Life in Orkney is far from sedentary. After nine years, Orkney continues to stimulate a sense of fascination with its vibrant and progressive culture set in a rural, idyllic landscape and a background revelling in the ecologically rich traditions of farming and fishing.
In Orkney the term ‘discovery’ more usually applies to the subterranean remains of Palaeolithic and Neolithic dwellers but today we reveal a thoroughly modern and worthwhile discovery in Kirkwall.
Opposite the Cathedral there lies an inconspicuous alleyway. Blink and you’ll miss it or maybe you’re paying more attention to the precariously placed advertisement easel on the pavement to notice the narrow entrance. A few steps along the stone-clad alleyway takes you to one of Scotland’s oldest established wine merchants Kirkness & Gorie whom have plied their trade Kirkwall since 1859.
A charming establishment with an intriguing selection of fine wines and high-spirited whiskeys and sake, neatly surrounding a surprisingly cultured selection of French and Italian cheese, delicatessen fancies, specialist olive oils and the produce of Orkney charcuterie. All of this adorned with fine dining accessories that might make the most useful souvenirs of anyone’s trip to Orkney.
Equally charming is the author, playwright, musician, blues singer, lover of all things nice but nonetheless diffident, proprietor Duncan Mclean. One of those somewhat rare characters who does not have to make an effort to be pleasant; it is his default persona.
His love of French wine brings us to the unexpected find of ‘Bourgueil’ (pronunciation Bourgaye) from the Loire Valley which Duncan exclusively imports into the UK.
Bourgueil is delightful, young and frisky, fresh red with a fruity and subtle taste. For lovers of the cheese and wine affair a platter of Chaource, Epoisses and le Grand Rustique would find Bourgueil to be a super partner to complement such good fromage with a slight degree of palate cleansing between various mouthfuls. Moreover, Bourgueil is perfectly Sunday suited for family dinner with chicken, turkey, goose or pork without the heaviness that we sometimes crave to accompany beef or venison.
And finally to expect even more of the unexpected, it is a mere £12.50 a bottle but currently in an introductory phase at £9.99.
So all you Sunday dinner cooks - go for it.
Kirkness and Gorie Website
Kirkness and Gorie Facebook
"This church had 134 years of weddings, blessings and Sunday school; it must be Inculcated with love, the walls must exude happiness and joy." Keiko Yamaga-White November 2007