I finally managed a tour of Avery’s cellars during a trip to Bristol. It is something I had been meaning to do for years but I had always been too rushed on trips to the area. This time I was an external examiner for a Doctorate on autism at Bristol Uni and the thesis was defended so effectively that I had a bit more spare time than usual so snatched the opportunity to explore this Bristol institution.
The City Museum & Art Gallery is handily situated in an OTT Edwardian building close to the University and on the way to Avery’s. I try to pop in when I visit the city as the ceramics collection is good and they usually have something of interest going on. At the moment there is an engaging exhibition on the Bristol Aeroplane Company Centenary. I loved the section of a jet wing which looks like a piece of modern sculpture. The Banksy in the hall (angel with a bucket of pink paint on his/her head pictured) also made me laugh and the stunning Chinese lion above it is one of a pair donated when the Chinese embassy had a clear out.
Avery’s is a Bristol institution that goes back over 200 years. The cellars make it one of the more atmospheric places to buy wine. You can browse for single bottles, buy in bulk or En Primeur. Not many places seduce me into buying decent Burgundy (because I often have doubts over how it might have been handled) but Avery’s gives a sense of old school integrity and security. So when I came across some dusty and reduced in price bin-ends, including Remoissenet’s Meursault 1er Cru Goutte D’Or 2005, I couldn’t resist. These ’Golden drops’ (my limited French) were produced in the year Remoissenet was taken over and substantial investment ensued. I have a soft spot for the company as one of my most memorable wines was a Remoissenet 88 Le Montrachet (bottle number 000112). I will try to remember to review it when I open it and to put a link here.
The cellars at Avery’s are full of wonderful period detail from large double doors (with a patina that reads like a book) to bottling equipment and ornate barrel tops (pictured). I even entered ‘the room of death’ which is essentially a very very very musty cellar. Thanks to Frank who showed me around. Try to visit them sometime.
Avery’s, 9 Culver Street, Bristol BS1 5LD
el. 0117 921 4146 Website is here
For locals, Bristol Wine School also run a variety of courses including a 6 week introduction to wine (details here);