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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

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.

Wine, Food and Fire

On Saturday 22nd April, a group of lucky guests here at Scarlet Wines were treated to a feast of wood-fired food created by inspirational chef Ben Quinn, paired with a selection of bold and beautiful wines from our shelves. Thanks to Mat Arney from Hailer Media for capturing this brilliantly hazy event, St Ives Bakery for the awesome Focaccia, Secret Orchard Cider for the cider and cider vinegar, and to Ben Tunnicliffe for attending to review the event for Cornwall Life. We’re still buzzing and hope the experience will be repeated before too long!

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Introducing ‘The Vineyard Table’

Vineyard Table Logo

This week at Scarlet Wines we are excited to introduce our new food offering – ‘The Vineyard Table’.

Scarlet Wines is five years old and since we opened the food scene locally has become more adventurous and diverse – we feel there is an opportunity now to be a bit bolder and brighter, which is where our hearts really lie.

So, we’ve taken a fresh look at our food and decided to renew our focus around the regional styles and flavours that parallel our other great passion, which is wine of course.

Our lovingly compiled list of over 300 wines reveals our fascination with maverick winemakers, off-beat regions and reinvented classics – all united by a common thread of quality, creativity and bold flavours.

It’s this bold use of flavour and strong regional character that our chefs are now re-injecting into The Vineyard Table menu.

The new, rustic style is inspired by sun-drenched Southern Europe and the colourful street cafes of Morocco and Lebanon; the approach is light and wholesome with plenty of fresh produce, healthy grains and distinctive flavours.

Dishes include vibrant and colourful salads, skewers of marinated meats and fish, rustic pasta dishes, hearty stews and platters of cheeses, cured meats and local seafood.

The menu was tested over the recent half term week and met with great success; the team received plenty of positive feedback from families and other visitors.

The new menu is the first in a series of updates, which will including an improved take-away offering and more events which make use of inside and outside space.

We hope you’ll come and pull up a seat at The Vineyard Table very soon!

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St Ives Food and Drink Festival

The Scarlet Wines team packed their buckets and spades and enjoyed a trip to the beach last weekend for the St Ives Food and Drink Festival.

We joined the hubbub in the main marquee on Saturday, selling a selection of wines by the glass – including Polgoon and Knightor wines from Cornwall. Although we took some New World wines too, the Cornish contingent definitely triumphed and people were seriously impressed with the standard of white, rose and sparkling wines being made here.

At 5 o’clock it was time for one of our chefs, Todd Studley, to make his way to the demo stage for his slot. Todd and Jon delivered a double act of flavoursome food and wine, showing a packed audience how to make lamb koftas, flatbreads and various dips and dressings alongside tips for wine matching. The audience seemed to enjoy the talk and the opportunity to taste the food afterwards.

On Sunday we craftily snuck outside into the sunshine and continued to help festival-goers quench their thirst as they relaxed on the beach after enjoying a taste of the food festival.

We were also selling fab Go Vino Glasses. These ‘go anywhere’ wine glasses are designed to “project aromatics much like fine crystal” and are made from BPA free polymer. They are fully reusable and recyclable, as well as shatterproof – making them perfect for beach parties, BBQ and picnics.

Congratulations to Michael at Porthminster Beach Cafe and the event organisers for putting on such a great festival in an amazing location. See you again next year!

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Charity Cycle Ride Departs!

We were pleased to be the departure point for a charity bike ride which took place on Sunday 12th April. 130 riders took part in the event to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK – and raised a huge £1545.40. Well done to the Penzance Wheelers for the fantastic effort and hope to see you all again soon!

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New Zealand – Sauvignon and Beyond….

Jon’s missive this month is about the joys of discovering the wines of New Zealand, beyond the phenomenally successful Sauvignon Blanc. You can find Jon’s wine column in Cornwall Today every month.

If there is a place I’d like to visit it has to be New Zealand. Nice people, lots of open space, incredible scenery and fantastic wine. What’s not to like?

New Zealand is also a success story in the world of wine. Twenty five years ago almost no-one in the UK would have tried a New Zealand wine. Now, although the country still represents only around 1% of wine sold in the UK, it commands the highest price per bottle of any country in the world. Not only that, it can make a convincing case to be the home of the world’s most popular and distinctive style; Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Marlborough Sauvignon has been a phenomenal success. Pungently, vibrantly fruity and instantly recogniseable, it is easy to like and sells by the truckload. What is, to me anyway, a shame is that this success means people overlook other Kiwi styles that are as good, or better. So here are some suggestions for you to try.

Aromatic styles. The same sunny but cool conditions you need to grow Sauvignon Blanc are also perfect for aromatic grapes such as Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The best of these are akin to wines from Alsace in style with richness of fruit, concentration and ripeness all balanced with great acidity to keep them fresh and zingy in your glass.

