Discovering New-Wave South African Wines

Travelling to the Southern Hemisphere for Spring as the leaves turn in Cornwall is always tempting, but was not the only reason for Jon’s trip in October. “There are really exciting young winemakers in South Africa creating interesting, modern wines from well-established old vines,” he explained. A trip to meet some of these producers first-hand was an exciting prospect…

As well as visiting vineyards in well-known Swartland, Franshoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, Jon also visited the lesser known region of Elgin which is traditionally renowned for growing apples. As you will read, Jon returned fired-up by the experience, and he has chosen four white and four red wines on the menu by the glass to help you get to know them too.

Over to Jon to tell us more…

The overall feeling I had after my trip was of the amount of young, skilled and forward-thinking winemakers. They have studied their craft then travelled the world honing their knowledge and expertise, and returned full of enthusiasm and ideas. Working with old vines that have been in the ground for 100 years or more means that they have access to excellent quality grapes to craft their wines with – it’s not like planting a new vineyard and starting from scratch.

What has changed is not so much the viticulture or the way in which the vines are grown, but their methods of making the wine – the vinification. Thirty years ago the style favoured by critics was for big, heavy extracted wines. Now the grapes aren’t pressed for as long, making lighter, fresher wines. By doing this the winemakers can really show difference, reflecting the terroir of each particular vineyard.

This can really be seen in the wines of Donovan Rall, who is enamoured with Mediterranean varieties. We are stocking his Tea Leaf Chenin which comes from a small plot surrounded by native rooibos plants that lend their flavour to the wine. This is a great example of how the terroir effects the grapes and produces a distinctive, complex wine that is still modern thanks to its juicy drinkability.

Other Mediterranean grape varieties that have been given a modern twist include Mourvedre and Grenache. Young winemaker Jolandie Fouche joined Kloovenburg and the du Toit family approximately three years ago. The historic vineyard benefits from her no-nonsense approach that relies on smell, touch and experience to create wines with their own character. This is clearly shown in the Kloovenburg Grenache, with its super-pure fruit and elegant dark cherry, plus a herbal note that makes this a vibrant, juicy mid-weight wine.

The trip was a revelation to me and I’m really looking forward to bringing more of my South African discoveries onto the shelves here at Scarlet Wines.

Introducing The WineBarn

We are hugely excited to be working with The WineBarn, a German wine importer headed up by native wine expert Iris Ellmann. We are their first Cornish outpost, providing a footing in the far West alongside their mainly London stockists, which include Harvey Nics, Harrods & Selfridges.

After attending their portfolio tasting in London last month, Jon was blown away by the diversity and quality of the WineBarn range. He has added about a dozen of these intriguing new finds to our collection; they are now available to trade and retail customers and we are looking forward to offering several by the glass in the café over the coming months.

Iris has hand-picked a wide selection of great producers – from historic family estates to up-and-coming young winemakers – all of whom she knows and deals with personally on her travels through Germany’s 13 wine growing regions.

Jon has selected whites, sparkling and red wines, all of which we can’t wait to introduce to our shelves.

Here’s a few to look out for…

Whites

Allendorf, 2016 – Save Water Drink Riesling
A delightfully fresh Riesling with scents of fresh grass, pineapple and apricots. Perfect with fresh Cornish shellfish, or our local asparagus when in season.

Weingut Aldinger, 2014 – Sauvignon Blanc Grand Reserve Dry
This complex and rounded Sauvignon, which is left on the lees for 5-6 months, has aromas of gooseberries, redcurrants und citrus fruits. It combines good minerality with a savoury finish.

Sparkling

Allendorf, 2015 – Riesling Sekt Brut
This sparkling wine is a nice aperitif or palate cleanser. Tender aromas of peach and apricots and a hint of apples. On the palate it shows delicate fruit-flavours and a complex character.

Reds

Weingut Bercher, 2015 – Burkheimer Spätburgunder Village Pinot Noir
From the Baden region, this Pinot is surprisingly juicy and full. The spicy-sweet aroma of dark chocolate, orange and figs makes this a good match for some of our Eastern-inspired lamb dishes.

Weingut Becker, 2013 – Becker Family Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir is grown on a rare area of limestone soil. It is light in colour with scents of wild berries, tobacco, spices and forest floor. On the palate it is juicy and elegant, with good length and structure.

If you’d like any more information, or would like to introduce some of these wines to your own restaurant list, please get in touch with Jon.

Ben Tunnicliffe Cooks Fish At Scarlet!

We are excited to announce that we have joined forces with renowned chef and seafood specialist Ben Tunnicliffe to host a fish supper here at Scarlet Wines this February.

On Friday 23rd, Ben will cook a four-course feast, featuring fish landed at Newlyn alongside other seasonal ingredients.

Meanwhile Jon will carefully pair each dish with the perfect wine from his hand-picked portfolio of over 300 wines.

Ben Tunnicliffe is a classically-trained chef and a leading figure in Cornwall’s buoyant food scene; his restaurants, The Tolcarne Inn and Ben Tunnicliffe Sennen Cove, have become known as some of the best places to enjoy fresh Cornish seafood.

Ben said: “I can’t wait to cook some of my signature fish dishes at this event, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Jon decides to pair them with. We’ve discussed the menu and I know he is already brimming with ideas – our guests are in for a treat!”

Jon is a wine aficionado with a passion for searching out authenticity, originality and value; it is thanks to his knowledge of wine from all over the world that our shelves are packed with eclectic bottles bearing idiosyncratic descriptions.

Jon said: “I love Ben’s style of cooking – he doesn’t over-complicate his dishes but lets the quality of the raw ingredients shine through.”

He added: “Obviously I’ll be choosing wines to subtly match and enhance the flavours and textures of Ben’s dishes, but I’m also hoping to surprise our guests with some original ideas when it comes to regions and grape varieties.”

The four-course meal is £40 per person including matching wines; spaces are limited and can be booked by calling our team on 01736 753696.