Put palates to the test with the help of the sommeliers at Marylebone's 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen
The words ‘Dry January’ aren’t part of the vocabulary at 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen. Named after the latitudes within which the majority of the world’s vineyards are found, it boasts an evolving list of eclectic and traditional wines. These are displayed in rustic looking crates, stamped with the hallmarks of prized châteaux that stretch from floor to ceiling along the back wall, forming the ultimate oenophile’s library. For those with finely-attuned palates, there’s a Collector’s List, showcasing prized tipples from private collectors. Workshops and themed dinners are held throughout the year, too, together with a specialist wine cellar club on Saturdays.
But I’m far from an expert. Even after several vineyard tours and tutored tastings, when confronted with a wine list I may as well be reading hieroglyphics. Thankfully, head sommelier Carlos Sancho is patient and perceptive; deciphering my vague preferences (smooth, not too spicy or fruity) into a succession of wines paired with each course.
There’s no ‘I’m detecting hints of peaches and cream’ nonsense in his flavour profile explanations. This relaxed but informed approach sums up the ethos here. Slotted into the intersection of two converging streets, 28°-50° is as romantic as they come. The main dining room space is lit almost entirely by tealights that flicker on every table, dancing off the floor-to-ceiling windows and a striking, oval-shaped, marble-topped bar.
Chardonnay has had a bit of a bad reputation in the past, so I’m pleasantly surprised by an elegant 2014 Chilean Ventisquero
Owned by Michelin-starred Aggi Sverrisson of Texture fame, the food isn’t bad either. Gravlax with horseradish yoghurt is fresh and zingy – a perfect match for a creamy Austrian Grüner Veltliner Hirschvergnügen; while a fruity Douro, Symington elevates the salty pork and nutty romanesco of a simple, smoked ham hock salad.
Chardonnay has had a bit of a bad reputation in the past, so I’m pleasantly surprised by an elegant 2014 Chilean Ventisquero, Casablanca Valley, which holds its own, while not overpowering a perfectly executed dish of Cornish cod swimming in a rich, flavoursome bisque, alongside soft slithers of confit fennel. The pan roasted salmon, with pickled ginger, mouli and wasabi sauce meanwhile packs a flavoursome punch, which works well with a lightbodied Pinot Noir Dorflagen, Pittnauer.
I’m not usually a fan of dessert wines, but even I have to admit that a glass of 2013 Late Harvest Tokaji, with its apricot and vanilla undertones, slips down nicely alongside a heavenly white chocolate tart dusted with pistachio nuts.
I might not be singing Carlos’ praises the next morning when a 6am start isn’t made any easier by my hangover, but I can’t fault his way with wines – and I’ll drink to that again.