The Supplier - Jon Keast
Jon Keast of Scarlet Wines is our favourite west-Cornwall wine merchant and purveyor of fine wines to Tresco Stores...
Like all good ideas, Scarlet Wines began with a bottle of wine and a conviction things could be better…
“It literally began in my sitting room,” explains wine merchant Jon Keast. “I had a passion for wine, so friends and family would come to me for advice and I’d find them good wines. They kept coming back, and that’s where it all started.”
We’re sat by the roaring log burner at Scarlet Wines at The Old Forge in Lelant. Jon’s wine shop, delicatessen and restaurant is a charming, cosy haven, its shelves lined with gorgeous wines, artisan charcuterie and other locally sourced goodies.
Just moments from the main road west to Penzance, you might come across the shop if you take a wrong turn heading for St Ives. If you do, it’s a wrong turn you’ll be taking over and over again.
Jon is quiet, considered and deeply knowledgeable about his specialist subject. Tell him what style of wine you like and he listens intently, considers carefully, and introduces you to a real corker (pardon the pun).
Jon is what every wine merchant should be – but rarely is. “I just hate when wine merchants look down their nose at you,” says Jon. “Wine is all about discovery; it should be fun and exciting, not stuffy and pretentious.”
Our coffee arrives, and conversation turns to Tresco. “I have so many happy memories of the island,” reminisces John. “My children learned to ride bikes there and the island holds a special place in my heart.
“The Tresco Collection actually came about many years later through Iona Sanders, who is a wonderful St Ives-based artist and also works here at Scarlet,” explains Jon. “Iona was on Tresco as artist in residence and got chatting to Kate from Tresco Stores. The rest is history.
“The whole thing has been really collaborative; it’s been great fun working with Kate. We knew we could work together to create something great; a collection made for people who love Tresco, by people who love Tresco.”
Curating the Tresco Collection has been a real indulgence for John, for whom wine is all about capturing a moment in time; part of the joyful celebration of life. Everything in the Tresco Collection is there for a reason: some wines remind Jon of a particular place on Tresco; others are simply reminiscent of ‘that holiday feeling’.
“Take the Domaine Roman Gris de Gris for example,” Jon explains. “It’s the palest pink, fresh and impressively soft. Clean, refreshing and with delicate strawberry and cream notes, a single sip takes me right back to Farm Beach, looking across the channel towards Bryher.” This palest of rosés is perfect with monkfish, crab, lobster, or – best of all – as a reward following a purposeful afternoon in the company of a shrimping net.
This is a truly unique wine collection, curated with Tresco in mind and which – just like the island – will have you coming back for more.