The latest addition to M Wine Store, the aptly named M Wine Bar, seems a great leveller: it is a saviour for both the discerning connoisseur and the total newbie. With advice from top sommeliers and the chance to taste around 130 different wines, experts can find that long-hankered for vintage and wine newbies can fake it by bringing along a bottle from a newly discovered wine maker to a dinner party.
M Wine Store has lived here on Victoria Street for two years; the expansive M Restaurant sits just downstairs. Operations Director Andre Mannini explains that the new wine bar’s aim is to be “aspirational but affordable”. It’s a place for discovering gorgeous new tipples to take home for a do or to enjoy leisurely in the bar’s glossy surroundings.
The venue itself is spacious, elegant and lined with precious looking bottles. But it’s the Enomatic machines that are the show-stealer here. Up the winding staircase, these clever ‘vending machines’ can be found lining the wall. They dispense wine at the perfect temperature while also protecting against oxidation, and they’re operated using M-branded credit cards. Guests can select from three sizes, the smallest (and least expensive) being a sample sip. This sleek bit of tech won M the Caterer and Hotelkeeper’s ‘Best Use of Technology’ award in 2016.
On hand to dispense recommendations is Group Sommelier Lenart Cernelic – formerly of sketch Restaurants – whose vast vino knowledge ensures guests are able to hunt down just what they’re after. M Wine Store specialises in wines from Argentina, the USA, Australia, South Africa, France, and Italy but also features sips from the rest of the world, so tackling the burden of choice is no meagre feat.
There’s a shimmering display of reds, whites and rosés gracing the Enomatic machines tonight, straddling the price range between £1.50 and £5.50 for a small taste. (For the whole range, the smallest sample ranges from £1.30 to a staggering £130, demonstrating that there really is a wine for every budget.) We’re welcomed with a glass of very smooth and quaffable Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa, then handed a special credit card each and left to roam free around the bar, tasting area and restaurant. It’s not long before we’re up on the mezzanine, peering into the display of bottles inside the Enomatic machines.
Sommelier Ernesto recommends the Reisling Hugel 1998 from Alsace, so we obligingly make it our starting point. It’s a beauty: exceptionally sweet and sunshine-y with layers of juicy fruits including apples.
We move onto Penfolds Bin 51, a pale straw Riesling from South Australia that combines floral and citrus fruit flavours. Newton Unfiltered, a Chardonnay from Napa Valley in the USA, boasts a complex and distinctive straw/wood taste.
On to the reds. Le Volte Dell ‘Ornellaia is made from a blend of reds and features a certain bitterness alongside silky tannins. The highlight of the evening is the Sanford 2011 Pinot Noir: a velvety mouthful bursting with sumptuous berry aromas. From the Santa Rita Hills, California, it’s the most expensive on offer via the Enomatic tonight.
Another exquisite touch: M Wine Store engraves bottles with a message of choice. We left with a bottle of red engraved with our name. At Christmas time, this extra service is especially worth noting.
The best time to visit M Wine Bar is in December while their special offer runs to mark the launch. Between 5pm and 7pm, snow cannons will eject a flurry of snow onto the street to indicate that their Electronic Wine Tasting Machine Credit Cards are available at a 25% discount.
M Wine Bar
M Wine Store
74 Victoria Street
EatCookExplore was a guest of M Wine Bar.