Whether you’ve lived here all your life or just relocated, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are excellent independent wine stores in every corner of the county. To get you started we’ve compiled some helpful Christmas recommendations (see below) from a few of your new neighbourhood experts…
Christmas is a time when we’re all willing to be a little extravagant as we shop for wines and spirits, and also when a little guidance can be very helpful. A friendly expert can be an excellent resource in the build-up to the festive season, as a source of inspiration for filling your Christmas drinks cabinet and buying gifts for friends.
So why not avoid the supermarket shelves and make a beeline for your local wine store? You will inevitably find a more varied selection their modest shelves than in aisles and aisles of generic supermarket bottles.
Independent merchants also tend to stock a plethora of locally made wines, beers, ciders and spirits. There are so many great drinks producers in Cornwall, and it’s especially important to support local suppliers at Christmas.
We’ve been chatting to a host of local wine enthusiasts to get an insight into what they’ll be putting on their shopping lists this year. They came up with the following recommendations:
Jon Keast, Owner of Scarlet Wines in Lelant, near St Ives
“I would encourage people to try Knightor Winery’s Mena Hweg. This is such a great wine style for Cornish producers to explore. It’s quite sweet with relatively high levels of residual sugar, which is balanced by that beautiful crisp acidity we get in our Cornish-grown grapes. It’s also low in alcohol (7.5%) so a good one for those long festive days when you don’t want to peak too soon…I would enjoy this on Christmas Day afternoon, when you need something light and invigorating to revive you!”
Plan a visit to Scarlet Wines and stock up for the festive season!
Kate McBurnie, Founder of Cornish Wine Tours (based in Padstow)
“I would recommend Black Ram Red, from Trevibban Mill. It’s a blend of Dornfelder and Rondo and, whilst it isn’t too heavy it has many layers of flavours. Think baked plums, blackcurrants and dark chocolate. It’s the perfect glass of comforting red for sitting in front of the fire on a winters evening, with a good Christmas film on the telly…“
Visit their Cornish Wine Tours to buy gift vouchers – an excellent present for wine lovers!
Rohit Patkar, Co-Owner of Lovetts, Newlyn
“I would encourage people to try ‘Theodora’ by Gut Oggau – a fabulous Austrian producer. This is a organic, natural wine, meaning that it has been made from grapes grown using organic methods and had nothing added or taken away in the production process. It is slightly spritzy when first opened and has a lively, off-dry taste. Each wine made by this estate is assigned a face and personality from an imagined Gut Oggau family tree; Theodora is described as sassy, vivacious and spirited! We love this approach to describing wines – it certainly sparks conversation.
This would be great with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on Christmas morning, especially as it comes in a Magnum!”
If you’re passing Newlyn, don’t forget to pop into Lovetts; a great coffee by day, delicious wines by night!
Charles Wharton, Co-Owner, Ellis Wharton Wines, Par
“Two wines I will definitely be drinking are Marco de Bartoli’s Grillo ‘Vignaverde’ and the delicious Ventoux from Delas. Both wines are organic and both producers lavish care and attention on the health of their vines and soil; it really shows in the final product!
The Grillo is like a super-charged Muscadet or Picpoul. Zippy acidity, a nice level of skin contact, bags of ripe citrus fruit and loads going on in the glass. Perfect with really well seasoned brown crab or smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon juice and a grind of black pepper, or when you just need to give your jaded palate a delicious call to attention! Not cheap but at £19 a bottle this is great value.
The Ventoux has everything a Christmas red should have. It will drink perfectly well by itself, but also has enough body to sit alongside hot or cold gammon ham, turkey or a rib of beef. Beautifully ripe tannins balanced with immaculate forest fruits and gentle peppery spice. An absolute steel at £11.50 a bottle. Enjoy!”
This independent wine merchant has a well-stocked shop in Par and can cater for all your Christmas needs!
Lucy Chenoweth, Director, The Old Garage Bottle Shop & Deli, Truro
“My choice would have to be a bottle of Mountford Estate – ‘The Rise’. This is rich and intense, with earthy fruits and soft tannins. I’ll be having a big glass on Christmas afternoon, after cooking and serving the feast, whilst everyone else snoozes in front the fire or plays with their new toys!”
The newly-opened Old Garage Bottle Shop and deli is on the Roseland, not far from Truro.
Debbie Siobhan Warner, Founder of Wild Wine Club & Wild Wine School
“I love indulging in sweet things at Christmas and I find its one of the easiest times of the year to convert people to the joys of dessert wine! This De Trafford Straw Wine, from Stellenbosch in South Africa, is one of my favourites to open at a Christmas drinks party; its sticky and sweet, but with plenty of juicy acidity giving it a lovely fresh finish. This freshness makes it really versatile and perfect for sipping with anything from mince pies to blue cheese.
Another reason I love serving dessert wine at parties is that I have a guilty collection of very kitsch glassware and opening a bottle at a party gives me the perfect excuse to get all my little glasses out on a tray and fill them with sticky sweet nectar to offer to my guests! I particularly enjoy serving this dessert wine at Christmas as to concentrate all the sweetness in the grapes, they lie in the straw to dry – just like baby Jesus in his manger. A tenuous link with the Christmas story perhaps, but it makes me smile.”
The Wild Wine Club offers long-table feasts in special locations with great food paired with interesting wines. A wine school is launching imminently…
We hope you enjoyed this article, and if you want to read more about Cornish wine, do check out our other article The Best Cornish Wines To Try Now!