Glorious warmth bathed us during early and mid-September followed by a truly soggy October and November.  At least this left time to ruminate about what exactly we’d like to drink this coming winter.  Autumn has seen wine writers and tasters alike trying some superb options for enjoying with all manner of festive foods.  So whether your thinking about what to try for an evening curled up on the sofa, a special family dinner or a party with friends why not scroll through the highlights of what has been tried, tested and above all thoroughly enjoyed.

We would urge you to come and visit our branches, all packed with their own inimitable charm and perfectly summed up by Rob Crossan in a piece for the Travel Section of  The Sunday Times talking about Shrewsbury.  Wine Merchant – Shrewsbury “Locals claim that Wyle Cop has the longest unbroken stretch of non-chain shops in the UK. Start your independent tour at Tanners; wine merchants since 1842 and housed in a wonderfully Dickensian store. It’s worth heading down to the cellar to see the Wallace and Gromitesque trapdoor and wooden slide device used to shift boxes of vino.”

Tanners Douro Red 2016 

‘Portugal is famous for its red blends and this Douro is a real delight, with smooth, floral black cherry and blackberry fruit and a spicy bite.’

Jamie Goode, The Sunday Express, 1st September 2019

Esporão Reserva Branco, Alentejo 2017

‘Food friendly, this rich white blends together their local Portuguese grape varieties. It’s richly fruited with pear, and table grape fruit with a slightly pith edge, some mandarin richness and a core of acidity that keeps things fresh.’

Jamie Goode, The Sunday Express, 27th October 2019

Altano Branco, Douro 2018

‘Pretty and expressive with floral citrus and table grape aromas, this has a twist of lemon-curd richness. It tastes bright and fruity with crisp lemony flavours and a pithy twist, making for a wine that is absolutely delicious.’

Jamie Goode, The Sunday Express, 24th November 2019

Aldonia, Rioja 2016

‘Intense and complex on the nose and palate with berry fruit, plums even cassis mixed with mocha, caramel, vanilla and balsamic. A long, fresh and mineral finish.’

Sam Wyle-Harris, The Belfast Telegraph, 7th September 2019   

Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, Ernst Loosen, Pfalz 2017 

‘Pinot gris is the name given to pinot grigio grapes left on the vine longer to achieve a more mature, fuller bodied, almost savoury texture to the wine; usually the practice in Alsace and Germany, where it is known as grauburgunder.

The Villa Wolf Pinot Gris Ernst Loosen Pfalz 2017 (£10.95 slurp.co.uk, £11.50 tanners-wines.co.uk), coming from an ancient estate now under the wing of one of the biggest names in German winemaking, is a great introduction to the style, with long-lasting tropical fruits, some spice and smoke.’

Terry Kirby, www.independent.co.uk, 7th September 2019

Col del Mondo ‘Sunnae’, Abruzzo Bianco 2018

‘Again, this is a special dinner party wine, for elegant fish dishes or, perhaps, a lobster. Moving across the Apennines to the Adriatic coast, the Col del Mondo Sunnae Abruzzo Bianco 2017 comes from the hillsides around Pescara in Abruzzo and is made from a blend of trebbiano, the obscure passerina and some pecorino. It’s a complex white, with a viognier-like nutty, honeyed note underpinning the orchard fruits.

Terry Kirby, www.theindependent.co.uk, 13th October 2019

Etna Bianco, Benanti 2019

“Over on another volcanic Mediterranean island, the slopes around Etna in Sicily also produce sensational wines such as the Etna Bianco, Benanti, 2017, made from the little known carricante grape, grown at 750m high, where altitude gives freshness and the soils incredible textures to the wine, with mouth-filling, creamy pear and apple flavours; I wish I could have had a glass of this to match the richly savoury pasta with sardines and pine nuts I had in a Sicilian restaurant recently.”

Terry Kirby, The Independent, 9th November 2019

Chénas, Rémi Benon 2017

‘Chenas is the smallest of the appellations, but, in my book, produces some of the best of the chunkier, more full-bodied wines. The Rémi Benon Chenas, 2017 (£12.90, tanners-wines.co.uk) is silky, concentrated, ripe and rounded – lovely midweek treat with a chicken casserole.’

Terry Kirby, The Independent, 17th November 2019

Ancre Hill Estates Blanc de Noirs, Welsh Sparkling Wine

‘The Ancre Hill Blanc de Noirs is bone dry, 100 per cent pinot noir, with complex, intriguing, flavours of citrus and brioche – an exceptional celebration wine.’

