For as long as I can remember, the only places to buy wine in Brixton have been the supermarkets and off-licenses more accustomed to selling cheap vodka and malt liquor. The House of Bottles has historically been better than some, particularly when it had for a few months some merchandise that bore a striking resemblance to the stock sold by Virgin Wines. But its staff was still not sure to do with well-dressed friends of ours who, on the way to supper at our apartment, stopped in and asked the bemused sales clerk if he could recommend a nice chardonnay.
But now, after many years, a wine shop is coming to Brixton. The storefront is inside the main Brixton market (the one with Franco Manca and Wild Caper), further down that aisle in the direction of the Atlantic Road entrance. There’s not much inside yet except a few (fancy) wine crates and a sign proclaiming the imminent arrival of an independent wine merchant selling interesting parcels. The window sports an alcohol license application, with objections due in by early April.
After my little jig of delight, I’ve started to wonder whether local custom can sustain a (hopefully) gently-priced, but not completely mainstream, offering. There’s also the all-important question of whether our neighbours—and indeed the owner—like the same sort of wine that we do. Here’s hoping for lots of stinky reds, with southern France well represented, and whites with a passing familiarity at most with the inside of an oak barrel.
Any wariness aside, this could be a very good thing.