Wine Hero? This is someone I admire for their sense of adventure in wine. Often merchants, but equally writers, bloggers, restaurateurs. The list of people in wine I admire is long, so don’t feel let down if I take a while to get around to mentioning you!
Lymington is the equivalent of another solar system in the world of wine. So much is it the last place I expected to find an exceptional wine shop that I passed Solent Cellar’s attractive frontage (parts of the shop go back to 17th Century) without going in several times, when visiting a family member in this sedate Georgian town on the edge of the New Forest, previously best known for its high density of retirement apartments and twin yacht clubs.
What makes Solent Cellar special is clearly the very deep wine knowledge of this team. Both have wine trade credentials and Heather also trained as a chef at Ballymaloe. There’s also a determination to stock a daring range, setting the challenge of persuading the good people of Lymington to buy them. Simon is in fact one of the few people I trust 100% in his wine recommendations. I think once he sold me a bottle that I didn’t think had that wow! factor, but it was still pretty good.
Solent Cellar has some fine wines in the classical sense, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne etc. But then we go off-piste to Marcillac, Bierzo, Jura, Beaujolais, Tenerife, regional Italy. Australia is very strong, with some excellent producers from less well known regions (like Andrew Logan from Orange) and you’ll find a few interesting (and rare) New Zealanders too, if you are lucky. In short, it’s a top London wine shop transported to a small market town on the South Coast. They don’t know how lucky they are down there.
Any recommendations? I’ll leave you in the competent hands of the owners…
Lymington itself has a superb Saturday Market which lines the same street as Solent Cellar, down the hill towards the town’s quay. Well worth combining a visit to both, although the market does make for fewer parking options for latecomers.
Solent Cellar, 40 St Thomas Street, Lymington, Hampshire