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wine

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

Winner 2010

HK House, 12 Russell Street, Stroud,

Gloucestershire, GL5 3AB; 01453 768833

This list made a big impression. For starters,

there is no giant, leather-backed tome; instead,

the whole list is condensed so that all the reds,

whites, rosés and ‹zz are visible on one page -

perfect for the more relaxed environment of a

neighbourhood Chinese restaurant.

HK's owner and wine buyer, Chee Hui, helpfully

splits the wines into short stylistic sections of ‹ve

or six wines - so 'dry, fruity, leafy whites' includes

everything from a Picpoul and a Godello through

to a Sancerre, which makes the list incredibly easy

to use. And with a ‹nely balanced selection of

crowd-pleasers and more unusual wines, it is a

list with something for everyone.

What really won the judges

over was the 'full' list. Positioned

inside the concise version, it is

an optional 'extra' for people

who want more information

about the wines, with tasting

notes that verge on the genius. Personal,

enthusiastic, funny and helpful, they tell you

not just what a wine tastes like and what food

it goes with, but why they love it.

Winners 2011

Coq d'Argent, 1 Poultry, London,

EC2R 8EJ; 020 3589 2081

Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place, London,

W1T 1HD; 020 7927 7000

Two winners this year (we couldn't split them).

Both are top-end restaurants, but they approach

their wine lists in very diŠerent ways. Coq

d'Argent's is the more traditional, with wines

separated by country, then by region, but what

sets Coq d'Argent apart is the way it seemed just

as interested in top wines from Chile or Australia

as it did those from France - which is even more

impressive given that sommelier Olivier Marie is

as French as an air-tra—c-controller strike.

Given its City location, there is no shortage of

pricey wines from the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy

and Tuscany. But there are plenty of thoughtfully

chosen bottles below £50, too. With interesting

'Did you Know' boxes and genuinely interesting

wine œights, this is a list that mixes tradition,

innovation, bling and aŠordability to great eŠect.

Hakkasan, by contrast, was rewarded for

ripping up the rule book. Wines are not listed by

country, but by concept, under sections such

as 'Purity: the expression of the fruit' (unoaked

wines). This bold and innovative approach takes

COQ D'ARGENT'S LIST MIXES

TRADITION, INNOVATION AND

AFFORDABILITY TO GREAT EFFECT

HK House

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Coq d'Argent

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