Terry Kirby, The Independent, 24th November 2019

Ancre Hill Estates Chardonnay, Welsh Regional Wine 2014

‘This chardonnay is oak barrel fermented, lees-aged with a fresh slightly creamy, lemony character that, for my money, matches some of the best of France.’

Terry Kirby, The Independent, 24th November 2019

Château Les Moines, Médoc 2009 

‘A big attractive, ripe 2009 showing great body and substance, plenty of ripe dark fruit with warm cacao character and a rich and mouth-filling finish.’

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 8th September 2019

Churchill’s Estates Branco, Douro 2018

‘An arresting pale gold colour, this nicely structured white from Churchill’s is a combination of 70% rabigato and 30% viosinho grapes. Light and refreshing, with plenty of citrus and mineral tang, it’s ideal for an aperitif.’

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 15th September 2019

Bowmore 12 Year Old, Islay Single Malt Whisky, 40% vol 

‘Bowmore is complex, balanced and has all the hallmarks of classic Islay whisky, with plentiful notes of peat smoke, but there are also indications of vanilla and citrus.’

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 22nd September 2019

Laphroaig 10 Year Old, Islay Single Malt Whisky, 40% vol 

‘If there is a Scotch malt whisky that can transport you straight to the shores of Islay, it is Laphroaig. Full of earthiness, salinity and an almost iodine note to the peat, there is a soft, sweet flavour behind. A hugely complex and satisfying dram.

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 22nd September 2019

Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old, Islay Single Malt Whisky, 46.3% vol

‘Bunnahabhain is a bit of an outlier on Islay, as its whiskies are more sweet than peated. Adding a drop of water opens the aromas, giving this a sumptuous nose of cream and vanilla with an unctuous texture, spicy and smooth.

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 22nd September 2019

Meerlust ‘Rubicon’, Stellenbosch 2016 

Rubicon is an old classic, but in vintages such as 2016 – which have more merlot and cabernet franc in the blend – it takes on a lighter touch and revels in its sheer drinkability. A wonderfully complex and fruity Bordeaux-style wine.

Will Lyons, The Sunday Times, 13th October 2019

Kaapzicht Pinotage 2017

‘The Steytlers use fruit from a variety of parcels on granite and sandstone soils to make this excellent value, textbook Stellenbosch Pinotage. Stylishly oaked, it’s a smooth, red berry fruity number with some underlying structure and grip. 2019-25. 91/100’

Tim Atkin, Tim Atkin South Africa Report 2019

Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest Riesling 2017

‘Around half of the bunches of this superb sweet wine were affected with botrytis in 2017. Not released since 2014, this is consistently one of the Cape’s greatest sweet wines, with wonderful sweet and sour notes, some pepper spice and restrained exotic fruit flavours. 2019-25. 96/100’

Tim Atkin, Tim Atkin South Africa Report 2019

Hunters Premium Export Strength, Cheshire Gin with Apple, 43.3% vol

‘Brand new and delectable, full of zesty citrus notes and a touch of spice.’

Johnny Ray, The Field, September 2019

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale, Brut Champagne

The term Cuvée Royale was added to this delicious Champagne when it was a chosen tipple of both Queen Victoria and also King Edward VII.  Luxurious, superbly balanced and very long on the palate, this is a noble Champagne and the discounted price represents incredible value for money.  Get on the blower to Tanners now!

Matthew Jukes, The Daily Mail, 28th September 2019

Tanners Merlot, IGP Pays d’Oc 2018

‘The Bunch unites seven top UK independent wine merchants who gather annually to share their best bottles. I buy from all of them and recommend browsing the websites of Adnams, Corney & Barrow, Haynes Hanson & Clark, Lea & Sandeman, Private Cellar, Tanners and Yapp Brothers for some serious treats.’

‘Searching under a tenner? Tanners Merlot Pays D’Oc 2018 (13%) is a juicy red from £8.20.’

Olly Smith, The Daily Mail, 13th October 2019

Peter Jakob Kühn ‘Quarzit’, Oestrich Riesling Trocken, Rheingau 2017 

BEST BUY from

‘Very small region on the Rhine producing very high-quality wines, where the Riesling is so zesty it can make your skull glow like a lemon in a lightbulb socket.’

Olly Smith, The Daily Mail, 24th November 2019

Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris, Les Princes Abbés, Alsace 2016

‘…Domaine Schlumberger’s mushroom risotto-matching Les Princes Abbés Pinot Gris 2016 serves its crystallised citrus, spiced pear and quince richness with polished charm.’

