I had heard a few things about an interesting wine shop opening in central London, so I popped in on Friday after a tasting of 191 Cru Bourgeois wines from the 2010 vintage. My teeth were coated in tannin so I tried not to smile at anyone!
(Un)fortunately the first person I met as I entered the shop was a friend of mine called Tobias Brauweiler, who is a top sommelier. Tobias had set up the wine list at Ellenborough Park Hotel at the end of Cheltenham racecourse. Tobias showed me around the incredible shop.
If any wine lover wants to see the best of the best I would thoroughly recommend Hedonism.
If you want to see Chateau d'Yquem going back to 1811 (priced at over £100,000 per bottle!) or an uninterrupted vertical of Chateau Mouton Rothschild from 1945-2004, or Jeroboams of Chateau Lafite Rothschild then this is the place to go.
In fact their collection of large format bottles is quite staggering. I mentioned that the racks of Jeroboams, Methusalahs, Imperials and Melchiors looked like torpedoes. They even have a 27 litre bottle.(called a Primat)
The shop is owned by a Russian chap called Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who had previously been a big operator in mobile phones. Mr Chichvarkin takes a very 'hands on' approach to the shop, being there every day supervising and overseeing the shop.
The wine buyer is Alistair Viner, who ran the Harrods wine depertment for many years.
Here is a slightly blurry picture (my fault), of Tobias in the Mouton vault. You can buy the whole collection for £130,000.
The selection and quality of wines is truly amazing, but the staff and ambience are extremely warm and welcoming. There is also an oenomatic tasting machine, so you can taste iconic wines such as Chateau d'Yquem 2001 or other wines. The unusual touch of having a children's play area with Ipads sets this place apart from your average traditional wine merchant. The whole place is an alladins cave for wine lovers, but it is also a wine shop that will undoubtedly attract some wealthy international clients. I have no idea how much money Mr Chichvarkin has invested in Hedonism, but this place is the best wine shop I have ever seen.
One other thing that I was extremely happy to see amongst all these great wines was my very own Chateau de la Riviere perched on the shelf next to Chateau Angelus, Lafite Rothschild and Latour.
I do not know where they bought the 2004 Chateau de la Riviere from (the vagaries of Bordeaux wine distribution), but it was great to see drinking wine on the shelves as well as icons.
Hedonism has been open for 5 weeks and various inquisitive people have explored the shop. It will be very interesting to see how this extreme luxury, high end wine shop performs.
Victoria Moore of the Daily Telegraph visited the shop recently and she wrote about her experience here.