Birmingham’s Great Western Arcade is fast becoming a focus for foodies in Brum, and the addition of “Loki Wines“, a wine merchant with a brilliant difference, is a very welcome one.The arcade already has arguable the best bakery (The Bread Collection) and deli (Anderson and Hill) in town and Loki really has the potential to make the arcade a destination in its own right.
The brilliant thing about Loki, is that not only is it a purveyor of wine, but that it’s also a modern but friendly tasting house. There are a couple of thousand different tipples in the store, but every two weeks, 24 of these bottled beauties are hand picked by the owner Phil to be showcased in the automatic tasting cabinets. Customers can pop along for a pay-as-you-go wine tasting before purchasing that dinner party gift.
How it works…
Pop in to the shop and purchase some tasting-credit which gets loaded on to a smart card (£10 is probably ample if you’re going to spend an hour tasting and maybe have a larger glass of one or two of them).
Put your card in the cabinet slot.
Decide which wine you want to try (with the owner on hand to give you plenty of advice on what you might like, what’s new, what’s special).
Put your glass under the relevant nozzle, and press the size you want.
The wine is dispensed and your card is debited.
There are three sizes, so you can take a small tasting sample for as little as 38p! The most expensive wine on the day I was there was about £1.40 for a tasting sample, it was a gorgeous Masi Amarone Costasera 2007 which retails for about £36.
Once you’ve tried a few (or all of them in my case), you can buy a bottle at retail price plus corkage (£5 per bottle) and sit upstairs in the sumptuous tasting room to drink it. One of the wines I really enjoyed was a floral tasting La Linda Torrentes which retailed at £8.99, and I would happily have sat upstairs drinking a bottle of it for just £13.99! So much better than a bottle of plonk for £20 in one of the local pubs.
Another lovely twist is that Loki Wines have teamed up with Anderson and Hill deli opposite so you can get plates of meats and cheeses to nibble on either while you’re sampling or while you’re nattering over a delicious bottle upstairs.
The owner Phil is very knowledgeable about wines and is full of enthusiasm. I really hope that this is the first of many Loki stores in the UK, and that perhaps it’ll help us all become a bit more selective about what we drink and where.
Brilliant concept, excellently executed. Love it!