I’m always up for a themed wine evening. Especially when there’s a social element and a chance to expand my knowledge base.
So last week I went along to War of the Wines at The Sands End pub in Fulham, which is a short walk from Chelsea Harbour (nearest stations Fulham Broadway on the Underground, and Imperial Wharf — one stop from Clapham Junction on the Overground).
There are four different themed War of the Wines evenings, each celebrating wines from a different country. In chronological order, they rotate from Italy to South America to England to France.
I choose the South America night, where the wines are complemented by a three-course menu of sea bass ceviche with avocado mousse to start, followed by Argentinian rib eye with chunky chips, with dulce de leche (a new one on me) for dessert.
I’m slightly surprised to discover the evening is hosted over one large dinner table, in the cosy upstairs function room. This, of course, makes it a much more sociable event than if we’d all been sat at our own small tables. The main surprise, though, is that there’s deliberately no Malbec on the menu. That’s fine with me. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve always found Malbec a bit overrated.
Instead, we get an Argentinian Torrontes with the starter; a Cabernet Sauvignon grown at altitude in Chile and a Chilean Bonarda with the steak; and a chocolatey Carménère to accompany dessert. My pick of the night is the fragrant, floral Torrontes, although the Bonarda is the most popular overall — possibly because it arrives in a glass big enough to house a family of whale sharks.
Our host, Jo, speaks engagingly about each wine, without being overbearing, and I enjoy her South American playlist (admittedly swiped from Spotify), which includes the theme to the Netflix show Narcos.
If you’re London-based and you like sociable, educational wine events, check War of the Wines out. Each dinner includes a drink on arrival (a caipirinha in this case) and plenty of paired wines, including a comparative tasting on the main course. A single evening is priced at £50 per person or you can attend two evenings for £90.
So that’s 45 quid a night for a starter, main, dessert, a cocktail, four wines (at least four, because we all get a bit of a top-up at the end), plus, crucially, an educational talk. That’s good value if you ask me.
Tickets can be purchased by following the link at the bottom of this article, or from the Sands End’s bar.
The next War of the Wines event, which showcases English cuisine and wines, is being held on Thursday 21st November 2019, from 7pm to 10:30pm.
Check out War of the Wines on the Sands End website here.