Archives: December, 2014

Christmas Cases

For a selection to match every foreseeable festive moment, from popping that first cork on Christmas morning to sinking slowly into a slumber in front of the Christmas specials, try our mixed cases – available in Bronze, Silver and, of course, Scarlet!

The 6-bottle cases all include a bottle of bubbles to get the party going, two whites and two reds of different styles to keep all your guests happy, and a bottle of port to wrap you in its warm glow at the end of the day.

Cases start at just £60 and all include at least 10% saving from our per-bottle price. 

To download a list of cases and prices, click here.

We also have an impressive selection of spirits from around the world, perfect for gifts or stocking up your cocktail cabinet this Christmas. The spirits we stock are not the brands you usually find. We seek out small artisan producers making something brilliant – from Dutch Genever to American Gin, hard to find Rums, Japanese Whisky and top quality Grappa.

Yet another reason to visit your local wine merchant this Christmas!

A humble request….


In which we unapologetically hammer home the case for shopping with your local wine merchant this Christmas….

This Christmas we’ve been encouraged by what seems a growing movement to support small businesses and shop local, bypassing the larger stores with their massive marketing budgets in favour of farmers markets, craft fairs and specialist retailers.

Have the supermarkets and the out of town retail complexes had their day? We suspect not, and indeed they have their place in the busy lives we all lead. But Christmas is a special time, one where we splash out for something beyond the ordinary, and the best way to do that is to shop with small local retailers!

When it comes to wine, a good and varied selection from your local merchant, coupled with some honest advice if you need it, can be the difference between a fairytale Christmas and an utter disaster ending in gastronomic disappointment and huge family arguments. A slight exaggeration perhaps, but there are some convincing arguments….

You will inevitably find a more exciting and varied selection on the modest shelves of your local merchant than in aisles and aisles of generic supermarket bottles. Add to this the fact that your local merchant has tasted everything (it explains a lot….) and ruminated on the perfect occasion and food match for each bottle, and you have at your disposal an appealing selection and a vast resource of useful information just waiting to be tapped.

So please come in and talk to us. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like, and you’re bound to leave with some truly wonderful finds to complement your food offering and make your Christmas really memorable.

Wine to go with Turkey


Jon gives his advice on wine for that all important meal….

“A couple of years ago I was at wine tasting where Hugh Johnson was giving a talk. He was charming, witty and knowledgeable, telling stories about his time as a journalist in the world of wine. He mentioned that, years ago as junior writer, he first addressed the question that inevitably arises at this time of year; what wine to drink with turkey. He went on to explain that he had written the same article no fewer than eighteen times over his career.

So, although there is nothing new under the sun, the question does remain. What wine should one drink with turkey? It’s not such a daft question either. Christmas is a time for bringing out the best, but the problem is that many “best” red wines are just too hefty for delicate turkey. Turkey’s light flavour and general leanness suggest a lighter red, certainly not too tannic or full bodied. Pinot Noir is a classic suggestion, or something Grenache based like a Cotes du Rhone, a Lirac or a Gigondas. Similarly Beaujolais would work, as would Bardolino or Valpolicella.

Of course, it is possible to avoid the question altogether by eating something else. I’ve served salmon on Christmas day, on that occasion with a delicious Soave. Many serve goose – as on our own Christmas menu here at Scarlet Wines – an altogether oilier and more flavoursome bird, and one that might work better with a good Bordeaux or a Rioja.

Another option is to make Christmas lunch into Christmas dinner. This avoids the Queen’s speech, the afternoon slumped in front of the TV and the disagreeable onset of early evening hangover. At this time of day roast beef or lamb might work well and these are eminently suitable for hearty, hefty, well oaked reds. Some examples would be Barolo, something from Tuscany, Australian Cabernet, a Priorat or Zinfandel from the USA. There are many options that would work.

Lastly it is worth considering that many of you will simply prefer something white to drink, even if it is with a meaty meal. Personally I would avoid light, lean and crisp on such a celebratory day and opt for something richer. A Pinot Blanc from Alsace? An off-dry Vouvray? Something aromatic from Southern Italy or a Jurancon from southern France? All of these are delicious and just that bit more full of flavour.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you open the first bottle early. Perhaps an English Sparkling wine? That will make all the subsequent decisions so much easier.

This month I have, of course, suggested a wine that I think would be perfect with turkey. Chateauneuf du Pape is a famous, and frequently over-rated style of wine. But, it is a crowd pleaser, and when good can be deliciously, voluptuously fruity, warming and soft. There are many versions but this is a classic: Closerie de Vaudieu, expect to pay around £22 a bottle.

And please remember to shop with your local wine merchant this Christmas!

Enjoy your wine and Merry Christmas!”