Berry Bros & Rudd Wine, Basingstoke
Muddy says: Our award-winning wine merchant is a grape-lover’s dream; all Champagne, fine wines, spirits and the very best, phew-the-kids-are-in-bed, easy-drinking bottles.
Did you know that the UK’s oldest merchants has its warehouse shop in the easily-accessible outskirts of Basingstoke?
If you love great wine (or Champagne, or gin…), this is the place to learn more AND pick-up some fantastically priced bargains in the process. *ducks stampede up M3*
All prices, all tastes and all wine-making areas are covered — from own-label table wines like the best-selling Good Ordinary Claret or Crémant de Limoux Brut, which hits that sweet point between corner shop prosecco and champagne, right-up to the store’s priciest tipple: a £6k bottle of Bordeaux.
Even the bin-ends are a joy to behold, starting at easy whites under a tenner; heading skywards to super-sized bottles of Moët.
So yes, there are some special wines on offer but the shop is anything but elitist, successfully walking the tightrope between modern and traditional.
The interior has an airy, gently urban feel and the young staff are passionate and knowledgable about all things grape and grain; Assistant Manager, Paul Keating, for example, learnt his trade as sommelier at The Pig and Limewood and Wine Advisor, Amelia Thornhill, is keen to encourage more women into the store.
In terms of tradition, Berry Bros and Rudd has a venerable back-story. Napoleon III once hid in the London HQ cellars and, amongst the treasures stored in the vast Basingstoke warehouse, there is a handwritten, double-page ledger listing BBR wines aboard a certain RMS Titanic.
Brides-to-be take note, with its range of stock, clued-up staff and easy access off the M3, this is one of the best places in the south to source fizz & wine for your nuptials (the shop delivers).
You could also have a BBR Champagne tasting at your hen and — if your intended’s a single-malt man — whiskey masterclasses are available too. *gender stereotype alert* Whatever your favourite tipple, just ask.
Not getting married? You can still organise a BBR tasting and masterclass chez vous for a brilliant girls’ night-in OR there are regular in-store workshops, next up champagne. À votre santé!