We heart the Green Off License
One thing that will strike visitors to England is the abundance of Off Licenses (aka ‘Offies’). They’re everywhere, they open late and offer a surprising array of cheap beer, wine and spirits. This puts it on par with Japan in terms of being the easiest country to buy booze and become an alcoholic. While I was in Japan I did come across beer and Sake vending machines in parks which was both awesome and horrifying at the same time – I have yet to find a beer vending machine in the UK. If you do know of one give us a shout.
The people that run Offies are a friendly bunch, but often they’re catering to the ‘beer and fags’ crowd and don’t give much thought to the wine as long as they have red, white and sparkling in stock. However, at one of the Winehos tasting sessions we got a tip-off on a sweet little Offie that has a fantastic selection of wine. Check out the Le Pressoir review, we were very pleased to find a whole family of these babies in-store and will be tasting all of them soon!
The store is run by an old Turkish guy called Solly, he usually heads out and does the buying rounds in the mornings and mans the store in the evenings. He loves his wine and chooses them himself, you can tell when you check out the selection. All the wines are organised by country with wines from Spain, Italy, France, California, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey. When we headed in Solly wasn’t around but we had a good chat with his son, Mustafa, who shared his favourite wine with us.
Mustafa isn’t a huge wine drinker, but likes the odd bottle. It was hard for him to pin down a favourite “as it depends on the occasion”, but he does recommend the Casillero del Diablo, Carmenere 2008. And, at £6.49 it’s a pretty good bargain. He says he has drunk a lot of different wines (one of the obvious benefits of working in a wine shop) and has had £2.99 wines that are the same or better than bottles for £10, showing that you don’t have to spend a lot to find something nice. We will definitely be giving the Casillero del Diablo a try and let you know what we think. If you’re in Newington Green pop in, have a chat and pick up a bottle.