The Coolest Wine Shop in the West? – Le Vignoble, Plymouth

Wine shops are getting cooler all the time. Pop to London and there are an increasing number of independent wine shops that are the antithesis of old fashioned dusty old shops full of smelly old men wearing tweed that we often think of when talking about wine merchants (although these days they are equally likely to be wearing red trousers instead).

Whether it’s The Sampler, Bottle Apostle, Vagabond or Hedonism there is a decidedly cool edge to these (and many other) wine shops. Of course all those that I’ve mentioned have one thing in common – Enomatic. It isn’t a pre-requisite of cool to have one but a shop that people can hang about in a bit more generates some extra cool – other cool places like Planet of the Grapes and Vinoteca have other ways of ramping up the cool.

I have friends in Plymouth and visit 2 or 3 times a year but until relatively recently if we wanted to buy wine we had to leave the city or bring a bottle with us. That all changed with the redevelopment of Royal William Yard into a food and drink destination. Taking a small unit with a nice patio area owner Yannick Loué has put together a wine bar and shop that has a cool feel to it. With a range of wines available from the Enomatic machines plus Champagne or English Sparkling wine by the glass it’s a cool place to hang out.

I visited on a Wednesday evening, not the busiest time in the week and found that whilst not rammed full there was a gentle buzz to the place. Customers ranged from younger than me to some significantly older. We popped in not only to try the wines but also test out Coravin that Yannick is one of the UK’s first retailers to adopt. I started with a bright and fresh Nyetimber Rose’ before sampling a wild ferment Assyrtiko from Gaia on Santorini. The red that really stood out was the wonderfully fragrant and fresh Fertuna Lodai a lovely Super-Tuscan. I confess that I was so busy chilling out, chatting to Jon and Yannick and having some nice wine that I can’t really remember everything that I tasted. In my book that’s a win.

It’s a cool, exciting place to go and a cool wine shop to buy wine from a small but very carefully chosen range. Perhaps the only thing missing was a bit of Miles Davies…

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