Meet the Merchant - Moreno Wines, Maida Vale, London

By Chris Losh

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chardonnay Cabernet sauvignon

Moreno Wines, 26 Macroom Road, Maida Vale London W9 3HY 020 8960 7161 What began over 30 years ago as a North London wine merchant and importer of...

Moreno Wines, 26 Macroom Road, Maida Vale London W9 3HY 020 8960 7161

What began over 30 years ago as a North London wine merchant and importer of Spanish wine, that mostly sold its wares to Spanish restaurants, has grown and evolved into one of the most impressive agencies in the UK.

The shop is still there, but the trade side has become a fully-fledged agency business, with the wine portfolio enlarging in size and expanding in geographical spread to take in most of the world.

Talking to marketing manager Christopher Payne

Wines in portfolio: About 140

Areas of speciality: We still have a specialism in Spain, but it's important that people realise we are just as committed to selling wines from our other regions. By accident, we do seem to have a very strong selection of Sauvignon Blancs from Spain, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

Maybe it's just more accurate to say we're specialists in wines that are very, very good. There are very few weak areas in our portfolio. About 40% of our portfolio is non-Spanish.

Exciting regions/wines: From Spain, we've concentrated on the better-quality boutique white wines; things like Albariño, Monterrei, Txacoli. It's finding wines that really change perceptions about Spanish white wine, and there are some fantastic wines around the £10 mark that will really surprise people. The other area is Spanish reds, again, that are retailing between £6.99 and £10. We've seen real growth in that this year.

Exciting producers: Cuevas de Castilla, the whites from Rueda are £4.99 and match up to most NZ whites. Why not expect such good Sauvignon from Spain? Also Navajas Rioja is hugely consistent - and a really big seller for us.

What's the key to a good wine list: Not limiting yourself to one or two suppliers. You're never going to get the breadth of range geographically or qualitatively, and you need the good house wines, a level above that and the premium stuff for when people want it.

Pick two wines for Sunday lunch: Gotim Bru from Castell del Remei in Costers del Segre, Spain. Rich, full and characterful, with complex nuances. £5.76+VAT. La Copa Tempranillo from Santo Cristo de Magallon in Campo de Borja, Spain. A really fruity and rewarding Tempranillo, with lots of berry flavours and a smooth finish. £4.16+VAT.

And two wines for unusual or exotic food: Inurrieta Rosado Mediodia from Bodegas Inurrieta. DO Navarra, Spain. This is a really flavourful rosé with a beautiful colour that will really refresh the palate and is way better than 99% of rosés out there. £4.56+VAT. Txomin Etxaniz, Chacoli de Guetaria, Spain. Pronounced tho-min-ech-anith, this is from the Basque Country and is typically consumed with all types of fish, but I think this is a great white for exotic dishes. It is lemony, light but full of flavour with a slight (intentional) spritz, which gives a lovely delicate "zing" on the tongue. £7.40+VAT

Pick three of your wines that every gastro pub should have on its list: Valdespino Inocente Single Vineyard Sherry! Super-fresh, flavourful and a delicious appetiser. A great wine for that first drink after a long day at the office - partner with a nice dish of olives and nuts. £8.55+VAT. Foxes Island Pinot Noir, New Zealand This is an outstanding New Zealand wine. A little more expensive, yes, but great value. One for all the Pinot lovers/experimenters, especially after watching the recent film Sideways. If I had a restaurant I would put this on the list. £13.42+VAT. Navajas Tinto Crianza A really consistently good-quality red Rioja, this one has a beautiful touch of vanilla oak and a lovely delicate plummy/cherry fruit. An absolute must and probably the most successful wine that we provide to restaurants and gastro pubs. Great on its own and goes with a wide range of dishes. £5.43+VAT.

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