A new style of wine list

Table blog

The UK restaurant scene has never been more rich and diverse, not just regarding the types of food on offer, but also with the choice of wines. This is partly thanks to the diligence of the restaurants themselves of course, but there is another group that deserves our recognition: the small independent wine importers that ship the wines to our shores in the first place. These intrepid wine lovers scour the globe to source the very best bottles for our cafes, hotels and restaurants to draw from. Since they only sell business-to-business however (or if they do sell direct to consumer they often don’t shout about it), they usually go unthanked and unnoticed by the wine drinking public. I’m hoping that our new wine list at The Table will give them some well deserved time in the limelight.

The Table is an award-winning independent restaurant near London Bridge run by the inspiring Shaun Alpine-Crabtree for nearly a decade. Since day one he has loudly championed its suppliers, whether it be sources of sustainable fish or working with homeless charity St Mungo’s which provides daily boxes of herbs and vegetables. I’ve worked with Shaun on-and-off for five years, and when he asked me to put together a new wine list to go with his new menu, it seemed natural that we should acknowledge our wine suppliers with the same enthusiasm.

So every six months we’ll be working with a different independent wine shipper, dedicating the whole wine list to their discoveries in order to showcase what makes them special. This unique approach will put the spotlight on these unsung heroes of the UK wine scene and allow us to keep the list fresh and constantly evolving in tandem with the menu. The first supplier we’re working with is Swig, widely considered by those in the know as one of the best in the business (particularly when it comes to their range of modern South African wines which is second to none). I’ll let them introduce themselves:

“We are a small tribe. Population: six.
We believe we have the three attributes required of any successful wine merchant: integrity, experience and a keen gag reflex!
We feed on a rich diet of positive feedback and reflected glory, but ours is a fragile ecosystem and we will perish if people don’t bang the drum on our behalf. Word of mouth is our only form of advertising so we hope that, once you have tried our wines, you will feel inspired to tell a friend.”

After tasting through their range, I’ve selected a range of different styles, regions and grape varieties to create a balanced but lean wine list of six reds, six whites, three sparklings and a rosé – with most available by the glass. You can see it here, just click on the Drinks List button: The Table Menus. The new menu and list is now live, so next time you’re in the area, be sure to pop in for a bite to eat. And a glass of wine, obviously.

Image used by kind permission of Saffron Powell Brown of We Love Food It’s All We Eat.