine list here, they also do craft beers.
73 Churchfield Road
Acton W3 6AX