Pinot Noir. This is a difficult wine to get right but the best from New Zealand have a ringing clarity of bright fruit flavours alongside huge fresh intensity. The Central Otago sub-region right down in the South island is excellent, but there are also great wines from Marlborough, Waipara and Martinborough.

Big reds. This is perhaps the least likely style for New Zealand to make, since full bodied reds from Merlot, Cabernet and Shiraz in particular need real warmth to ripen the grapes. But, New Zealand is a long country, and conditions on the North Island, particularly on the more sheltered East coast at Hawkes Bay, are far warmer than further South. Expect to find bright, spicy, Syrah styles but with aromatic fruit and moderate weight. Cabernet and Merlot are similar in weight to Bordeaux but with particularly clear and crisp fruit flavours.

To find these wines, look for regions other than Marlborough and grapes other than Sauvignon. Prices for all but the top few wines will be in the £10 to £25 range, so a little more than other countries but the quality you will find is excellent. Do try your local independent shop and do ask for suggestions.

So, that’s my bit of a push for the diversity and sheer joy of New Zealand. Now I just hope I can find enough spare time and money to get myself over there.

One to try. Huia Gewurtztraminer. This is from Marlborough and is made by the wonderful, softly spoken, Claire Allen and husband Mike. All of the wines they make are organic and biodynamic. It has a classic Gewurtztraminer nose with lychee, Turkish delight and a huge ripe intensity. It is delicious.

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Mother’s Day Lunch

Without further ado, we present our Mother’s Day Lunch menu: Guaranteed to impress and keep you in the good books for an entire year (especially if you order a glass of bubbles to start).

We have three sittings available for the 15th March – 12 -12:30, 2 – 2:30 and 4 – 4:30. Prices are our regular 2 or 3 course rates of £17/£22.

Please call 01736 753696 to book. We look forward to seeing you on the day, on your best behavior of course….

Starters

Warm Flat Bread, Trio of Dips
Cajun Squid, Melon & Sweet Chilli Salsa
Cauliflower Pakoras, Sour Mint Dip
Crab Fritters, Saffron Mayo

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Main

Roast Topside Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Creamed Horseradish
Roast Leg Of Lamb, Bacon & Sage Stuffing, Mint Sauce
Roast Pork Shoulder, Baked Honey & Thyme Apple
Harrissa Baked Cod, Apricot Cous Cous, Confit Garlic, Purple Sprouting, Toasted Hazelnut
Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings, Capers, Tomato Napoli, Salsa Verde

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Sides £3

Hand Cut Fries / Rocket & Parmesan / Seasonal Vegetables
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Dessert

Warm Chocolate Pudding Pot, Orange & Cardamon Mascarpone
Chocolate Brownie Sundae
White Chocolate & Fig Creme Brûlée, Almond Shortbread
Trio of Ice creams

Valentines Menu

Valentines: There are some cynics out there but we are not among them. Whoever decided to pop a day of romance, indulgence and pleasure into the middle of the dull month of February deserves a sainthood.

So we’ve dusted off our tables for two, the bubbles are on ice and we’ve spent the last week devising a play list of romantic yet bearable tunes.

Our chef Olly has also been busy dreaming up a menu of tasty morsels for sharing (or fighting over depending on the stage of your relationship). All this delicious food (below) for a fabulous £28 a head. He’s also devised some great vegetarian variations on all of the below – please get in touch for details.

The menu will run on Friday and Saturday (13th and 14th) in case you just can’t wait to celebrate.

Glass of Bubbly

Olives, Bread and Oil

Smoked Haddock Soufflé

Crab Fritters & Saffron Mayo

Spiced Lamb Terrine with Flatbreads

Tempura Vegetables with Sweet Chilli Dip

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Tomato Salsa

Rum, Date and Toffee Pudding with Caramelized Banana and Ginger Ice Cream

Mudslide Cocktail

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Hello to our new manager….

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We’ve recently been on the look out for a new manager; someone who combined friendliness with organisational skills, and a love and knowledge of wine and food. And we think we’ve found the perfect person in our very own Daniel Amos.

Daniel grew up in St Ives before packing his travelling case and moving to the big smoke. He ran a mobile catering business (think lovable Cockney geezer – but from Cornwall) for 3 years then worked in a busy hospitality operation at Heathrow Airport for 5 years.

Daniel moved back to Cornwall in 2011 and got to grips with the food production side of the industry. He joined the team at Scarlet at the start of the summer, and we have finally persuaded him that he can’t hide his light under a bushel any longer.

He lives in Angarrack with his wife and two daughters and not one single dog (yet….)

We asked him to tell us his favourite tipple, but he seems to have had trouble narrowing it down….

“I’m a fan of almost all alcohol – Whiskey & Bourbon are particular favourites. Love white wine too!” Not fussy then.

We hope you’ll pop in and say hello to Daniel soon – he’s always ready with a smile, especially if he’s enjoyed a good surf in the morning!