The wine list is a vital and integral part of the dining experience at Northcote. Years of meticulous research, tasting and sourcing by Craig and his team has resulted in an award winning selection of wines, perfectly paired to enjoy with the beautiful dishes the Northcote kitchen prepares.
The present wine list is a result of both dedicated teamwork and an unrelenting three year long review and project. It is therefore very rewarding to have this formally recognised by this prestigious award from the AA - and be championed ahead of the many other outstanding wine lists in England.
Whilst any wine list must fundamentally be functional and informative, a good list must also express the flair and inspiration of this great subject matter! Back in 2010 Managing Director Craig Bancroft initiated a team of four complimentary people and skills to carry out the most detailed review of the wine list ever done at Northcote.
The team – led by Craig (director of all things vinous and our Portuguese champion), included Adam Pawlowski, Master Sommelier, Head Sommelier and wine list “compere”; Julian Kaye, the owner (and dedicated, patient wine supplier) - of The Wright Wine Company and Nick Adams, Master of Wine, independent advisor, and general soothsayer.
At the heart of this mission was to create a choice which is relevant, exciting and above all – hugely enjoyable. The focus has been in ensuring all the classic areas and grape varieties are represented in their various forms and style, but as importantly that new, emerging areas and wines are constantly investigated. As a result the list has evolved into a healthy mix of the “old and the new”. In addition, we are mindful that the list must provide value for money at all levels – from exciting “house” wines to genuinely rare and fine wine examples. However, this approach and research only tells half the story.
As important as the construction of the list is, its real purpose is to provide the capacity and scope to marry these wines with the outstanding and diverse dishes which Northcote is renowned for. Working closely with Nigel and the kitchen - and marrying this with Craig’s expertise in food and wine pairing - the list acts as a catalogue to indulge in highly complementary menu matches, recommendations and packages which elevates the whole dining experience to a new level. This is exemplified in both the Tasting and Gourmet menus. And because of the sheer scale and range of the list, these menus are being constantly refreshed.
And it will come as no surprise that this also provides the scope for high quality and diverse selections of wines by the glass. These can also be finessed to take into account new dishes and menus which are, themselves, reflecting seasonal changes in foods. The list is presented mainly as a geographical review of the world of wine, and we hope is an informative and enjoyable read in its own right. However, we do encourage you to engage Adam and his expert Sommelier team, whose skills, knowledge and enthusiasm are also at your disposal to make exactly the right choice for the wine, or wines, with your meal.
Finally, there is no such thing as the perfect wine list and we will not be resting on our laurels because of this award. In fact it provides further motivation to keep up the reviews and work even harder to ensure the wine list remains dynamic and enticing.