David Williams, The Guardian, 14th October 2019

Rasteau, Domaine la Soumade, Frédéric Roméro 2016 (not Prestige)

“A typically deep, rich and flavourful southern Rhône blend from the village of Rasteau. There’s a real taste of the warm south in the heady black and red fruits and spice, but there’s freshness too in a wine that will stand up to all the Christmas feast can throw at it.”

David Williams, The Guardian, 17th November 2019

Escarpment Pinot Gris, Martinborough 2017

‘Escarpment have a justified reputation for pinot noir, but the estate has a way with the white variety pinot gris, too, making in this case a shimmering dry wine filled with quince and pear, subtle toasty notes, and a dusting of baking spice.’

David Williams, The Guardian, 17th November 2019

Redoma Branco, Douro, Niepoort 2018

‘Dirk Niepoort is justly famous for making some of Portugal’s finest ports and red wines, but his whites can be equally arresting, this oak-aged blend of local Douro grape varieties is a compelling mix of almonds, peaches and citrus tang.’

David Williams, The Guardian, 17th November 2019

Château Argadens, Bordeaux Supérieur 2015

The 2015 vintage was excellent across France, including Bordeaux, and its charm is in full effect in a superb-value claret with classic flavours of cedar and cassis, fine tannins and moreish acidity that will work beautifully with Boxing Day beef.

David Williams, The Guardian, 17th November 2019

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale, Brut Champagne

‘I wasn’t planning to do Champagne this week, but now is the time to stock up on this Joseph Perrier. The current tempting offer price of £27 when you buy two or more ends in 10 days’ time on 28 October. I hadn’t tasted Cuvée Royale for a while and was hugely impressed. It’s vivacious and elegant yet generous, too, and beautifully balanced, with a floral note on the nose and lemon curd and toast on the palate. It’s a more or less equal blend of the three varieties – 35% for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier – with around 20% reserve wines and it was aged in the cellars for three years. Spot on. 12%’

Joanna Simon, www.joannasimon.co.uk, 17th October 2019

Piedra Negra Pinot Gris, Alta Colección, Valle de Uco, Lurton 2018

Produced by Francois Lurton, of the great Bordeaux dynasty, in Mendoza, Argentina, this is something of an oddity. Francois ordered Chardonnay cuttings from France, was sent Pinot Gris by mistake, planted it anyway and was taken aback by how well it grew at altitude. The result is fresh, soft, creamy, peachy, slightly peppery, dry on the finish and completely delicious.

Johnny Ray, The Spectator, 18th October 2019

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Les Silex, Trotignon 2018

“If you like Sancerre but don’t like Sancerre prices, you’ll love this. From vineyards in Saumur and the middle Loire Valley owned by the Trotignon family for four generations, the wine is carefully blended from parcels of Sauvignon Blanc grown on very different soils. The result is a wine full of freshness with plenty of vibrant gooseberry fruit, honey and a long, long finish.”

Jonathan Ray, The Spectator, 8th November 2019

Viré-Clessé, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon 2016 

‘Pronounced stone fruit, chalk and flinty notes on the nose. There’s a generous fruit intensity to the ambitious palate, with vivacious citrus fruit at its crunchy core. The oak-spice infusion is well-integrated, and this promises to age well.’

Stephen Brook, Emma Dawson MW and Matt Wilkin MS, Decanter Magazine, February 2018

Wine Merchant mention

‘I look forward to the annual tasting put on by The Bunch, a group of stubbornly independent wine merchants ranging from some of London’s poshest (Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman) to Shropshire, Wiltshire and Suffolk’s finest and tweediest (Tanners of Shrewsbury, Yapp Wines of Mere and Adnams of Southwold). It’s good that such merchants thrive, offering intriguing and satisfying wines and proper, old-fashioned service.’

Harry Eyres, Country Life, 11th October 2019

Trotignon, Les Silex Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Touraine

‘Philippe Trotignon has 12 ha planted with Sauvignon Blanc, split equally between the deep sand beds of Noyers and the heavier soils of St-Romain. That warmth of 2018 Loire Sauvignon again! Attractive but for early drinking. Round and currant leaves. 12.5%. 16/20’

Drink 2019 – 2020

Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com, 1st November 2019

Feiler-Artinger Neuburger, Burgenland 2017

‘Kurt Feiler took over from his father, Hans, in 1994. The estate now comprises 30 ha around Rust and the Hügelland, the chain of low hills to the west of the Neusiedlersee. The soils here are a mixture of slate, stones and chalk, and the climate is influenced by the shallow waters of the lake. Big and bold – very perfumed indeed! To be drunk for comfort in the depths of winter. And it will then be lapped up as it’s very well balanced. 13%. 16.5/20’

