martes, 3 de noviembre de 2015

Highbury Vintners - Best Online Wine Shop and Independent Merchan


Consider one of the "10 Best Online Wine Shops in England". Buy wine online, you can browse by type, country, region or grape and the recommendation section is very handy. If you're up north London way, it's worth visiting their award winning wine shop in Islington, London - Over 1000 wines to choose from. This shop can be found on 71 Highbury Park with the closest stations Arsenal and Highbury & Islington only a short walk away.

Highbury Vintners is an award winning independent wine merchant perfect for all you wine enthusiasts out there. In 2014 they came runner up at Decanter Wine Retailer Awards for "Best Small Independent Wine Merchant" and a winner in Timeout Love London Awards. Being independent gives us extraordinary flexibility with their wine range. They are always in search of new wines to offer you fantastic quality and great value for money.

They were also delighted to win "Decanter Wine Retailer Specialist for Spain & Portugal 2014". In addition to Spain & Portugal they stock close to 1300 wines from all over the world so there is something for everyone. They like to focus on smaller producers that you just don’t find in supermarkets or larger retailers. These wines are typically small production, organic, family run and share similar values to them, fantastic quality and great value for money.

- Name: Highbury Vintners
- Address: 71 Highbury Park, London N5 1UA, UK
- Telephone: +44 20 7226 1347
- Email:
- Web:

- Twitter: @HighburyVintner
- Facebook:
- Nearest tube stations: Arsenal - 0.2 miles
; Highbury & Islington - 0.6 miles.
- Shop Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:00 - 9:00 pm; Friday 11:00 - 9:30 pm; Saturday 11:00 - 9:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 - 8:00 pm.

- Not just wine: They specialise in wine but they also have a fantastic range of spirits and beer. They do have beers to buy online but only a small selection so you may as well visit the shop.

They stock an ever-changing range of microbrews, specialist beers and ciders from around the world. They have managed to squeeze in over 300 different spirits including independent single malts, interesting liqueurs and all the tools necessary to make your favourite cocktail.

They have a whole wall dedicated to Craft Beer but they also have some Real Ales and European beers in there as well. They feature the usual suspects Beavertown and Kernel as well as the exciting Weird Beard Brewing Company.

- Staff: Everyone working there is extremely passionate about wine and between them all they have sampled and enjoyed every drink in the shop. All members of staff have completed WSET Advanced Certificate courses so they can give you good advice on anything from food matching to unusual grape varietals. On top of that they are all chatty and want to engage with their customers.

The shop does primarily specialise in wine but the staff really knows also about their beer. So if you are in North London I highly recommend visiting Highbury Vintners, because few shops can compete with the prices and range of beers.

- Wine tastings: Through out the year they host lots of different types of tastings from open door free events to sitting down with the winemaker enjoying some carefully matched cheese. To receive invitations to these tastings, I strongly recommend join their mailing list, the only thing you need to do is enter your email address into the sign-up box on their homepage.

This is a great way to find out about a range of regular customer events such as weekly tastings, if you’re looking to expand your drinking repertoire, these offer the perfect opportunity to try before you buy. From small and quirky through to ultra premium, this is often where you will find the best combination of hard to get products and expert service.


- Need to find something special for a colleague or friend?: They have years of experience in helping people find that perfect gift.
- Gift Packaging: They stock a large range of wine bags, boxes and jute bags perfect to add that finishing touch to your gift. They can include a handwritten message from and arrange for delivery any where in the UK.
- Special Birthday?: They have a large selection of fine wines perfect for any wine lovers birthday. If you are unsure of what to pick, they can help you choose a wine to suit any tastes. Furthermore, they can find you year specific vintages of wine, Ports and Armagnac’s for special birthdays.
- Something to lay down?: They have a large selection of wines with fantastic ageing potential. They know their wines and would be happy to give you advice.
- Wine Glasses and Accessories: They stock Riedel wine glass sets and a range of decanters, witch is a perfect gift for any wine enthusiast. Additionally, they have a varied range of essential wine accessories such as vacuum pumps, corkscrews, foil cutters and more.


- Who needs five sets of towels or three blenders?: Wedding gift lists are great for ensuring this does not happen. They can create a tailor made gift list just for you and limit purchases so you do not end up with multiple wedding gifts.

- Personalised service: Right from your first enquiry you will have a dedicated staff member on hand to advise and help you create a wedding gift list that will suit your tastes. You can create a wedding list on their website allowing your guests to order online with ease and leave a gift message for you. Each item has a tasting note/description to help you choose.

