What constitutes a “short wine list” depends entirely on context. The Star Wine List panel each year doles out awards for “Best Short List:” eligible restaurants will have less than 200 bins on their menu. Relative to some of the world’s greatest and most comprehensive lists, a list hosting only 199 wines may indeed seem quaint. But, simply put, it’s still a fairly sizeable menu. And at that scale, restaurants and bars inevitably have heftier buying power, flexibility, and room to move — taking the burden off any single wine needing to be an absolute standout.
There’s therefore something incredibly challenging about putting together a wine list of only 10, 20, 30 wines, since each needs to stand alone, do something exceptional and versatile with the food offerings at hand, and must capture the attention of a wide audience.
Listed here are a few spots around London that have compiled brief but compelling, curated little wine lists that add up to more than the sum of their parts.
For London’s best natural wine bars, find the guide here.
For more general wine drinking here.
And for anyone interested in checking out Eater editors’s favourite summer wines over at RAW, check here.