In the 90s and Noughties, ‘ABC’ – Anything But Chardonnay – was the term used to describe a movement that avoided the obvious, the mass-produced, the populist. More than a decade later, in a city that’s now brimming with exciting and unusual wines to try, there’s no excuse for ordering the usual. Pop down to The Remedy for some proper excitement in your glass. The wine list is almost deliberately obscure, covering lesser-known regions, grapes and style of wines. There are no big brands, no big-name Bordeaux. Instead there are oddities from the Jura, so-called ‘natural wines’ (made with minimal chemical intervention), lots of wines at the high minerality end of the scale, and bottles with labels that simply don’t translate well, such as the white Burgundy from a producer called Fanny Sabre.
Fancy some extra skin contact? Then try the ‘orange wines’ – white wines that are allowed a little extra time before their juice and skins are separated for fermentation, which gives the wine a deeper colour. Some orange wines taste like funky cider, but our enthusiastic bartender persuaded me to try one he’d set aside, and it won me over with its delicacy and floral notes. The staff here are offbeat wine geeks, and their unmistakeable enthusiasm bubbles over like a roughly-handled prosecco; take advantage of their hospitality.
Around a dozen wines by the glass are chalked on a blackboard, and there are small nibbles to go with the food: ocean-fresh seared scallops on our visit, wild mushrooms on toast, cheeses or charcuterie. But the real reason to visit this little bar at the wrong end of Cleveland Street is to savour the wines less chosen, to escape the tyranny of just another merlot or pinot grigio.