Lunch today was at the very special Pearl (www.pearl-restaurant.com) in Holborn, with Matt Bird who I had met at the charity dinner at Berry Brothers & Rudd a couple of weeks back. On this sampling, the food was simply outstanding. We took advantage of the fact that Pearl has an excellent sommelier in Michael Davis (who impressed) and also a wide range of very smart wines by the glass. Pearl use the Cruvinet system (a nitrogen delivery device to keep wine fresh for quite a time, which makes it feasible to offer lots of wines by the glass without waste. Michael explained that when he hasn't served a wine for a few days, he will run off the 20 ml or so that accumulate in the pipes, which will not be fresh. Otherwise, the wines keep very well.
From the website:
I had two wines: The Loimer Käferberg Grüner Veltliner 2004 was fresh, precise, peppery and a bit spicy with lovely fruit. Then with my seabass I had the 2005 Mesh Eden Valley Riesling (a collaborative venture between Yalumba and Jeffrey Grosset - really impressive stuff). Matt had a rather rich Californian Sauvignon Blanc (Phelps, I think) followed by the smooth, rich, silky Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2004. It's not the world's cheapest restaurant (the wealthy lawyers in the locale keep the prices high), but it's up there with some of the best, and the decent by the glass service makes it a good option for wine nuts.
"The Pearl Bar holds an exquisite selection of wines preserved by the Cruvinet System. This allows an offering of 32 of the worldís best wines by the glass, so that everyone has the opportunity to sample some of the most exclusive wines money can buy. The Cruvinet system enables wines to be opened while maintaining their freshness for up to five weeks. The wines are constantly on a nitrogen system which displaces oxygen from the open bottles, thereby enabling wines to remain fresh until time to open a new bottle. In addition to the premium wines, 8-10 House Wines are also available by the glass, making Pearl's offer of over 40 different wines by the glass in measures of 175ml or by the bottle. "