Amidst our endless fashion and beauty, our impressive food, wine and spirits range sometimes isn’t given enough attention. To show some love to the finest tastes of Harvey Nichols, we spoke to our expert buyers about their favourite and most exciting releases of the season.
THE FUTURE OF WINERIES
Urban wineries such as Renegade and London Cru are producing world-class wines in London, with Renegade based in a railway arch and London Cru in a converted gin distillery, both using grapes sourced from passionate growers all over Europe that are sped over here in refrigerated trucks. While many wineries make a big deal of their terroir, if you want a unique experience, opt for Renegade's Pét-Nat which is crafted by a Kiwi winemaker using foot-stomped Italian and Spanish grapes fermented using natural yeasts in Bethnal Green, or look to London Cru's Grenache which contains grapes from 90-year-old vines grown in northeast Spain but created in southwest London.
Then there’s Virtual Wineries, or to give them their French name négociants – winemakers who don’t own vineyards, but create wine by buying grapes from growers. One of our favourites is First Drop, a duo who make vegan wines in an enormous warehouse abandoned by Penfolds. We also love Pieter H. Walser, whose BLANKbottle wines are an ever-changing range of one-offs that don’t tell you what they are made of, so you judge them purely on taste. And we couldn’t talk about négociants without mentioning Digby Fine English, who – without owning a single vineyard – make wines that have beaten Krug, Dom Pérignon and Gosset at blind tastings, and also created our Harvey Nichols English Sparkling Wine, along with the first glass designed specifically for drinking English sparkling wine. These game-changing wineries offer something entirely new and often unexpected for the discerning and adventurous drinker.
A MEXICAN REVOLUTION
The gin boom ignited a passion for provenance and innovation. Now gin has become big business, diehard craft drinkers looking for a new direction are turning to Tequila and Mezcal. The former is abuzz with invention inspired partly by whisky, while the latter has an ancient history, terroir and sustainability to impress a natural winemaker.
Tequila brands such as Patrón and Código have aged their smooth spirits in fine wine casks from Bordeaux’s First Growths and California’s leading Cabernet Sauvignon producers, while Fortaleza has bottled one of their Blancos at still strength to give you the undiluted real deal with notes of buttery kale, green olive and black pepper. And anyone who has tasted the phenomenal Gran Patrón Piedra Extra Añejo Tequila will know that it might well be the ultimate spirit; reminiscent of Cognac, Sauternes, rum and Scotch, but still with that peppery Tequila hit.
When it comes to Mezcal, Corte Vetusto’s Mesquite Smoked Mezcal will appeal to Islay whisky fans, and Los Danzantes is one for the gourmets as it was crafted for one of Mexico’s finest restaurants specialising in Oaxacan cuisine. Those who like unusual ingredients may wish to sample Bruxo No.2, which has a roasted agave heart steeped in it, Gem & Bolt – created by two artists and infused with an ancient Aztec stimulant – or maybe our favourite coffee-fortified spirit; Dangerous Don. This category is a treasure trove for cocktail lovers, but if you are not a budding mixologist, you can simply replace the gin in your G&T with a T or M.
SMELL THE COFFEE
Coffee never goes out of fashion. Sure, heads may be turned by matcha, intricate infusions and the bold claims of tea’s cleansing properties, but a well-crafted cup of coffee is still a joy to behold and one of the best-loved aromas on the planet.
Those already down with the ‘third wave’ will have no doubt come across coffee mecca The Barn. Harvey Nichols has been importing beans from this pioneering Berlin roaster, and owner Ralf Rüller, in small batches to ensure the freshest roast. We love that Ralf is on a first-name-basis with his growers and provides transparent details of the processing, altitudes and flavour profiles.
The environmentally conscious can enjoy Brixton’s Volcano Coffee Works with its Nespresso-compatible, biodegradable and fully compostable pods, as well as being ethically-traded and one of our favourite drinks. All you have to do is pick your style and which reusable cup you’re going to fill it into: Stojo Biggie or Hip Cup Travel?
Finally, if you’re always on the go, we have innovations from Freshdrip and Wacaco, both of whom have different ways to carry a barista in your pocket. Freshdrip were inspired by Japan’s café drips to create a barista-quality coffee combined with teabag functionality. Meanwhile Wacaco’s Nanopresso high-pressure, hand-held piston pumps out an espresso with a dense crema wherever you are, all you need is hot water.
Time for a brew anyone?