- Variety: Your wedding gift list can be made up from anything in their range. They have a fantastic assortment of over 1000 wines and fine wines, Ports, Sherries, Champagnes, sparkling wines, spirits, Whiskies and wine accessories.

- Hassle free delivery of your wedding gifts: They will deliver all of your wedding gifts together so you can enjoy newlywed life drinking some excellent wine.

Getting started:
1. The first thing you will need to do is set up an account with them.
2. Once set up and you are logged in, click on the 'Wedding list' tab.
3. Then click the button ' + add new wedding list'. This will open the details page.
4. You will then be asked to enter a 'List name' (e.g. Tom & Sarahs Gift List) and a 'Description' (can be a note for your guests or simply a sub heading)
5. Press save. Your list is now created, and has been given a unique share number. This number can be changed to something easier to remember by clicking on the 'change' button to something like Tom_Sarah. This is the unique number that you will give to your guests to enable them to buy from your gift list.
6. To add items to your list, click home, start browsing and when you find an item you want to add to your list, click view and then add to wedding list.


They host wine tastings in-store where they offer the chance for mail list members to try some wines that they have been enjoying. They also hold charged events for a more comprehensive wine tasting experience. Winemakers or their representative lead guided sessions giving members of the public the opportunity of hearing the story behind the label. 

Places for these types of events are limited so in order to make sure you are invited please add your name to their mailing list. 

They will e-mail you to let you know of any upcoming events. Please ensure that you RSVP as places are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Events are usually held on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday and are likely to last up to one hour. 

Although you may not be over the legal drink-drive limit, they would strongly recommend that you don't drive afterwards.


The wine club is a great way to get mixed cases delivered direct to your door without having to order each time. 

They choose from over 1000 wines to create a mixed case to your tastes. Based on your specifications, they include wines which they think you should like so you get to expand your horizons in the world of wine.

Why should I join?:
1. Free delivery within N1, N4, N5, N7 & N16.
2. Set your own budget and wine preferences.
3. No joining fees.
4. Flexibility: If you need to change anything about your case they are all on hand to help.
5. Delivery will be in the first week of the month and they email you first to confirm a suitable time.


Food, books, music, clothes, electrical. You name it, and you can bet it's for sale on the Net. Wine retailing on the Internet is still in its infancy. Many have tried, and plenty have failed. Slow deliveries, hidden extras, insecure sites, poor availability, damaged goods, not to mention the odd shifty online retailer, you can't be too careful.

Competitive pricing aside, the pluses include availability of rare and hard to get products and door to door service. The minuses and there are a few are that, while pricing can look attractive when compared with high street retailers and independents, shipping costs often negate any discounts, there's the ever-present risk of online fraud, and delivery times can be erratic. So if you do intend to buy wine online, you need to tread with care. Below are some basic guidelines.

Pros of buying wine on the Internet:
- Fantastic range.
- Availability of mature wines.
- Availability of classic wines no longer in the mainstream.
- Door-to-door services.

Tips for online success:
1. Buy from a reputable online supplier: Shop with an established retailer: preferably someone with a physical store as well as an online presence. Online customer feedback is worth checking out, too.
2. Call to check that your order has been received: This is a great way to ensure that not only has the supplier received your order and details, but also that what you ordered is available.
3. Confirm the shipping details: Confirmation of delivery times aside, there are often extra charges and/or taxes which are payable on delivery, so this is the ideal time to double-check exactly what you're up for.
4. Make sure that your order is traceable: Check with your online retailer about whether there is an order number and/or trace number that you can use to monitor the whereabouts of your delivery should it get lost or delayed. Often, you can follow the movements of your order online.


Meet the winemaker: Pedro Urbina. To kick off a month-long celebration of Rioja, we have the charming Pedro Urbina joining us for a sit-down tasting next door to the shop. Pedro makes a beautiful range of award-winning wines, from crianza to reserva, and some very special gran reservas, from his single estate, family-run winery in the heart of the Rioja. We'll be tasting the full range of wines, along with bread, cheese and charcuterie.

1. Urbina Crianza Rioja Alta 2008 £12.80: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and Mazuelo from 30+ year old vines. The wine spends 12 months in American oak casks and a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release. Production: 200,000 litres. Ruby colour with garnet hues, intense, mature, strawberry, vanilla nose. Well-balanced, creamy smooth, velvety texture of red berries, nuts and spice flavours with firm tannins in the background, good structure, long lasting, persistent aftertaste. Additional Info: Alcohol by volume: 13.0%; Country: Spain; Region: Rioja; Closure Type: Cork; Bottle Size: 75cl; Grape Variety: Tempranillo. Food: Barbecued Ribs; Anti-Pasti; Rack of Lamb.

