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Latour '61 by the glass at new London private members' club for wine buffs

Published:  18 September, 2015

A new private members' club for wine connoisseurs will have a list of 5,000 wines and 500 of them served by the glass.

The emphasis at 67 Pall Mall - whose opening was heralded at the start of the year and will finally open its doors in November - will be fine and rare wines from around the world and has been set up by chief executive officer Grant Ashton in frustration at the mark-up on such wines imposed by London bars and restaurants.

The new venue is in the capaital's St James's district in the former Banking Hall designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Master sommelier Ronan Sayburn (pictured) is to front the wine operation at the club which aims to be a "home for wine connoisseurs".

Ashton, a hedge fund partner with vast experience in the financial world, said: "Essentially, I got fed up of being mugged by punitive London mark-ups on fine wine.

"Like a lot of people, I'd stopped drinking seriously good wine in restaurant. It wasn't that I couldn't afford to, but simply because I was no longer prepared to pay the egregious, nonsensical prices that were being asked.

"What stuck in my throat was that I knew exactly what these wines had cost to buy. In the end, I just ended up drinking wine at home and at friends' dinner parties."

Coravin technology will enable 67 Pall Mall to sell full glasses or sample sizes of 500 wines including Château Latour 1961, Harlan Estate 1997 and Sassicaia 1985.

Sayburn, a former executive head sommelier for Gordon Ramsay Holdings, said: "The concept of the perfect wine list means different things to different people. A small edited list can be just as good as an exhaustive tome.

"Our list will be multifaceted, both curated and comprehensive. We will have a section of sommelier's recommendations, an ever evolving list of the team's favourite wines.

"These will include wines at their peak, wines that represent great value for money, wines that are unique, unusual in their production, the location they come from or just fun interesting wines.

"This section will give our guests immediate access to an edited selection of wines from 5,000 bins. Our list will be accessible via an iPad which will allow easy filtering of styles, prices, countries or grape varieties and provide critics' and members' scores."

He said the list would be drawn from all over the world, "not just the Old World classics such as France and Italy, but comprehensive vintage verticals from California, South America and Australia, interesting gems from Greece, Hungary, Portugal and even Japan".

The venue will have a wine library with thousands of bottles on display in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, designed to allow members to browse or be guided towards new discoveries.

A former bank safe will provide "the most secure fine wine storage in central London". Members will be able to store an allocation of their personal collection within the cellars for consumption in the club.

There will be wine events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses.