Author Archives: Mike Maguire

Singing in Truro Cathedral



Singing in Truro Cathedral and not a drop of drink in sight!
It’s not all about selling wine at this time of year you know! What you might not know is that 2 of the WiC team are members of the Trengilly Singers (along with their wives) and they will be entertaining late night shoppers in Truro Cathdral this evening at 7 – 7.30 and then 8 – 8.45. Do pop in and support us if you are in town!
Mike & Henry

Nigel in Tuscany Part III

The vineyards of Tuscany are intermingled with many other crops – this region, unlike Bordeaux for instance, has a balanced and varied agricultural landscape. We even visited a truffle glade, the roots of the saplings are impregnated with truffle spores and usually take about five years to start producing truffles. It is easy to see why we Brits love Tuscany so much, these mixed vistas offer so many contrasts  with rolling valleys, woods and impossibly quaint villages.

This is a difficult area to start afresh as a vine grower – Chianti production, both ordinary and Classico, is strictly controlled so although a vineyard may fall within the DOC region that doesn’t mean one can start making wine – quotas have to be bought and vineyards approved. Wines produced within the region that do not carry the Chianti DOC or DOCG are usually labelled IGT Toscana.

As a footnote there have been reports in the press recently that we are facing a global wine shortage this year of 300 million cases and, while we always treat these issues with a degree of cynicism, two poor European harvests, massive Chinese demand and patchy results elsewhere do make us worry. The fickleness of mother nature was brought home to roost at Tenuta di Frassineto where 30 acres of Cabernet Franc were left un-harvested on the vines because of rain damage in August – lucky birds!2013-11-07 16.49.06

Nigel in Tuscany Part II

Freshly harvested olives in Tuscany

Freshly harvested olives in Tuscany

Olives are hand harvested green in November in Tuscany – a very labour intensive process. The oil is often used straight away, even if they have stock left from last year because the new green oil has its own special flavour. Herbaceous and such a vibrant, vivid green – it is intensely aromatic and just a tad bitter.  It is used, usually cloudy and unfiltered on bruschetta sometimes with Cavallo Nero,  or in a vegetable and bean broth. Tuscan bread, unlike other bread in Italy, is unsalted. Other seasonal delights included papardelle with wild boar meat, wild boar sausages cooked on an open fire in a cavernous farm house kitchen and quite the best risotto I have ever eaten – made with fresh wild mushrooms and seasonal black truffle. Hey, it’s tough being a wino sometimes!

Olive trees ready for harvesting in Tuscany

Olive trees ready for harvesting in Tuscany


Nigel’s Tuscany Trip Part 1

Weatherwise, Tuscany in November is very similar to Cornwall in September  – lucky Tuscans, a nice short winter! Last week I was part of an international group of 30  (the only Brit) who attended a 2 day2013-11-06 10.58.18

workshop followed by a three day whistle stop tour of about ten wineries. Lots of Chianti and the ubiquitous and totally more-ish Vin Santo. Virtually every winery and farm make their own Vin Santo 2013-11-07 13.45.17

with their own “mother yeast” so each one is different. Intensely sweet and slightly unctuous, we were shown the Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes drying in the lofts and the wines sleeping in their ancient little barriques. We tasted quite a few as well.

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Tuscany is justly famous for its red wines  – Sangiovese is King here. Actually it is not that simple as there are many different clones of this dry, acidic but complex, cherry-scented variety but basically they fall into two camps – big berry and small berry. Predictably the smaller berries produce the better wine albeit less of it. Other local grape varieties include such wonders as  Cigliogiolo, Canaiolo and the highly promising Pugnitello. More to come on my trip soon.

Dine with Bordeaux at Budock Vean Hotel last Saturday


Dinner at The Budock Vean Hotel

Busy weekend for the WiC team. Nigel was at Mullion Cove presenting wines on Friday and I was presenting a range of Bordeaux wines in conjunction with the Dine with Bordeaux promotion at a gourmet dinner at the Budock Vean Hotel.

The premise of the Dine with Bordeaux campaign is that Bordeaux produces food friendly wines, with a diverse range of styles to suit every type of food, and that they need not cost the earth. All but one of the wines shown have to be available at a retail price under £25.00, a far cry from the headline prices paid for the top end wines from the region.

Proceedings started with the 2009 Chateau La Fleur Boireau, Montagne St Emilion paired with aCornish game terrine. The vigour in the young fruit was a good foil to the richness of the terrine and was soft enough to start the diner with. £10.64

Beautifully cooked John Dory on a punchy cider, saffron and mussel sauce needed the elegant acidity of the Chateau Peyruchet Sauvignon. Clean cut, nettle scented with a round mouthful of fruit, this is a great buy at £7.84 and is far better value than many a Sauvignon from further afield.

