London's best… Off-licence wine samplers

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Wine preservation machines dispense taster-sized samples of wines in perfect condition. Enomatic machines (and other brands) first appeared in top-level wine bars, but now even forward-thinking off-licences use them, often in combination with a pre-paid ‘smartcard’ that allows you to top yourself up

    • Bottle Apostle

      95 Lauriston Rd, E9 7HJ (020 8985 1549/www.bottleapostle.com).

      There are 32 wines on rotation on the Enomatic dispensers, with around half of them changing each week at this tiny shop in Hackney. Load up a smartcard (£5 minimum) and taste your way around the world.

  • Kensington (and Fulham) Wine Rooms

    Kensington Wine Rooms, 127-129 Kensington Church St, W8 7LP (020 7727 8142/www.greatwinesbytheglass.com). Fulham Wine Rooms, 871-873 Fulham Rd, SW6 5HP (020 7042 9440).

    The warm atmosphere at these refined wine bars encourages lingering over a glass or two. The original Kensington Wine Rooms has 40 (mostly) reds and whites on the machines, while the newly opened Fulham branch has 48. Both branches offer different regularly changing selections by the sip or the glass from the vast catalogue.

  • Noble Green Wines

    153-155 High St, Hampton Hill, TW12 1NL (020 8979 1113/ www.noblegreenwines.co.uk).

    This capacious wine shop in Twickenham has an extensive range of interesting wines, 250 bottled beers and 16 bottles on an Enomatic system with selectins that change each month. Unusually, 25ml tasters of wine are free, and there are also firkins (casks) of the resident Twickenham and Dark Star ales for sampling.

  • The Sampler

    266 Upper St, N1 2UQ (020 7226 9500/www.thesampler.co.uk). Branch at 35 Thurloe Place, SW7 2HJ (020 7225 5091).

    This Islington wine shop was one of the first to install an extensive bank of Enomatic machines for try-and-buy tastings. Bottles change every day but collections are the same at both the original shop and the new Kensington branch. Charge up a card (£10 minimum) and sip a variety of wines, each priced in line with their value.

  • Vagabond Wines

    18-22 Vanston Place, SW6 1AX (020 7381 1717/www.vagabondwines.co.uk).

    A hundred bottles line the walls, their contents cocooned in inert gas for sipping pleasure at this new Fulham shop. Wine cards for sampling (minimum £10) go a long way, with most 25ml sips priced at 50p and none above £2.50. Wines are grouped according to style and there are accurate tasting cards to take home to help keep track of which wines you like.

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