Much has changed here since the early days when we only sold the odd bottle of wine to put in a hamper. Now wine is an important, if not the most important, part of our business, as you can see from the amount of room it takes up in the shop. We must be one of the larger independent wine merchants in the area with around five hundred different wines and spirits from which to choose. We buy the majority of our wines direct from the producer, so you will find many wines here which you won’t find elsewhere and prices are very competitive. We sell a lot of magnums, which make wonderful presents or a terrific talking point at a dinner party. Winemakers always say that the wine in a magnum matures better than that in a normal sized bottle. So there’s another reason for trying a magnum!
We are more than happy to give advice on starting or stocking cellars or laying down wines; wines for parties or weddings; which wine to buy to go with a particular dish for a dinner party; wine as presents; Vintage Port for godsons and fine wines for special occasions. A major advantage of buying your wine from us is that you are nearly always able to buy a single bottle before committing yourself to a case purchase – and, of course, we have regular Tastings. If you find you don’t like what you have bought, we will exchange it for something else (full bottles only!). Wines can be purchased on sale or return for larger parties or weddings, as well as sparkling elderflower, and we can chill everything which needs cooling in our chillers, which saves fiddling about with buckets of ice. Glasses are loaned free of charge if you have bought the wine from us.
Many wines vary from vintage to vintage and so we are continually changing the range and variety of wines which we stock. There is something for everybody here, with a wide selection of wines from France in particular, but also from Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
We are, of course, especially strong on French wines, with the southern Rhône being, as ever, a consistent performer. Bordeaux has had three good vintages in a row – 2014, a fantastic 2015 and a good 2016. Burgundy, on the other hand, has had several very poor vintages in a row due to frost and hail, and wines are in exceedingly short supply and pretty expensive.
From Spain we have wines from Ochoa in Navarra and from Rioja Martinez Bujanda and Miguel Merino. These are really lovely wines and well worth trying if you have yet to do so. Our old favourite from Martinez Bujanda, Candidato, has always been and still is just the best value around. Martinez Bujanda also have extensive vineyards at Finca Antigua (nothing to do with the West Indies!) in La Mancha producing excellent quality, sensibly priced and very drinkable wines. Do look out for them!
We have a selection of fine clarets and vintage ports in our cellars if you need a special bottle or case of wine as a present, or even just for yourselves!