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How does a wine-shop choose its wines?

A point of difference

It's a question I often get asked in store, by both customer and supplier alike. We like to think we have a pretty eclectic range of wares in shop, and we are confident that we've done a lot of the hard work of choosing for you. We aren't really interested in having 600 or 1,000 different wines in stock like other retailers (apart from anything else, where would we put them!), for two main reasons:
  1. We don't see our job just as buying wines and putting them on display. Otherwise we'd simply be another supermarket. Our job is to be selective about which wines we stock - they need to be an excellent representation of what they are trying to be. If they are trying to be a good £7 Pinot Grigio, it needs to do that. If it's trying to be a quirky £21 bottle of Assyrtiko from Santorini, by George it had better be good, because how else do you convince people to buy a £20 bottle of Greek white?! (It really is. Very good). There is a VAST OCEAN of wine out there, so we are here to help filter out only great wines at each price point.
  2. Secondly, because of that vast ocean, we believe everyone can succumb to the tyranny of choice. Yes, there are loads of good wines out there, but do I really need to stock 20 different Chilean Sauvignon Blancs or 15 Macon-Villages? I'm sure they will all do a job, but that's almost the point: assuming they are all good in their own way, surely your choice should come down to something else - in this case, we prefer to pick smaller, family producers, or wines with a story behind them. When you have an £8 wine from a big, hulking winery and a similar one at £9 from a small, independent producer, I will tend to pick the latter if they are of similar quality. Call me old-fashioned, but having been a wine-maker myself, I prefer to know exactly who produced the wine, so I can call them up and ask them about something if I need to. Apart from anything else, I run a small business myself, and I would like to think I'd helping a fellow passionate wine-lover out.
So, that's a small insight into my wine choices. We buy a lot of our wines from France and Spain direct from the producer. This means you can often only find these wines at Jaded Palates, and it also means we can give them to you at a better price than had they been sourced through a middle-man. It also means I know and understand these wines better as quite often I've met the people who have produced them.

So what about our wine cases? Why do you choose certain wines for these?

In recent weeks, we've been promoting our Christmas Wine Case - you may have seen the marketing material. We'll be tasting the contents of this case at our event this Saturday 3rd December. Come on down for a first-hand taste of what these wines (and others can do), but in the mean-time, here's a little scoop on how I picked these wines:

  • Champagne Huguenot-Tassin - Where would Christmas be without bubbles? This is our house Champagne, but that doesn't make it any lesser in terms of quality, quite the opposite in fact. It's bright, fresh and slips down very easily. A great way to get things going.
  • Bodegas Nidia Verdejo - Many people think of only a handful of options for wines destined to be drunk with seafood. This is a slightly more unusual choice in that it doesn't come from a coastal region, but it's bright, fresh flavours and great acidity make it a perfect accompaniment to smoked salmon or crab starters.
  • Domaine Grand Corbiere Rosé - I've long been a proponent for rosé being not just for summer, so I thought it was time I put my wine where my mouth is. Rosé is indeed an awesome Christmas wine - full of bright berry flavours for cranberry sauce and red cabbage, yet still crisp and light enough to cut through any fat.
  • Herederos 1808 Valcavada - I included two reds in the case, primarily to suit a variety of mains and to cater for different palates. This is a lovely bright, fruity young Rioja with just a hint of ageing to give it a little smoothness and weight. Yum.
  • Domaine Philippe Gilbert - The second red is a little more serious - a very good biodynamic Pinot Noire from the Loire. Red fruits, spice, black pepper and great acidity make this the perfect wine for turkey or any other bird for your main Christmas meal.
  • Fonseca Bin 27 Ruby Port - just as I started this case quite traditionally, so I end it: with a port. But this one is just a cut above your average one, with plenty of fruit and less heavy than you might think.
So in this instance, wines had to be chosen that corresponded to a particular food that was likely to be eaten at Christmas. What with everything else that needs planning, we thought it made sense to offer simplicity in a box - 6 wines that will be perfect for the big day. Any leftovers can of course be consumed on Boxing Day too...

All of these wines will be open on Sunday, along with the wines we have in our great Christmas Hampers and probably a few others that are new in for you to try. Hope to see you all then.