"Tasting a single glass of wine is the equivalent to meeting a stranger, and merely shaking hands with them before moving on. Drinking an entire bottle is more akin to sitting down and having a good chat with someone for an hour or more. These wines from Lay & Wheeler all have something lasting to say, not just a superficial hello and goodbye.
The fad for offering wine pairings in restaurants is relatively new – popularised by the late Parisian chef Alain Senderens. With the rise in small plates, it is a golden opportunity for restaurateurs to offer half a dozen or so sample glasses and charge more than a decent bottle of wine for the privilege. But how can you explore the evolution of a wine if you only get a thimbleful? Given that sommeliers like to show off relatively obscure wines, there is a danger they won’t be to your taste either. Besides, part of the pleasure of drinking wine is seeing how a particular bottle reacts with a whole spectrum of food flavours. One of the most important aspects of wine tasting is to evaluate how the wine evolves in the glass – as just by warming up and being exposed to air has a crucial impact on how it develops. If a wine is immediately attractive and open for business, it can mean it won’t be drinkable in an hour’s time as it may lack spine or structure. Equally, a wine that is closed and
ungiving may develop after an hour or so with exposure to the air and a rising temperature.
Lay & Wheeler has been on the scene for more than 160 years. Renowned for their knowledge of the classic wine regions of the world, they are also showing a wider interest in what lays beyond. They have recently appointed Katy Andersen as managing director. With her background at Princeton and Harvard Business School, there are bound to be exciting moves in the coming months."