2006 Bernadotte waiting to be poured

2006 Bernadotte waiting to be poured

There were around 70 guests at this Dine with Bordeaux dinner but I felt that the 2006 Chateau Bernadotte, Haut Medoc, was a little too masculine for some of the female drinkers. It showed classic Pauillac style with a softening, but ever-present tannic structure, and is fresh and fruity with everything getting smoother with age. It works a treat with a nice bit of Cornish beef fillet. £26.40 – limited supply.


Mike sampling the 2006 Bernadotte with Ross Minty

Mike sampling the 2006 Bernadotte with Ross Minty

An apple based dessert with caramelised apple and ginger cheesecake fighting for attention with the Budock Vean apple sorbet did not warrant a heavy dessert wine so I plumped for the Chateau Haut Mayne Sauterens, 2010. The sweetness of the wine was spot on with the richer cheesecake and ginger biscuit base and the pleasant level of acidity did not clash with the natural acidity of the sorbet. Even so, s few people (who professed not to like dessert wines anyway) could not be swayed. The bottle price is £20.89, and we also have half bottles available at £11.40

The last course and wine always present a challenge at these gourmet dinners as it generally consists of a selection of three local cheeses. I discussed the idea of serving a sparkling rosé with the proprietor of Chateau de Sours, Martin Krajewski and we both agreed that we thought it would be an interesting match to the cheeses on offer – Cornish Blue, Helford White  and Butlers Cheddar.

Well, I am a bit of an optimist and I thought that the two harder cheeses were fine with it, but the more creamy Cornish Blue was not a great success. The rest of the room had mixed feelings as well. Ah well! We do like to push the boundaries and sometimes we break the fence! Experimental stuff aside, this is a lovely dry blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with light crushed raspberry fruit and a lingering finish. Very refreshing and quite different to the other wines of the region. £11.95

All in all, we had a great evening, so many thanks to Martin and his team at the Budock Vean Hotel.


Mike Maguire


Mullion Cove Wine & Food Weekend

A nice little tasting on Friday night at the Mullion Cove Hotel Wine and Food weekend.

They gave me free rein to select 6 wines and then matched them to various dishes on the weekend menus. I always try to go “off piste” on these events to push back people’s preconceptions and get them to try new things. 

We kicked off with the Amalia Garnacha Tempranillo Rosado (£5.99), a cheeky little pink wine fruity but dry, very straightforward and easy to slurp.

Things then got more testing with Epicuro Falanghina (£8.45) the almond scented favourite of the Amalfi coast and the hauntingly aromatic Virtus Moscato from Brazil (£9.00).

On the reds and the intense and blackberry crunchy Santa Alicia Carmenere  Reserva from Chile (£7.85) followed by

Domaine de Valensac Entre Nous Petit Verdot (£9.40)– impenetrable purple red with oodles of mulberry fruit, wonderful.
Finally a delicate Semillon Riesling dessert wine from Santa Monica in Chile (£7.49) lighter than I remember it which makes ideal for fruit salad or possibly with a ceviche starter.
And so off Tuscany next week to taste my way through 24 wineries in four days, it’s a tough life!
Ps if you are wondering what Mulberries taste like go to your Deli and buy a jar of Wilkin and Sons Tiptree Mulberry jam from God’s own county of Essex. They have the only commercial grove of Mulberry trees in the country.
Wine In Cornwall's favorite Jam

Invitation to Dine with Bordeaux

Invitation to Dine with Bordeaux

We have teamed up with the Budock Vean Hotel to bring you an evening of sumptuous Bordeaux wines expertly paired with a scrumptious menu especially prepared by Head Chef, Darren Kelly & his team.

Hosted by WiC’s very own Mike, the wines will reflect the diversity of Bordeaux making this event a treat to delight the senses!

Saturday November 2nd 


£55.00 per person


For an extra £55.00 (Special rate for Bordeaux diners) per person you can also up-grade to stay the night.

To reserve & book please email the reservation team at the Budock Vean.


The WiC Team

You can now shop online for WiC wines & get free delivery throughout Cornwall on orders of 12 or more bottles.

Porridge and birthdays

I have been on this earth for 59 years as of today. ‘Happy Birthday’, I hear you cry. Made allKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA the more happy when listening to Chris Evans @radio2 this morning when I discovered that I share my birthday with ‘World Porridge Day’.

Henry assures me that he does not think that we have shared this notable date for as long as I have been around, but I felt ashamed nonetheless as I have missed out on the opportunity to suggest suitable wine matches for all those years.

This year’s winning porridge recipe deserves nothing less than a wee shot of Dulce de Pasas, Toro Albala from Andalicia.

It turns out that World Porridge Day is closely linked to the Scottish charity Marys Meals, so please click here if you wish to find out more about their efforts to feed the poorest children in the world. Mary’s Meals

New Website Is Live

It’s Live!!!!

Not quite there yet but it is alive, it’s amazing how many spelling mistakes you find, how many vintages need updating & where did I leave that description…

If you find anything missing or have any questions or suggestions about this new ‘WiC’ website – please comment below or email or call! (Mike says “keep it to yourself”)

The WiC Web team