Review: Provence in Spinningfields aims ‘to demystify wine and make it accessible to everyone’

Tucked away in Spinningfields is Provence, which opened last weekend, fully stocked with more than 80 wines to choose from
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The building is set across two floors, with high windows providing great light upstairs, then softer more muted settings downstairs where people will be able to hire the room for functions, meetings and wine-eoke (wine and karaoke).

The focal point upstairs is the ‘wine jukebox’ where you can select from an array of interesting wines in three different sizes: tasters, medium and large.

The wine jukebox

“We want to demystify wine and make it accessible to everyone”said General Manager of Provence, Tom Ottley.

One of the ways they have tried to do this is by installing the ‘wine jukebox’, which allows punters to try a range of wines.

Tom said this was installed to allow people to try a bit of everything and not be limited to purchasing a bottle which often come with prohibitive price tags.

Speaking to I LOVE MCR, Tom said:

“I have always been very passionate about wines, starting at a very young age.

“My interest in wine originated from waiting on, reading wine lists so I could help people with recommendations.

“I used to read the lists, research the wines then obviously when I was 18 and old enough I used to try as many as I could.

“It just blossomed from that point on. I’ve been hooked ever since on learning more and more about how you make wine, what makes it different, what makes it unusual.

“Then it’s all about translating that knowledge to the customer.

“There’s so much snobbery around wines and I just don’t care for it at all. I want everyone to be able to enjoy wine and for it to be accessible.

“That’s what we’re all about here.”

The venue’s non-traditional approach to wine will see guests select from a menu categorised by ‘wine occasions’ opposed to a typical region or flavour profile.

And they have a wine for every occasion, with over 80 to choose from.

If you’re feeling peckish, Campanio bakery from Ancoats are providing a ‘revolving breakfast menu’ featuring porridge and Greek yoghurt pots, Sourdough toast with preserves, freshly baked pastries and cakes, not to mention filled croissants and seasonal sandwiches

In the evenings Provence will be serving grazing boards.

There are three kinds of board: Charcuterie – a selection of cured meats from Northern Cure (£17), Cheese – gorgonzola, brie, manchego, idiazabal, pecorino mandano and extra mature cheddar (V) (£17) and veg antipasti – olives, artichokes and aubergine, sun-dried tomatoes and grilled peppers, hummus, black olive tapenade (VE) (£17).

Charcuterie selection

Anthony Ellis, founder of Provence said: ‘Myself and the team have always been big wine lovers but are yet to find a venue that simplifies the experience and doesn’t take itself too seriously!

“We want to change the way people think about wine bars and make it a fun and approachable experience for all to enjoy.

“Our team are all super friendly, knowledgeable and welcome being asked loads of questions on our menu of fantastic wines.”

If wine isn’t your thing, Provence sell cocktails (Aperol Spritz, Negronia and Old Fashioned (All £10) and have a selection of craft beers from Cloudwater and Northern Monk.

Tom said they were looking at offering a ‘bottomless wine-e-oke’ (wine and karaoke) in the future. These sessions include entertainment and games, with wine tastings and advice from their in house wine experts.

Downstairs at Provence

Their high end wine list is set to be announced in the next few weeks, but they will be using a coravin system where people will be able to purchases high end champagnes by the glass, instead of committing to a full bottle.

Tom continued: “It’s all about accessibility. People are much more inclined to try something different if they only have to pay between £20-30 for a glass, rather than spending £300 on a bottle.

“We’ve got a great selection here, from champagnes to orange wines, to naturals from the new world and classics from the old world.

“Wine needn’t be scary. Why not come down and see what we’re all about?”

Provence can be fond at 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M33HF

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