Tim: A wonderful neighbourhood wine bar, that ticks all the boxes that I’m looking for!
- Wine geeks looking to explore further
- Non-wine-geek-people looking for a friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable staff….
- …and wallet-friendly, interesting wines
What do you want from a neighbourhood wine bar? Friendly atmosphere? Knowledgeable staff on hand to assist you with their selection? Interesting and varied selection of wines to choose from? Wines available by the glass, carafe and bottle? Some tasty treats to soak up the alcohol? Sounds good to me.
You can imagine how pleased I was then when I found that Vindinista in Acton perfectly embodies all of these characteristics.
Vindinista is a wine bar which opened relatively recently in February 2015. It is stocked with wines from the Park and Bridge wine shop, its sister company a few doors down.
The first thing that struck me as I walked in was that this was clearly a bar that was largely patronised by locals and regulars. People don’t seem to just come once to this bar as the conviviality and ambience is so welcoming and reassuring.
The Wine List
As I was waiting for my buddy to arrive I perused the wine list and was immediately intrigued; the wine selection featured a number of grape varieties that I am potty about (Riesling, most notably).
I am very biased here, but I always judge a wine bar as being worth visiting if it has Riesling on the list. This most certainly did. My interest was also piqued by a number of unusual grape varieties and regions. As an unrepentant wine geek the promise of new grape varieties always excites me.
When my buddy arrived we sat at the bar and spent an exciting couple of hours in the company of Stacey (pictured), Vindinsta’s knowledgeable and experienced bar manager.
The bar is not exactly very big, but Stacey did an excellent job of keeping our glasses topped up and telling us about the wines and their producers, whilst doing the same with everyone else in the bar – the sign of an extremely competent bar manager. Stacey’s background is in restaurants and catering, but has recently been recruited to run Vindinista and seems to be doing an excellent job.
We started with a NV NQN Malma Reserve (Patagonia, Argentina), a sparkling wine made from the same grapes and in the same way as Champagne. The predominant grape in this blend was Pinot Noir, which is personally the way that I prefer my Champagnes.
It had a definite biscuity, bready aroma, but on the palate it had some sour cherry notes. The result was a poised and elegant sparkling wine, that to my mind would compare favourably in a NV Champagne blind tasting.
Glass: £6.50; Bottle: £26.00. Quality: 8.5; Value: 9.5.
Next up was a glass of 2013 Tornai Zenit (Hungary). Zenit is an example of a new grape for me, so straight away I was excited about this wine. On the nose, I thought it was somewhere between a Loire Sauvignon Blanc and a Burgundian Chardonnay. On tasting it had a lot going on, it seemed to be simultaneously smokey, waxy and have a decent smattering of minerality.
Glass: £6.50; Bottle: £22.50. Quality: 7.5; Value: 9.5.
Our third wine of the evening was a glass of 2014 di Lenardo Toh! Fruiliano (Venezia, Italy). The aroma of this wine was waxy and oily, something like a Viognier. On tasting it was bright with acidity and had a lemon-like bite to it. A nice wine, but not my favourite of the evening.
Glass: £7.00; Bottle: £24.50. Quality: 6.0; Value : 6.0.
It was time for us to move to the red side of the world with a NV Pittnauer Velvet (Neusiedlersee, Austria). This wine was a Blaufrankisch/Zweigelt blend and had a velvety smooth aroma (hence the name, I assume!) with a touch of oak induced smoke to it. On tasting the predominant taste profile was one of ripe, juicy blackcurrants.
Glass: £7.00; Bottle: £25.00. Quality: 7.5; Value: 8.0.
From there we moved on to the 2013 Montalbera Ruche la Tradizione (Piedmont, Italy). Ruche was another new grape for me (woo!) and I was really impressed with this wine. The aroma evolved in the glass, starting off with a hedonistic bitter almond and lavender mix (trust me, it was good), which developed into a peppery almost-Syrah like flavour. On the palate it had a nice acidity to it, which was coupled with some pleasingly-lush, soft black cherry style notes. Yum!
Glass: £8.25; Bottle: £28.00. Quality: 8.5; Value: 8.0.
The last of our wines was a 2010 Framingham Segreto di Pulcinella (Malborough, NZ). I must say that I was tremendously intrigued to see a Montepulciano from New Zealand and was excited by this wine. This was another wine that needed time to settle in the glass, after a few minutes it had some rather funky leather and forest floor-style aromas emanating.
I was, then, very disappointed when I tasted it and it was rather thin and insipid. Perhaps this was a bottle that needed to be decanted and left for a while to really open out?
Glass: £8.50; Bottle: £29.00. Quality: 5.5; Value: 5.0.
Whilst we were working our way through the formidable line up above, we sampled some of Vindinista’s food. The main focus of the bar is its wine list, but I was very impressed with the quality of the food that we sampled. There was an excellent selection of charcuterie, including some great chorizo and wild boar; a board with delicious cheeses on, including a rather fabulous goats’ cheese and a Manchego which was accompanied by the traditional quince jelly.
On top of this we got to try a couple of Vindinista’s famous toasties (see left); their Nduja and smoked Oakwood was very good, but was blown out of the water by their cheese and truffle toasty. There is a line in Friends when Joey is reminiscing about a Boddingtons he drank in London (man, he’d have a field day in London now with all the craft beer!) and he exclaims “I’d walk back to London for another frosty one of those bad boys”.
Well, fortunately I already live in London so it’s not as far, but I do reckon I’d walk back to Acton for another one of those cheese and truffle toasties. They were AWESOME. In fact, for my waistline’s sake it’s probably a very good idea that I don’t live anywhere near Acton!
I visit a lot of wine bars (as you can probably tell), but I came out of my visit to Vindinista thinking that this was exactly the kind of bar that I wish was located around the corner from me. Small enough to feel intimate, friendly staff who take the time to properly serve you and some excellent wines to work your way through.
People of Acton – you are very lucky! I would urge even those that aren’t Acton based to go and check out this great wine bar.
They are walk-in only and don’t take reservations.
I was invited to this event as a guest and did not pay for my food or drink. Nonetheless, the opinions contained within this article are my own.