HISTORY OF THE CELLARS
A compelling history lies beneath The Stafford in its 350-year-old stone Wine Cellars. Built in the 17th century by Lord Francis Godolphin, the Cellars are situated below Blue Ball Yard, an 18th-century stable yard which once formed part of the Royal Mews. In the 1880s, they became the property of a private London wine merchant whose shingle still hangs there today.
Gino Nardella, a veteran of The Stafford, has since replaced Madame Prunier as the expert-in-residence. Gino is a Master Sommelier who not only has sole responsibility for the Cellars' constantly changing inventory of approximately 6,000 bottles, but oversees wine service in The Stafford's acclaimed Restaurant, providing tips to would-be connoisseurs or discussing vintages with ardent oenophiles.
According to Nardella, the Cellars house approximately 800 labels, although 'at any one time only about 400 will appear on The Stafford wine list with the rest awaiting maturity'.
Nardella prides himself not only on the wide selection of wines from around the world - The Stafford has one of the most complete wine collections in London - but also on the quality and quantity available by the half bottle and imperial. For example, those who'd prefer to drink less, or sample a variety of wines, can enjoy Château Lafite Rothschild 1961 and 1976 or Ducru Beaucaillou 1978 by the half bottle. For those with something to celebrate, the Château Leoville Poyferre 1978 is a favourite among the imperial-sized offerings.
At the end of a meal, Nardella might suggest a vintage cognac or Armagnac, a mature malt, or perhaps a bottle of vintage port, dated 1927 or 1945.
When Nardella has a free moment, he enthusiastically leads Stafford guests and dinner patrons on tours through the vaulted Cellars. An enlightening experience for wine lovers of any level, the candlelit tour takes them through the entire $1 million collection, with Nardella fielding questions on a wide range of wine-related topics. 'I enjoy hearing our guests' impressions of the place and, I admit, showing it off a bit. It's an imposing space and inspires a tremendous amount of awe and excitement among our guests,' says Nardella.Back