Category Archives: Blog

Top 10 Boozy Gifts For Christmas

Stuck for gift ideas for those particularly boozy friends or family members? For a little inspiration here is Jon’s Christmas List – there’s not a pair of socks in sight!

  1. The Foundry Grenache Blanc. This full-bodied white has a lovely jasmine richness and was voted South Africa’s best white wine this year. A bargain compared to its old-world rivals and a great introduction to the wines of this country, which are growing in interest and complexity each year. £15
  2. Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir. First class Pinot from one of South Africa’s best specialist producers. It’s also the perfect Turkey accompaniment! Another great find from my recent whistle-stop tour of vineyards in this beautiful country. £30
  3. Macymyra 10 – Swedish single malt whisky par excellence – and they now import to us direct so the price has recently come down to £60
  4. Quinta do Vesuvio Late Bottled Vintage Port. A super-famous estate in the Douro really delivers with this delicious top quality LBV. £20
  5. Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin. All the way from Australia but worth it for this intensely flavoured gin which would make a great gift for all those gin collectors out there. The key botanical is Finger Lime. £50
  6. Domain Ferrand Chateauneuf du Pape. For when only the best will do.  This is lavish wine – powerful, supple, spicy and super-smooth in the mouth. Make sure whoever you buy this for drinks it with you! £38
  7. Cave du Turckheim Mayerling Brut from Alsace.  Made from Pinot Blanc this is a cracking value sparkler with heaps more cut and interest than Prosecco for a very fair £16
  8. Rizzardi 3em Cru Amarone. A superb full, rich and deliciously savoury Amarone wine from the Veneto. £38
  9. Vincent Gaudry Chante Cigale Sancerre. A biodynamic and brilliant lean and tangy Sancerre, the biodynamics adds a lovely extra edge of complexity to this super-fresh wine. £26
  10. Scarlet Wines Gift Vouchers. These vouchers can be used in our wine and spirits shop and deli, and also our cafe – making them a great way to gift an experience rather than more ‘stuff’.

We hope you find one of the above under your tree this Christmas…

What does a wine merchant drink at Christmas?

 

If you would like a little help stocking up your wine rack for Christmas 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.

For a little inspiration here is what Jon drinks at Christmas (a slightly edited version anyway, we know you don’t have all day!)

Christmas Eve. This has to be one of the best times of the year. That delicious moment when everyone is home and you can start the party. I like a crisp, well chilled white wine, something refreshing like Sancerre or Pouilly Fume. These are from Sauvignon Blanc grown in the upper reaches of France’s Loire valley. They lack the pungent fruitiness of New Zealand Sauvignon but replace it with a tight, stony crispness that is impossible to beat.
Domaine Roblin Sancerre, £19.50

Christmas Morning. My family tradition calls for Champagne at this point. Personally these days I usually opt for English Sparkling Wine from one of Devon or Cornwall’s own vineyards. Every bit as good and local too.
Trevibban Mill Brut, £30

Christmas Lunch. Burgundy is the absolute classic here. These are the most tricky wines of all to get right. The whites are from chardonnay and the reds from Pinot Noir. The best guide to quality is the name of the producer rather than the micro zone the wine comes from, but you must get advice and you must spend a decent sum or you will be disappointed. When the wine is good, there is nothing better in the world; buttery, complex, creamy whites and multi-layered, complex, delicate reds with the odd mushroomy twang to keep your interest until the very last drop.
Les Heritiers Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc, £22
Amiot Servelle Chambolle Musigny, £65

Christmas Day Evening. By this point fatigue has set in, the palate is a little jaded and a disagreeable hangover lurks nearby. I find that something sweet does the job, ideally sweet and fizzy. So a nice Moscato d’Asti is perfect; this is low alcohol with a delicious grapey fresh taste and a lick of comforting sugar. For something stronger and sweeter, go for vintage port, ideally with a couple of decades age. This is another absolute classic, rich full and, if well aged, tastes a bit like Christmas cake.
GD Vajra Moscato d’Asti, £20
Quinta do Infantado 2011, £58

Boxing Day. Head out for that walk, get some air, chase the dog / children about and you will be ready for one of life’s true pleasures; the boxing day left-overs lunch. What to drink? This is a chance to go off-piste; so top quality of course, but less trad. I’d love a rich complex, full bodied white from South Africa. For red a lovely gentle, spicy Rhone wine, so Gigondas, Lirac or everyone’s Dad’s favourite, Chateauneuf du Pape.
Miles Mossop Saskia, £18
Domaine Gallety Cotes du Vivarais, £25

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.

Christmas & New Year Opening Times

Unbelievably, the festive season is just around the corner once again, and it’s time to let you know our opening hours. We’d love to see you – whether just to grab a coffee on the way back from the shops, or for a full-blown meal with friends and family.

We are open every night for dinner, between 18th and 23rd, then again 26th to 30th December.

We close at 5pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, with last food orders at 3pm.

We are closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but open on New Years Day (full hangover recovery kits on stand-by!)

Do give us a call to book as it can be a very busy time, or chance it and we’ll do our best to accommodate you!

