From Provence rosé to a 1990 Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bon Coeur Fine Wines supplies thousands of wine lovers with something that the supermarkets can’t: personal service and a network of small, artisan wine producers from all over the world. Savour chats to owner James Goodhart.
There is a lot of snobbery around wine yet really what it boils down to is its drinkability and enjoyment factor – and would you drink it again?” says James Goodhart, founder of independent wine merchant Bon Coeur Fine Wines.
The business, based in Melsonby, near Richmond, in North Yorkshire – and which recently marked its 25th anniversary – works with wine suppliers from all over the world, and James carefully selects wines that “are good quality and what customers want to drink.”
“When you’re buying wine, you need to understand why it’s good. We all have our favourites but buying well is important. Plus, I’m a Yorkshireman so I’m tight,” he jokes.
“You get to understand wines for a certain character but it’s also about understanding what your customer is looking for.”
While the business supplies many leading restaurants and hotels, James’s job is also to look after private clients – wine aficionados who want something more than what the supermarket shelves can offer.
“Wine is a journey for people and when they come to thinking about, ‘why do I like this particular wine?’ then that’s when they start exploring. The more you get into it, the more addictive it becomes. I did a gap year and spent six months at a winery in Western Australia and it was here I was bitten by the bug.”
James works with producers from all corners of the world, from Sancerre, in France to Stellenbosch, in South Africa.
“At the top end, in fine wine, Bordeaux remains an influential region and in Burgundy some wines have doubled in value over the last five years. Interestingly, looking over the last 20 years, worldwide demand has brought fine wine to the forefront for investment purposes and fine wine has outperformed the UK stock market. There’s also some new kids on the block like Italy and Spain who are now getting a slice of the action. It’s our job to be ahead of the curve and guide our clients with the best performing fine wine cellar portfolios to reflect their wine aspirations.
“For everyday drinking, many people are looking for good value wines that punch above their weight. Pale rosé, especially Provence, as well as sparkling white wines – such as crémant – are very on trend.”
But what does the man whose palate travels the world taste testing wines like himself?
“When it comes to red, I’m really enjoying Château Tronquoy Lalande 2007 based in St Estephe. It is neighbour to, and under the same ownership, as Château Montrose, yet at a third of the price at £28 a bottle,” says James.
“I really like my whites fresh and vibrant. A new find which is my ‘go to’ white at the moment is Lugana La Rifra, Libiam 2018, which is made from Trebianno.”
And after a hard week’s work, James says: “Friday night, if we aren’t going out, is steak night’ and we normally treat ourselves to something such as a bottle of 1990 Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.”