Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A trip to London

Last week it was the delights of the London International Wine Fair for Nigel. This annual Trade Show attracts the great and the good of the Wine Industry under the roof of the cavernous Excel Centre in the Docklands. This year’s show seemed smaller and quieter  than usual but there were still about 15,000 different wines to taste (if one really wanted to! ).The show is increasingly dominated by big brands which can be quite depressing for regional independents like Wine in Cornwall but it’s a great place to meet old friends in the trade, catch up on gossip and we always seem to come back with few new ideas.

Highlight for us was the news that Domaine les Yeuses Les Epices Syrah 2009 had won the Best Red in Show gong at the Top 100 France IGP Awards, year in, year out this wine has been proved a stunning success. “Explosive, almost volatile nose. Roasted blackcurrants, sweetcure ham and bacon…ripe curranty flavours seasoned by pink peppercorn” Top 100 French Wines.

We are still on the 2008 but the 2009 will be shipped soon.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Dicks recent trip to the Scillies...

An arduous day ahead as I set out for Land’s End Airport for the 15 minute jet-lag-free hop over to St Mary’s . Greeted there by our old friend Michel, late of Chez Michel, now with his knives hung up and driving the Skybus Shuttle. No car or bus for me today though – Shanks’ Pony is the order of the day.
Five minute walk through the drying out bulb fields into Old Town; Old Town Inn have converted the Restaurant into another Bar, and wine sales don’t warrant a dedicated wine merchant, so on to Tolman Café to see Adam, Ben and Mike, all in good form and having their busiest time since opening 2 years ago. Achieved by building a strong local trade with very realistic menus, prices and offers. Try to persuade Adam that our Hostomme Champagne would be far better and cheaper than Moet for an up-coming wedding – he agrees, but the customer wants Moet, and is always right!
Pop in to Val’s Place to see how things are going with her small but perfectly formed off-licence wine selection – Val happy and smiling as ever, still wondering why the fastest selling wine is the most expensive!
Now over to Hughtown past the very smart looking new school, coming along nicely and who knows? – will it be the Queen who opens it on her very recently announced visit (you heard it here first!).
Our restaurant customers are now all pretty much in full operation, with business building as the summer season approaches. Just a few adjustments to wine lists here and there and all of us trying to maintain the edge over the competition, whatever form it takes! Then there have been a few changes of ownership to keep the pot on the boil; The Wheelhouse, that we supplied for some years before they gave up their licence, is now a ‘change of life’ project for Jen and Dan, and will be quite a change from their previous lives as planning officers in the East End of London. Young, enthusiastic and full of ideas they should do well and we look forward to looking after their wine needs when they get their licence.
Meanwhile, former Wheelhouse owner Liz Heslin has taken on Chez Michel’s, now as a café/tearoom serving good old-fashioned fare in a warm and friendly establishment. She is very pleasantly surprised at how busy she has been from the very start, so it may not quite be the semi-retirement she envisaged! Seems an all too familiar story for some of us poor old codgers seeking a quiet life!! 
The other new development is The Grapevine, an attractive little off-licence in the centre of town started up by Garrison Holidays owner Ted Moulson to try and offer the good folk of Hughtown a decent alternative to the dreaded Co-op. We’re supplying a fair number of wines which looked good on the shelves under the helpful control of manager Dave Chodkiewicz.  Happy with the response he’s had so far, Dave is looking forward to a busy summer with many happy campers descending from the Garrison.
Spent the rest of the day walking to various parts of St Mary’s and chatting with existing or potential customers. It’s a funny old year- hotels and guest houses seem to be quite well booked until the end of June, but July and August are definitely thin on the ground, all very odd!
Back to the airport in plenty of time for my 1755 flight but whisked off to the plane early because of fog descending.  Annoyingly it had already descended on Lands End, so off we go to Newquay, landing a few minutes ahead of the fog – at least that meant we didn’t have to look at Newquay!  Minibus back to Lands End, arriving Lamorna just in time to relax with a well-earned glass of Valpolicella before supper – great value that Sentina!
It’s a tough life having to sell wine on the Scillies, but someone’s got to do it!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Blas ladies feed Jamie Oliver for Fifteen graduation dinner!

Our friends at Blas served up over a hundred burgers at the Royal Cornwall Show Ground last week to celebrate the graduation of Jamie’s students from his Fifteen restaurant in Newquay…..their gourmet burgers where a huge hit. TV celebrity Chef  Jamie had a good munch down on their unbeatable burgers….I expect he even left with a bit of Sally’s sauce down his trendy threads.

Wine in Cornwall recommend a large glass of their Noemie Vernaux Viognier with any of their burgers during the summer season….its just too damn hot in there to be drinking red!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Just Landed!

A very slinky 2010 Rosé Beaujolais from the nice people at Manoir du Carra.

Very pale pink but vividly bright this pink dry Gamay is the perfect introduction to summer and a snip at £7.50 per bottle. On the nose Nigel gets bubble gum and violets - on the palate super racy acidity and dry, fantastic extract – parma violets. Jonathan – very French a weekend away. Pretty.  Nice way to end the day and let’s drink it all before Mike gets back from Bordeaux tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Catch up with Jonny

Going part time, doesn’t mean taking it easy! It’s all go down west, the sun has been out and so have the tourists in full force. The harbour front has been an ever-moving mass of pasty munching, seagull dodging, ice cream licking, parking space hunting, day tripping, seal spotting…..emmits!  

Our vans have had to up their pace and avoid the jams to ensure the usual slick service to the wholesale trade; who have been entertaining and feeding these invaders. Being the sole provider of quality pie in the area, I have now seen the future, and it’s busy! So for any of you thinking that on my extra 2 days off I’ve been kicking back and relaxing, think again. I have been busy juggling pies, wine and local ales at The Halsetown Inn; along side the usual updating of lists and creation of spread sheets.

Updating peoples list is always the best bit of my WIC job as it is an opportunity to revisit wines I haven’t tried in a while, and discover a few new friends as new wines filter in for the new season. These wines will hit the retail side of the business in the next couple of weeks and our summer tasting in June will be the perfect opportunity to try before you buy!  Look out for our new pink Beaujolais and some very interesting Southern Italian additions. I won’t steal Nigel's thunder and reveal anymore details, but keep your eyes peeled for his next blog for details……..oh and if your not on our mailing list, get on it, it’s the only way to get invited to our seasonal wine fairs!
If you are looking for a recommendation for a summer pink that’s not all sweetness and strawberry, try the Toso Rose at your next barbeque, it’s a bit butch!