Alternative Christmas At Scarlet Wines

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On Sunday 10th December Scarlet Wines and Woodfired Canteen will join forces to create an alternative Christmas celebration, providing the perfect antidote to festive fatigue.

We want to bring back a little magic to Christmas, remind people that it’s a time to be social rather than dash around the shops, and encourage everyone to support local businesses and small retailers. We’re inviting you to draw on our combined expertise when it comes to food and drink, so we can help you have the best Christmas ever!

Featuring a delicious roast lunch cooked by Ben Quinn over wood fire, with plenty of ideas and tips to inspire creative cooks on the big day, this is an opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends – as well as plan and shop for the culinary highlight of the year.

Alongside Ben’s three-course roast, our resident wine expert Jon has designed a drinks menu with the aim of adding a bit of sparkle and excitement to the festive experience; expect unusual aperitifs, quirky cocktails, and alternative wine choices to help Christmas go with a bang.

It’s worth investing a little time and effort in deciding what to drink over the festive season – especially with your Christmas dinner. Whilst we love the classics for Christmas, we are always up for suggesting some more unusual choices to help you befuddle visiting relatives.

Special discounts on wine and spirits, and great value mixed cases to see you through the holiday season, will also be available on the day.

The Scarlet Wines deli, which stocks a variety of foodie gifts and special ingredients from Cornwall and the continent, will be open and replete with seasonal treats.

Lunch is £25 per person, and the matching drinks menu will be an additional £12. For all bookings please call us on 01736 753696.

Winter Wine Course: Bookings Now Being Taken

We are pleased to announce that our first ever Winter Wine Course will begin in January, and bookings are now being taken! It’s the perfect motivator to get you out of the house on a dark winters night, and would also make an excellent Christmas present for the wine lover in your life…

Jon will guide participants through five weeks of tasting, in a programme which promises something completely different to the usual dry (no pun intended!) format.

Jon explained: “Wine courses often follow strict formats where you learn about ‘how things should be done’ in the world of wine; you get lectured about grape varieties, and taught to recognise ‘typical examples’ of a certain region.”

This course will set out to break the mould, as Jon explains: “I want to introduce people to emerging trends in wine-making right now, and the people and places who are forging ahead with exciting approaches and styles.”

The course begins on 31st January with an introduction on tasting wine and food matching; all the sessions will include a selection of light bites from the Scarlet Wines kitchen to accompany Jon’s selection of wines.

Four further Wednesday evening sessions will follow; the full course content is yet to be finalised but Jon’s working themes include Stars Of The Southern Rhone, Eastern Europe’s Reawakening, Spain’s Cutting Edge and Oak In Wine: The Devil In The Detail.

The price for the complete course is £150 (including all wines and refreshments) and spaces are limited.

To book, please call 01736 753696 – vouchers for the course are also available as Christmas gifts.

‘Feast & Flames’ At Leach Pottery

We are very excited to announce that we have teamed up with St Ives’ world-famous pottery studio for a night of fire-lit art, food and drink.

Guests at the evening launch of ‘Teachers’ Pots’ on 3rd November at Leach Pottery will be able to eat, drink and get creative in the inspiring surroundings of the historic studio, museum and gallery.

A pop-up pizza oven in the pottery’s soda kiln will provide both spectacle and sustenance, as pizzas are cooked at lightning speed by the high temperature wood-fired kiln.

A bar in the Clore Studio will dispense eclectic wines from around the world and a selection of award-winning cider from craft producer Secret Orchard – including Mulled Cider to stave off the winter chills.

As well as enjoying live music, guests will also have the opportunity to decorate and fire their own raku pot, taking it away with them on the night.

The Leach is such a great venue for a creative pop-up event like this. We’re looking forward to keeping guests satiated with heart-warming food and drink, on what promises to be an atmospheric winter evening just before Bonfire Night.

Entry to the event is free, while food, drinks and participation in the raku firing will all be charged on the night.

The Leach Pottery Shop will also be open during the event, with a 10% discount on all sales.

See you there!

Our latest exhibition: ‘Friends of Scarlet’

We are thrilled to have attracted a string of top local artists for our latest monthly exhibition, which has been curated by St Ives painter – our very own Iona Sanders.

‘Friends Of Scarlet’ features Anthony Frost, Luke Frost, Sue Bleakley, Rod Walker, Bob Bourne, Nick Hellyer and Kate Burdett – all of whom are established artists with representation from prestigious Cornish and national galleries.

Iona will also be showing some of her own sought-after pieces in the show, which promises to provide a snapshot of the variety and self-assurance of contemporary art in this part of Cornwall.

We are really excited to bring these artists together and to offer people the chance to see their work outside of the traditional gallery setting. Iona has specifically chosen pieces which work really well in the intimate space, and the affect is quite dramatic.

The exhibition is the latest in a monthly programme of pop-up shows which aim to give local artists – established and emerging – a platform to reach new audiences; photography, sculpture, ceramics and illustration have all featured in recent months.

The high profile of the current artists reflects the success of the initiative; anyone interested in showing their work in the future is invited to get in touch with Iona via the café.

The exhibition can be seen at Scarlet Wines from 4th October to 12th November and the café is open every day from 9am.