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Be More Des!

4 Feb 2019 by Philip Probert

If you have shopped with Ake and Humphris you’ve almost certainly met Des. If you’ve ever popped in for a nice Chablis and left with a case of German Riesling instead, then you definitely met Des.

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Des is not only one of the most knowledgeable people in our business he remains the strongest advocate of our original founding ethos “if it isn’t good enough, it doesn’t get on the shelf”. When I bemoaned the lack of a White Zinfandel the reply came if you can find one worth the price you can have it. So off I went in search of something to make him blush, needless to say we still don’t have a white Zin… lots of other great Rose’s like the Calusari Pinot Grigio Rose from Romannia but no white Zin.

When Des admonished me that we can not buy things just because there is a gap on the shelf or because we have had it in the past “no eight of ten wines” he advised mystically. He might not be terribly subtle but he has a point, when you come to shop with Ake and Humphris you do so knowing that the wines on our shelves are there not to look good or to give us one of everything and certainly not to drink Ho Humm wine! That, you can get from the supermarket. While we work very hard to make sure that the wines we have are every bit as affordable, we try to give you a bit of extra bang for your buck too. Boutique producers, genius winemakers Yes!  Mass produced, mass marketed wine? Never!

On a recent vineyard visit Alexander Stodderi described the sorting table as his most valuable tool “It is here that great wine is made, not in the barrel”. His most trusted employees remove any under ripe or raisined grapes only the best make it through. This degree of selection and attention is reflected in the care we take to select the wines we put on our shelves. Think of Des as a human sorting table making sure only the best wines get through here's a couple that made the grade.

Ceppi Storici Barbera D’Asti A recent find this is from vines over 40 years old, always a good sign, grown on the hills of Montferrato in Piedmont. Oodles of blueberry and plum soft cherry smoke and a touch of oak make themselves apparent over the chewy tannin that gives this wine some muscle and a fresh finish lifts the fruit back front and centre… just superb a lot of wine for the money!

Gunderloch Rothenberg Auslese. There had to be a German wine in here somewhere. Des has driven our love of German Riesling and helped us to twice win the highly coveted accolade of independent retailer of the Year 2016 and 2017 from Wines of Germany (we took a year off in 2018.. it didn’t seem fair otherwise). A breathtaking wine from Gunderloch's greatest vineyard incredibly pure with a sublime honeyed sweetness that balances the natural acidity of Riesling given and incredible balance and complexity that gives this wine the structure to age beautifully.

There you go no lightweights no box tickers or eight out of tenners to be seen. Be more Des and demand more from what you put in your glass and don’t drink anything that doesn’t delight you. Sante!!