Wine Time at Scatchards
Wine can a bit like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, it’s dense, heavy going, riddled with complexities, can take years to truly grasp, and is quite often a tool for impressing friends and admonishing intellectual beatings. I’ve never read War and Peace; my copy bought from a second-hand shop, has the previous owners bookmark nestled at page 26, a literary feat I’ve yet to equal. I’ve not even read the first page, and if I’m honest, I never will, I feel like I should, but I wont. Wine can, at times, have the same problem, indeed in the past its myriad of complexities has been something I’ve wished to know about but never really had the impetus to achieve. Thus, for many years my wine buying technique revolved around only buying what was on special offer at Tesco, a method I would still set some store by.
Over the past few months I’ve been a regular at Wine Time @ Scatchards, Liverpool’s only independent wine merchant. Despite my initial fears of being bogged down in varied viticultural facts, I’ve been expertly guided through the world of wine by Jon Atkinson, a man with a deep passion and knowledge of wine, he may even have read past page 26 of War and Peace. I’m now somewhat of a regular at Scatchards, buying most of my wine from there, be it a reasonably priced quaffable bottle or something more elaborate for a special occasion.
Last Wednesday, I attended Jon’s regular wine club, hosted at the shop on Great Howard Street. This month’s event had a special guest speaker, Cathy Swift of Mentzendorff, giving us an expert introduction to the wines of Michel Chapoutier. For the excellent price of £10, we sampled eight different wines from the renowned and controversial French wine producer. My favourites of the night were Hermitage Blanc ‘Chante-Alouette’ 2007 (£41.75) a lovely rich white for a special occasion and a Luberon Rouge ‘La Ciboise’ 2009 (£6.99) that was a really lovely red at a fantastic price. The wines were introduced by Cathy with enough background to be interesting without overwhelming us with winey knowledge.
Since becoming a regular at Scatchards, I’m a bit more knowledgable about wine, I’ve also certainly been drinking better wine, without spending any more than I would in Tesco. Jon is always more than willing to share his knowledge of wine and help choose a perfect bottle for a meal, present or night in front of the telly. A visit to the shop always results in a little more understanding and a great bottle or two, just don’t ask for any Blossom Hill, this is a sure-fire way of darkening Jon’s generally friendly demeanour. I’m hoping that sometime soon he’ll find a wine that makes reading Tolstoy a little easier, then I could really impress my friends.
WINE TIME at Scatchards Unit 1, 209 Great Howard Street Liverpool, L5 9ZH 0151 207 1134