The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 24; A Drop of Red, BB&R

written by @coombstw

Now occasionally it is just recommended to treat yourself.  Whether it be that pair of shoes you have been eyeing for the last year or finally getting that cashmere scarf as we now come nearer to the icy months.  So with this in mind on a recent trip to London for work, a sadly rare occurrence, I popped to the 321 year old establishment, Berry Bros. & Rudd.

As I am not a multi millionaire (which I put down to my love of my work life balance and nothing to do with my lack of entrepreneurial skills) so I do not mean I was heading to my private area in one of the many cellars under the iconic No.3 St James’s, I was just round the corner at 63 Pall Mall.  This is a wine lovers heaven of a store, rows and rows of wine, with many more way down below your feet and a tease of the high end, in the atmosphere controlled glass fronted room to the rear of the store.

Apart from the wine, the store itself is a pure delight from the start.  As you enter on the right, the brass bell above the door rings bringing the attention of the apron'd staff members, nicely dressed with a classic shop keepers look with a little bit of class.  I was served by Tom on this day and I used to work in customer service and even though unlike some I am quite an engaging customer or I try to be to make the skill of service run more smoothly, the art of the service I was given was great.  One thing I knew I needed to purchase was mentioned straight away as a throwaway comment, the bottle of this comment I will discuss in a later article currently brewing in my mind. The other reason was to get two lovely bottles of red to have with a rich chilli which I was going to be cooking over the weekend to entertain some great friends.  Within minutes I had been regaled with some bits I knew, no tannins or heavy wines as will destroy the taste of both, and the ones I didn’t New World works better like 100% Syrah. Two were shown to me on the shelves, but two were mentioned that would be better I was advised, but were in the cellars below. So in true British form I decided to make them work for their money and chose both the ones in the cellar.  Similar but very different.

The phone was picked up and the call was made.  My wine was being looked for, way down below where my feet stood.  And even though the task of basically getting something from the store room, you know the usual in any shoe shop you have entered, the feeling of waiting for these two simple bottles to be found, removed, checked brought up round the corner at No. 3 and then walked round the corner to Pall Mall to me, made it feel more like a scene that would look great in a single shot, ala Spectre opening Death Day scene. With less collapsing buildings and helicopter fights, even though my imagination could take me there.

All my wine wrapped and bagged I paid and was on my way home, well, via the palace to see if Liz was in, but she was busy changing her Guard.