Shop for a drop

Wine reviews – By Michael Wolsey

I am sometimes asked to rate independent retailers of wine against supermarkets. It’s a bit like comparing independent bookshops with large chains which sell books along with lots of other things.

You will find many of the same titles in both shops but the independent bookseller will certainly stock some that the newsagent chain won’t touch – and if it’s not in stock the staff will order it. They will talk to you about books, make recommendations, tell you a bit about the author.

The supermarket with good wine shelves has the great advantage of convenience; you buy your wine along with the rest of the shopping and bring it back to your car in the carpark nearby.

But the independent dealer, who may well be up some awkward little street with no car park, can talk to you about wine, advise on what suits your taste, maybe let you try a little drop.

There are times when we all appreciate supermarket convenience but there is, thankfully, room for both and if you have an independent retailer near you, I suggest you get to know him or her. It can be a rewarding friendship.

Here are three nice wines you will only find in independent stores. Prices vary, these are an estimate.

Le Village Cote Rotie 2013 (€40). From the domaine of Michel and Stephane Gier,. This is a deep, smooth red from the Rhone region. Tastes of black cherry, olives and liquroice.

Sipp Mack Rosacker Grand Cru Riesling 2011 (€30). A lovely Alsace white with complex citrus flavours. Goes very well with fish or cheese.

Gevrey-Chambertin 2014 (€35). A beautiful Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Smooth and a little spicey.