As midsummer approaches, time for a short trip to the Scillies to make sure our customers are happy before the season gets into full swing. The Summer Solstice seems as good a day as any to head west.
Chaos had reigned the day before with virtually no flights because of fog and low cloud, but it looks more encouraging as I head off to Land’s End Airport (that description always makes me smile as it conjures up pictures of Gatwick and Stansted!) for the 0950 flight. Bit of a delay but very soon the sun is shining and off we go. More than a bit breezy as we arrive at St Mary’s, but after a rather windblown landing, all is well, and Michel is there with a welcome as ever.
On the way to the harbour I catch up with a few customers who are all optimistic for the season ahead, and I’m particularly pleased to find that the Grapevine, St Mary’s new Wine Store and Off-Licence, is doing really well, boosted, no doubt by the splendid wines we are supplying!!
Onto the Voyager bound for St Martins, for the main event of this visit – a session with the restaurant staff at St Martins on the Isle hotel. It’s always good to talk and taste wines with the staff that will be selling and serving them to their customers through the rest of the season and to share our enthusiasm for the wines we supply. The great thing about talking to young people with no great knowledge of the wine world is that they are completely open-minded and honest on the subject, so if they say a particular wine is really nice, you know they mean it. And they were right! The two wines we selected to taste from the main restaurant list were both very good, but could easily be missed by the less-than-unadventurous guest. The Wildekrans Caresse Marine from South Africa is just drinking so well – fresh, characterful and exciting – we all agreed it could confidently be recommended to accompany any of the splendid fish dishes on offer. On the other hand, the Valpolicella Ripasso was a revelation to my young friends, with such richness, depth and complexity that they will have no hesitation in recommending it if they are asked for a suggestion. I expect to see sales of both these wines rocket over the next couple of months !!
This is the sort of service that we in Wine In Cornwall enjoy providing and is a major benefit of using a dedicated, local wine merchant rather than some large anonymous outfit from up-country. It is also the part of the job that I enjoy most.
After the work, a very pleasant walk along the northern shore of St Martins in the evening sun and then back for a superb dinner in the Hotel’s Tean Restaurant, with another glass or two of that cracking Caresse Marine. There can be very few places nicer to be, nor views in the world better than that from the Tean restaurant with the setting sun.
All in all not a bad way of spending the Longest Day!