Wine lovers in search of others, and entertaining environments in which to meet them, may be interested in the following innovations in London and Portugal.
Le Soula at 28-50
I had no idea when I published my tasting notes on verticals of Le Soula on Monday that its creator Gérard Gauby was this month's featured artist at the new 28-50 wine bar just off Fleet Street, London, about which we have this approving thread in our Members' forum. It so happens apparently that you can enjoy Le Soula Blanc 2001 (stunning), 2005 and 2007 and Gauby's own white wine by the glass this month, and there is a special winemaker's workshop and dinner featuring Le Soula winemaker Gérald Standley at 28-50 on 26 August. I may have missed something but I can't spot anything about it specifically on their website yet so if you want more information, I recommend that you contact their events organiser Alex James at email@example.com or 020 7242 8877.
Douro Film Festival
Here's one that really appeals to me, an event whose objective is 'to combine great wine, food and cinema' according to spokeperson Martin Dale. You can find more details of this event, scheduled for 5-11 September in port country in northern Portugal. This year's special guests include Sophia Loren and the Argentine musician/composer Gustavo Santaolalla. Last year apparently they snared Milos Forman and Andie McDowell. Sounds good to me.
You can find more details at www.dourofilmharvest.com (click on EN in the top right hand corner for the English-language version), and while going through the recently revitalised Oporto, you could check out the smart new Yeatman hotel in Gaia, where all the wine lodges are, across the Douro from Oporto. It's a Taylor's port family production apparently.
Amazingly (to me) Ryanair now fly several times a week direct between Oporto and Carcassonne - so many a Languedoc vigneron could prepare for the harvest with a shot in the arm of Loren, Sophia.
Zero corkage in London
In the dog days of August there is no shortage of opportunities for wine lovers to dine out more cheaply than usual in London. There is the new BYO Wine Club of course, and then there are specific restaurant offers.
Corrigan's of Mayfair is offering free corkage to anyone bringing their own wine throughout August. To take advantage of this offer you have to have at least two courses from Richard Corrigan's à la carte menu, and dine in the bar area rather than in the restaurant area, making a booking before 7.15 pm (so any time at lunchtime presumably?) or after 9 pm. To whet the appetite, they cite such dishes as oysters and Vietnamese dressing at £12 to start, then pan-roasted Cornish scallops with sweetcorn and foie gras at £27.50 or saddle of wild rabbit, girolles and asparagus at £22.75.
And Bordeaux Index have reintroduced their offer to BI customers of the chance to bring their own wine free of corkage charges at The Square and The Ledbury (each of them holders of two Michelin stars). This year they have also persuaded Pol Roger to donate a bottle of their new Blanc de Blancs 1999 to the first 24 customers who take up this offer four times. ('We will have the bottle specially delivered to the restaurant in advance for you to enjoy during your final meal', they promise.) Four such meals is going it a bit in one month, even I would have thought, but the food is extremely good at both these restaurants…
Here is the small print:
Booking strictly by email only to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com cc firstname.lastname@example.org. Offered subject to availability in the restaurant. Restriction of one bottle per person applies. Offer runs 1-31 August. NB The Ledbury is closed over the Notting Hill carnival weekend [the last in August].