2. Urbina “Selección" Rioja Alta 1999 Rioja £18.00: (DECANTER 94 POINTS)  LA RIOJA BEST WINES “Pedro Benito Urbina, Selección Crianza 1999: it was delightful to taste this mature traditional style the oldest wine in the tasting. Light-bodied with moderate alcohol and a silky palate; tobacco oak adds a savory note. Long and delicately Balanced. This is what Rioja can do! 18.5/20 (95/100) Drink 2015-2025” Sarah Jane Evans (Master of Wine).

3. Benito Urbina Reserva Especial Rioja Alta 1998 £20.00: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and Graciano. Aged 18 months in American oak casks (12 months in new oak and 6 in 7 year old oak) and a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. Dark ruby red with amber glints, very pronounced, seductive figs, apricots, nuts, savoury vanilla oak bouquet. Voluptuous, sweet middle palate with delicious, concentrated ripe berry, mature fruit broadening out. Wonderful length, classy and complex wine. Additional Info: Alcohol by volume: 13.0%; Country: Spain; Region: Rioja; Closure Type: Cork; Bottle Size: 75cl; Grape Variety: Tempranillo. Food: Rabbit; Chorizo; Blue Cheese.

4. Rioja Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 £30.00: Made from 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. Colour reddish garnet. On the nose, powerful, complex and elegant. Rich vegetable and tobacco aromas, a perfect harmony of oak and glorious fruit. On the palate, intense rich fruit, prunes, dates and sweet raisin flavours, silky and creamy. A wine with great finesse and velvet smoothness, wondrous length and full finish. Additional Info: Alcohol by volume: 13.0%; Country: Spain; Region: Rioja; Closure Type: Cork; Bottle Size: 75cl; Grape Variety: Carignan / Mazuelo  Graciano  Tempranillo. Food: Duck; Game; Roast; Lamb.

5. Benito Urbina Gran Reserva Rioja Alta 1994 £32.00: Made from 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. This is a fantastic mature, traditionally vinified wine only produced in outstanding vintages. It displays a wonderful spice filled nose with aromas of cherry, plum and leather. Superbly balanced on the palate with great elegance and complexity hand in hand. Drink now until 2025. Additional Info: Alcohol by volume: 13.0%; Country: Spain; Region: Rioja; Closure Type: Cork; Bottle Size: 75cl; Grape Variety: Carignan / Mazuelo  Graciano  Tempranillo. Food: Duck; Game; Roast; Lamb.


- Picos de Europa (Leon) Pasteurised. Traditional Rennet: Wrapped in sycamore leaves from the neighbouring forests, this cheese is primarily cow's milk; however, during spring and summer (or whenever there is a surplus) a small amount of goat's milk is added. This results in sharper cheeses with higher levels of acidity. Rich and creamy with well scattered blue moulds and a tangy taste not dissimilar to Roquefort. Matured in damp, high-humidity cellars, the younger cheeses tend to be more crumbly and less intense. A classic.

- Manchego "Mature" (La Mancha) Un Pasteurised. Tranditional Rennet: Made with milk from the Manchega breed, this cheese has been aged between twelve and eighteen months, when the texture becomes grittier and frufiter and the colour of the pate darkens. Traditionally made in esparto grass baskets, today the moulds are printed with a similar zig-zag design. During the maturation process the cheeses are rubbed in olive oil, imbuing the pate with a delicate spiciness. Ideal to savour on its own, or perhaps with a dab of membrillo, this is a Spanish classic. A glass of dry red wine or Port marry perfectly with the full-bodied texture and flavours.

- Idiazabal "Smoked" (Navarre) Traditional Rennet: An unpasteurised ewe's milk from the Latxa breed indigenous to the mountain area around Navarre. Cloth bound during the smoking process to give an extra intensity to the flavours and aromas. A clean smooth texture with small eyelet holes scattered through the cheese. The fruity spicy flavours have a certain creaminess to the texture and partner full bodied red wines, but also used cut into ‘batons’ alongside piping hot spicy cooking Chorizo made with the Ibérico ham this is a lovely way to enjoy spice and heat.

- Torta de Barros (Raw sheep’s milk cheese from Extremadura, Thistle rennet): A tangy, creamy, complex cheese. It is slightly sour with a flood of herb I flavours and an elegant bitter aftertaste from its Cardoon thistle rennet. Cut the top off, serve with bread or Picos de Pan, and you've got a ready made fondue.