Drink 2019 – 2021

Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com, 1st November 2019

Mac Forbes Chardonnay, Yarra Valley 2017

‘Compared with the Agnès Paquet Auxey at about the same price, this is pretty good with the same delicacy – just a little more sweetness and, funnily enough, a bit more of that ‘mealy’ character I associate with white burgundies that are not as direct and pure as they might be! Very good effort. 12.5%. 16/20’

Drink 2018 – 2021

Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com, 1st November 2019

Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Marogne, Zeni 2017

‘Established in 1870, near Lake Garda just above Bardolino. Fausto, Elena and Federica Zeni supplement their own production with bought-in grapes from growers on long-term contracts. They now manage 25 hectares of vineyards and export over 80% of their production. Bright red! Round and approachable with enough savour as opposed to being too sweet. Rather charming. I’d love this with some prosciutto. 14%. 16/20’

Drink 2018 – 2020

Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com, 1st November 2019

Dolcetto d’Alba, Fratelli Serio e Battista Borgogno 2018

‘A one-hectare plot of Liste Cru in Barolo. Fermented in cask and then goes to stainless steel. This is bright, pure and floral with very fresh, expressive red cherry fruit. Really supple and floral with nice drinkability, showing an attractive green hint to the vivid fruit. Juicy and crunchy on the finish. 90/100’

Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak, 1st November 2019

Langhe Nebbiolo, Fratelli Serio e Battista Borgogno 2018

‘This is from younger vines in Barolo, and it’s aged in large Slavonian oak casks. This shows great precision and purity, with raspberry and cranberry fruit, some tannic crunch and bright acidity. This has a lovely purity to it, showing a lot of fruit but also great structure and focus. Benchmark Nebbiolo, with good concentration for a Langhe, and elegance and prettiness coupled with acid and tannin presence. Carries its alcohol very well. 93/100’

Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak, 1st November 2019

Barolo Cannubi, Fratelli Serio e Battista Borgogno 2015

‘This is beautiful. It’s concentrated at the same time as being bright and fresh, with a crunchy raspberry edge to the floral cherry fruit. There’s an almost perfect balance between the just-ripe, pure red fruit character and the spice and herb savouriness, with firm, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity providing the structural foil. This is a pleasure to drink now, but you feel its best years are ahead of it. And many of them. The alcohol is high, but there’s no sense of over-ripeness, and a little sweetness from the alcohol helps melt the tannins a little. 95/100’

Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak, 1st November 2019

Tanners Extra Réserve, Brut Champagne

One of the best own-label champagnes, Tanners has real gravitas. Unusually it leads with the pinot meunier, and there is a lovely, toasty, yeasty, aged depth to this wine that belies its price.’

Hamish Anderson, The Telegraph Magazine, 16th November 2019

Château Tour de Luchey, Bordeaux 2018

‘This is a sleek, smooth, young merlot-based Bordeaux (plus a splash of cabs franc and sauvignon) from a generous year. I like the leafiness and flow of juice, like redcurrant and cranberry coulis. One to drink now, by the case.’

Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 23rd November 2019

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs, English Sparkling Wine 2014

‘Racy, thrillingly alive and very serious, this sparkling Chardonnay made from grapes grown in Kent shows why Gusbourne has won a reputation as one of England’s very best wine producers. It comes in a smart box – so would work as a present, too.’

Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 23rd November 2019

Wine Merchant

‘The challenge was picturesque: create a Georgian lunch menu… For good measure – and to guarantee at least a modicum of guest enjoyment if pork knuckles and suet pudding failed to work their magic – I consulted my friend James Tanner, of Tanners wine merchants, for recommendations.’

The full article can be read here

Matthew Dennison, The Telegraph, 22nd November 2019

Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills 2018

‘Ring the changes with a tasty red fizz: it’s the traditional bubbly in Australia on Christmas Day, usually made from shiraz, but try a lighter and less demanding pinot noir instead. I loved this night-harvested, juicy, spicy plum-packed sparkler from Adelaide Hills.’

Jane MacQuitty, The Times, 23rd November 2019

Chénas, Rémi Benon 2017

‘The smallest of the Crus, Chénas refers to the ancient oak forests that once covered the area and gifts us with graceful wines that combine great concentration and a fragrant bouquet of peony and roses. This has some very attractive strawberries in the mix too, with ripe raspberry fruit dominating the gloriously silky palate with rich, juicy acidity to finish. A joyous glass.’

Sam Wylie-Harris, www.talktalk.co.uk, 6th November 2019