Barristers extol delights of down-market shopping for Christmas booze

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By Judge John Hack on

Lawyer wine experts recommend two German pile ‘em high supermarkets for deals on fizz and other fine wines

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Young barristers in certain practice areas don’t need to be reminded that times are tough — quickly logging on to the Ministry of Justice website for the latest dose of opprobrium from Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling generally does the trick. But now everyone is up to speed about the woes affecting the profession, thanks to a couple of wine know-alls.

Or at least the readers of London morning free sheet Metro are up to speed after the newspaper ran a story shouting:


Metro hacks based this shocking revelation on a piece in Counsel magazine, the monthly publication found in the lavatories of top barrister homes up and down the land.

In the latest issue, Sean Jones, a silk at 11 King’s Bench Walk chambers in the Temple, and Dominic Regan, a solicitor law lecturer at London’s City University, offer their Christmas drinks recommendations.

Noticeable in their review is where the lawyers recommend that Counsel readers shop. No reference to venerable Berry Bros & Rudd, based for more than 300 years in St James’s, or even old Fleet Street favourite El Vino’s (a relative newbie, having been established in the late 1870s).

No, the Jones-Regan duo suggests some arguably more down-market purveyors. While beleaguered Tesco and its marginally posher competitor Sainsburys get a look in, what really stands out are the references to Aldi and Lidl.

The bargain basement German supermarkets are both recommended for their Champaign deals. The former knocking out a bottle for a penny shy of 13 quid, while barristers are told they can pick up a half bottle from Lidl for £7.

The Metro report chortled at what it claimed was the article’s introduction, which, it says,

“begins with a quote from a recent speech by judge Lord Justice Jackson, who said: ‘I accept at once that we are living in times of austerity.’”

However, the on-line version of the article on Counsel’s website doesn’t include that reference. In any event, Metro points out that Jones and Regan continue:

“Whilst we have always tried to identify the best value available, we have this year made even greater efforts to spot gems that are fairly priced.”