- Monroyo: Meaty and savoury with a touch of sweetness, this Serrano ham from Aragón is produced by the same supplier as our Teruel D.O.P. ham. Cured for a minimum of 14-16 months.

- Serrano ham: Mild and savoury, with regular, fine slices. Cured for around 9 months close to the Pyrenees in Catalunya.

- Enebral sliced chorizo dulce: A coarse cut texture, seasoned with organic pimentón and sea salt. The pigs are organically reared and reach their target weight naturally.


Rioja is a wine region in North Central Spain, 120 Miles south of Bilbao. There are 63,593 hectares of vineyards divided between three provinces on the Upper Ebro – La Rioja (43,885 ha), Alava (12,934 ha) and Navarre (6,774 ha). Politically it is divided, administered by three autonomous governments. From West to East, Rioja is just 100km and at its widest point 40km, tucked in between mountain ranges and cut through by the river Ebro. Rioja benefits from a mix of Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean climates. Hot summers and cold winters with relatively high rainfall are all perfect for producing top quality grapes which go into producing quality Rioja wines.

The wine region produces 280 to 300m litres of wine annually, of which 90% is red and the rest a mixture of white and rosé. Being Rioja, if it’s on the shelf, it’s ready to drink, though the best will cellar well for 10 years. At the £8-£25 level, the pleasure is surely in drinking them now or soon. The wines have generous fruit, the best with the essence of biting into a fleshy cherry or plum. Alcohols are creeping up to 14.5% in many cases, though most wines are well-balanced.

La Rioja includes different types of  climate and soil:
- Rioja Alta: On the western edge of the region and at a high elevation, produces wines that are typically full-bodied with medium alcohol content. Here we can find a big diversity of soils, most of them limestone and clay, but in some places the soil can be rich in iron or full of pebbles.
- Rioja Alavesa: On the North edge of the region, it has a distinctive chalky clay-limestone soil and steeply sloped landscape. With the highest elevation of the region, has the coolest climate and is typically known for producing wines that are lighter and aromatic.
- Rioja Baja: On the southern edge of the region and at a lower elevation than Alta and Alavesa has a warmer, drier climate and produces wines that are deep in colour and fruiter in taste. It has much fertile alluvial soils and is heavy with silt.

Rioja´s red grapes:
- Tempranillo: Is the classic red grape variety of Rioja, producing soft, supple wines, with aromas of summer fruits, which are well suited to ageing, developing depth, character and elegance.
- Mazuelo: Can be blended with Tempranillo to add colour, weight and tannins to help the wines age gracefully.
- Garnacha: Adds warmth and spice to a number of different styles of Rioja. Can be found as a single varietal, with old vines producing refined, highly prized wines.
- Graciano: Brings extra fruit flavours and elegance to blends with Tempranillo. Also found in single varietal wines with great character and finesse.

Rioja’s white grapes:
- Viura: This produces clean, fresh, zesty, young white wines.
- Garnacha Blanca: Can be blended with Viura to add weight and body to aged wines.
- Malvasia: Adds a musky, savoury character, to the fresh crispness of the Viura producing oak-aged wines of great individuality and style.

New Varietals:
- In 2007, Rioja regulators approved the use of 9 new varieties of grapes, enabling greater complexity in its white wines while maintaining its identity and heritage.
- These include three non-native varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo as well as three native ones Maturana Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco and Turruntés. Another three native minority grape varieties, these red, were also approved: Maturana Tinta, Maturano and Monastrell.

Styles of Rioja White Wines:
- Unaged White Rioja: Young, fresh, and fruity. Think citrus aromas and zingy acidity. Perfect with seared scallops.
- Barrel Fermented White Rioja: Traditional white wines with creamy, buttery flavours that go excellently with a variety of different foods, including richer fish and mushroom based dishes.

Styles of Rioja Rosado Wines:
- Rosado: Rosé wines are typically made from Tempranillo or Garnacha in a dry style, with plenty of red fruit flavours. Ideal with Asian spiced prawns.

Styles of Rioja Red Wines:
- Garantee of origin: Typically young fruity and approachable reds. Great partner to chicken tagine or vegetable curry.
- Crianza: Fresh and juicy with just a hint of creamy vanilla from time spent in oak. Drink with roast chicken or lasagne.
- Reserva: Aged for at least three years, these are serious wines with concentrated fruit flavours and complex hints of spice. Drink alongside a rack of lamb.
- Gran Reserva: With at least five years ageing, these rank among the world’s finest wines, with intense depth, silky texture, and savoury flavours. Try with rich winter stews and game.

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