scarlet wines cornwall

I think Scarlet Wines & tapas bar in Lelant might just be my new favourite place in west Cornwall. I had suspected it might indeed be rather cool when I stopped by Beaten Green next door the other day, but after attending their South American wine & food tasting on Tuesday night, I am now officially in the fan club.

For £20 each, owner Jon Keast took 20 of us on a gently narrated journey through six South American wines – with a caipirinha to start and each wine paired with some pretty exceptional tapas: spicy refried bean empanadas, orange-zesty pollock ceviche and pork quesadillas. Cue much South American nostalgia on my part (I left my heart in Buenos Aires a few years back).

Apart from the chance to try great wine, what I have always loved about wine tastings is the propensity for people to act like they really know their shit at the beginning (‘Gosh, I find Chardonnay so oily!’, ‘This one is so understated’), and then as the wine flows, not be able to control their descent into the use of random adjectives.

I wanted to share a few choice cuts I found the next day scribbled on our tasting notes: from me, ‘this one’s just so mild-mannered’, from Aimee ‘It tastes of skiing’ and from our new friends Polly and David across the table (seating is communal), ‘pure grown-up South America’.

We instigated a ‘guess the price’ game, which I think I lost, but when we asked Jon to reveal the prices, they were surprisingly palatable: from £6.75 to £12. There’s free delivery on cases within a certain radius, discounts for members and on biggish buys (5% on over £25, 10% off £75 or over).

If this place doesn’t make us all give up unimaginative supermarket wine, really nothing will.

Scarlet Wines, The Old Forge, Lelant, HAYLE, TR27 6JG (

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