The art of matchmaking wines

Sometimes selling wine feels like a dating service, says Sadie Wilkins

Wine is not just a drink; it’s a talking point, it’s a social tool, a thank you, a sign of gratitude,
a celebration, an overdue catch up… the list goes on. Quite simply, we connect through wine, and the bottles we crack open bookmark our lives.

So, every time we recommend a bottle to a customer, whether it be a midweek pause to punctuate a long day or an occasion to mark something special, we see it as a privilege to be trusted with all those small and large moments in people’s lives. In short, we better make sure the wine sings the right tune from the glass, which is a real skill when faced with a library of wine made up of 1500 plus bottles!

Equally, every bottle on our shelves tells a story – from the terroir to the winemaker and everything in between. We follow every wine we source from grape to glass, meeting winemakers along the way,
before sharing its story with the good folk who come into our wine shop. So, there’s a lot to consider when making a recommendation – we’re like a dating service for wine drinkers, and we want to make sure that we get a second date.

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For us, shopping in an independent should mean finding not only great examples of the grape varieties, but also interesting interpretations of grapes and wines that hail from regions not so mainstream – the ‘weird and wonderful’ grapes. We sample everything we source for the shelves, and we carry it out blind too, without knowing the price – just the varieties and region. It’s something we are slightly obsessive about as we like to have zero pre- conceptions and let the wine do the talking.
When you put this altogether, it means we know and love our wines for what they are, and feel passionate about sharing them with others.

We’ve got you

So, let’s put our skills to the test and find your perfect match this Valentine’s Day. Can we be so bold to guess your brief?

You want something ‘nice’ to go with a tasty meal that’s more special than your usual but doesn’t break the bank, right? Well, here’s my thoughts, and I’m going to go with a red and a white that never disappoint! Though for a personalised recommendation, we’d love to see you in person, at the shop, where we can take on the challenge of your brief – whatever it may be!

Sadie’s suggestions:
For a red
– steak is a Valentine’s staple, and most people choose a Malbec, but here is a little twist. Morande Reserva Carmenere is simply divine.
Think green bell pepper meets hedgerow fruit, with a firm backbone but without a huge tannin hit. This wine over delivers and every time I enjoy a glass it seems to give me another level of complexity. £12 per bottle.

For a white – Karim Mussi was inspired by his favourite poets to create this wine: William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges and Walt Whitman.

Los Poetas Semillon is a fantastic wine from Argentina that is bursting with white flowers and peach aromas that lead onto citrus and tropical fruit flavour. Fantastic with white meats, salads, flavoursome fish dishes and even a goat’s cheese tart. £13 per bottle.

by Sadie Wilkins, Indie Wine MerchantVineyards of Sherborne

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