These days there’s this thing about independent wine shops. We live in a world of superstores selling everything under one roof. There’s a case to be argued that the practically has been subbed in and specialism has gone out the window. That’s way we love our independent shops, none more so than in the wine industry. They know what’s going on, and we’re interested to hear what they’ve got to say for themselves.
When I got asked recently to do a review for Tanners Wine Merchants on one of their own brand wines then it gave me a chance to look at what these historic Independents were doing these days to stay ahead of the game. I think one pretty easy answer is to have own-label wines.
Own-label wines are made by winemakers, that usually make their own wines, but are happy to make a special batch to the buyer’s preferences and whack a different label on it. Long and short of it is that these are well made wines, but with the tastes that the Wine Merchant wants it to have. It’s a statement from them. You like these own-label wines? Then you have the same tastes and you’ll love the rest of their selection. Or at least that’s how I see it.
I got asked to pick a wine out of the list they have. For me, that’s like being asked to park in an empty car park. I just can’t do it! So without trying to sound too cryptic and arsey, I asked them to just send me a bottle of the one they like the best. So a bottle of Tanners’ Rhône Valley Red turned up at the door a few days back.
When you’re tasting wines like this, first you’ve got to do the “Duck Test”. As in does it walk and quack like one! Ruby red in colour, with warm cherries, liquorice, and pepper in flavour, and fairly full-bodied. It was all very Rhône Valley Red so far! If I was being pushed I’d say the tannins were fairly drying, but a very easy fix to that is to pair it properly with food. We did, and it improved a lot.
Slight issue is the price of £9.50 for an entry level Côtes Du Rhône. Obviously the supermarkets shave a couple of quid off that. But that’s not why you go to an Independent Merchants. You go there because you’re happy to pay up a bit, and you trust their tastes and recommendations.
On this showing, Tanners are one of those Indies that are well worth having a chat with!