Despite Clapham High Street’s predominance of chains, a wander down the streets leading off it increasingly turns up rewarding finds that aim to tap into the area’s more sophisticated side. Such as this wine-bar-slash-wine-merchant from the team behind nearby natural wine specialist DVine Cellars. This is definitely a place that will appeal to the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) mob.
It’s an intimate set-up: a dinky room with high wooden tables, grey metal lampshades hanging over the counter at the window and a bar customised with wine boxes, plus a downstairs snug. The owner is friends with the eminent wine writer Tim Atkin MW, whose photographs of mist-covered vineyards and wine-men at work decorate the white walls. Waiting staff do their job with real warmth, happy to chat and supply samples.
Not everything on the list is natural and/or biodynamic, but much of it is. The pungent, meaty notes of a pale-orange organic rosé from Tuscan winery Cosimo Maria Masini placed it firmly in that territory. Easier on the tastebuds was a fragrant, honeyed Alsace riesling from Eva Fricke. Best of all on a sunny Saturday was a sprightly La Jara prosecco, served in a coupe – Cellar SW4 is that kind of place.
And it doesn’t limit itself to wine: there’s a short list of proper cocktails, plus local craft beers and even mead. It’s perhaps not a natural fit for this part of Clapham – yet – but we hope it puts down roots.