16 May, 2008

Jamie Hutchinson

The Sampler, Islington, Londo


What alcoholic drink do you most resemble?

Armagnac - I always get the blame for giving people hangovers.

If you could have three wishes to improve your working day what would they be?

Fewer deliveries to do, a credit card machine that works properly and a fully automatic glass-washer.

How do you deal with irritating customers?

We honestly don't have too many, although the occasional one gets past Ivy, our shop guard dog. We instruct her to lick said customer until they go away.

What would you recommend to a customer wanting to splash out?

Lynch-Bages 1985. Brilliant claret at a reasonable cost compared to the 1982. It's still £150 though.

What's the most unusual thing that has happened to you in your shop?

Carla the barwoman from Cheers asking for a bottle of Spanish Sangiovese.

Can you give us an unusual food and wine matching tip?

Spätlese or Auslese Riesling with rich chicken roast dinners. It works brilliantly.

If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do with it?

I'd have a more relaxed lunch. I've always envied the Parisien way of having a decent brasserie lunch during the week.

What are the most underrated and overrated wines in the UK market?

The most underrated wine is sweet Riesling, but shhhh, it keeps it cheap. Overrated

is grand marque Champagne (with some exceptions, but not many) - dreadful value and usually not at all interesting. LVMH is the worst offender.

When you're not working how do you seek your thrills?

I like nothing better than going fishing for bass on the south coast. I rarely

actually catch anything, but it's a great way to get out of London and relax .

What one thing would you change about the drinks industry?

I would ban all false pricing followed by deep discounting. It is patroni sing to the customer and deeply misleading.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know