Setting up shop in 1780 on Old Broad Street, Corney & Barrow started what was going to be a long and fruitful journey in the exploration of the best wines and, more importantly, the best wine growers in the world.
To the wine merchants, it’s not just about what’s in the bottle but who puts that delicious nectar in there.
The relationships that make the brand
“Our relationships have always been the most important part of the business”, says Will Hargrove, Head of Fine Wine. Corney & Barrow are passionate about building strong relationships with their suppliers, representing over 150 producers across 16 countries (including some of the world’s most prestigious estates — Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Bonneau du Martray and Clos de Tart to name but a few). It makes their selection of wines more exclusive and, as we all know, it’s people that make a wine unique.
Why does this matter to you, the customer? One of most important factors that can affect the flavour of the wine is the person who grows the vines and ferments the grapes. If you buy from a company that understands that, you are far more likely to get a bottle you’ll enjoy, whether you need something to open with this year’s turkey or one to lay down and enjoy in a few years time when it’s good and ready.
Every bottle has a story
Wine is unlike anything that will make an appearance on the Christmas dinner table. While we’re sure the farmer is dedicated to his crop of brussel sprouts and the butcher puts care into that bird, nothing on your table can quite tell a story like a bottle of wine.
For Hargrove, and the rest of the team, selling a wine isn’t just about flavour profiles and tannins, but the passion and skill of the winemaker behind the bottle. “You learn all the ins and outs of the vineyard, the challenges of the vintage and more.” Not every vintage is easy, especially when merchants and producers are faced with ever-changing weather conditions, but then it would be most boring if they were…
Corney & Barrow don’t just sell wine
True to its original aims, Corney & Barrow offers not just wine, but years of wisdom. In the world of fine wine, this level of expertise is invaluable; customers of Corney & Barrow are given the full advantage, from advice on buying en primeur to discovering new, unexplored, regions. Working so closely with their producers also means that they know exactly where the wine comes from. This gives you, the consumer, a guarantee of a certain level of provenance that is crucial in fine wines. This ethic lends itself to the broking side of the business too. The first UK wine merchant to establish a broking business in 1992, Corney & Barrow takes the utmost care to ensure the condition of all the wines bought and sold.
Not only does it ensure you know exactly where your wine is from but also it means you can have a direct connection to the people who make it. While you could just buy any bottle off a supermarket shelf, being able to explain to your dinner guests who grew the grapes is far more fascinating as they tuck into their pigs-in-blankets.
Corney & Barrow may have changed in the last 238 years, but their core principles have remained the same — working with brilliant producers to follow the wine’s journey from the vine into the bottle and onto the table, vintage after vintage.
Our recommendations for your Christmas table
Othello Dominus Estate 2014
From Christian Moueix’ reknowned Dominus Estate in California, this is a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon with touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Showing notes of raspberries and blackcurrant as well as black pepper and laurel, with minerality on the finish. A wine to be drunk in its youth.Buy Now
HdV Chardonnay Hyde de Villaine 2014
Lustrous gold in colour, this has a delectable nose, rich in ripe stone fruit, warm pastry richness and citrus refreshment. The aromatics are reflected on the palate, white peach and flowers adding to the attraction, as does a delicate touch of spice.Buy Now
Moulin-a-Vent Le Carquelin Domaine Labruyere 2014
From a south-facing slope, with 50 year old vines: tannic, rich, mineral and built for the long-term. Here the soils are sandy and granitic from vines near the iconic windmill. The wine has tremendous depth and underlying power, offering rich, sensual fruit directed by a rounded, well-integrated tannic structure.Buy Now
Find out more from their Christmas list, online now…