Marco Pierre White lists ‘nonsense’ English wine at London restaurant

12th September, 2017 by Phoebe French

Having referred to anyone that buys English wine as a “total numpty,” it has come to the attention of the drinks business that Marco Pierre White lists an English white at one of his restaurants.

John Mobbs, owner of Great British Wine, a dedicated resource for English and Welsh wine, spotted the ironic listing yesterday (11/09/2017).

In a Tweet, he posted a screenshot of a wine list from one of Marco Pierre White’s restaurants, Wheeler’s of St James’s in London.

In the image under white wines, in the ‘dry and delicate’ section, is listed Camel Valley Bacchus Dry from Cornwall, described as having aromas of ‘aromatic fruit: grapefruit, lemon and greengage’. The full wine list can be found here.

Celebrity chef Pierre White made the comments in an interview with The Telegraph following the launch of his new restaurant, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill, in Plymouth.

He said: “English wine is nonsense. They are over-priced and not very good. The French make the best wine. The English just play at it. We keeping hearing this about English sparkling wine. I am very happy for them.”

“Better than Krug? Than Bollinger? No! Then why buy it, unless you are a total numpty? I am being honest. Just because something is English does not necessarily mean it is good,” he added.

Speaking to the drinks business this morning, Bob Lindo, founder of Camel Valley Vineyards, said Mobbs had pointed it [Camel Valley listed at Wheeler’s] out to him and that he thought that it was “funny” given White’s earlier vociferous treatment of English wine.

The London restaurant is selling the English Bacchus for £44 meaning that it has more than trebled the recommended retail price of £13.95. While this is by no means an unusual restaurant mark-up, it is pertinent to note, especially in light of Pierre White’s comment that English wines “are over-priced,” the difference between what the wine retails for, and what it can expect to go for in a restaurant.

Pierre White’s comments have been met with derision by many in the wine world. English wine lovers have been using the hashtag #proudnumpty on Twitter while Great British Wine has even created a spoof t-shirt design to express its love of the English tipple.

In addition, it has been pointed out by social media users – including the WSTA’s chief executive, Miles Beale – that Champagne houses are investing in English wine. In May this year, Taittinger became the first house to plant vines in England at its Kentish estate, Domaine Evremond. Champagne Pommery also announced its partnership with English wine producer Hattingley Valley in May last year. In an interview with the drinks business this year, when asked if Bollinger (one of the houses mentioned by Pierre White) would consider investing in an English vineyard, chef de cave, Gilles Descôtes, said he would “love to try something like that”, but that it was not his decision.

On the other hand, some have agreed with with Pierre White’s comments on English wine pricing. A Facebook user, commenting on a post on the drinks business Facebook page, said that “most of it [English wine] is completely overpriced”. Another expressed complete support for White, stating: “At last, someone not afraid to speak some sense! Over-hyped, over-priced and overblown. It’s what happens when the media men get stuck in!”

Gareth Maxwell, sales and export manager for Hattingley Valley Wines, expressed his opinion:

One Response to “Marco Pierre White lists ‘nonsense’ English wine at London restaurant”

  1. David sharland says:

    My understanding is that MPw is a marketing figurehead for this company or perhaps he is cooking at all of them simultaneously!
    Great publicity for a very average restaurant chain and an ever improving category of increasingly good if expensive wines

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