All our drinks tell the story of the land where they were grown and the people who grew them. They are shaped by the climate, soils and ways of growing of each place. They are influenced by the way the locals live and the food they eat.
All of what we sell we source from producers with strong environmental and ethical policies. Much of what we sell is grown organically, some biodynamically. Lots are produced entirely naturally with nothing added and nothing taken away.
Why? Simply because our experience is that drinks made this way taste best, are more authentic and that they’re filled with life and individuality.
These are the kind of wines, teas and coffee we enjoy drinking most and hope you will too.
A few weeks back a leading national newspaper published a piece by its long standing, well respected but rather traditional wine critic. My nearest and dearest predicted correctly and a little …moreAuthor: Robin Nugent
Enlightened producers around the world are experimenting with, in a way, doing less, questioning the orthodoxy, rediscovering purity and simplicity, preserving diversity, and farming in a more natural way.
Our focus at Iron & Rose is on wines from organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards, winemakers who practice minimal manipulation in the cellar, but above all our focus is on wines that taste good. Some may be a little hazy, some might have, shall we say, strong personalities but they are authentic, artisan products and speak of the people and places that made them.
Want to know more? Amongst other books on the subject, “Natural Wine” by Isabelle Legeron MW and “Authentic Wine” by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop MW are both well worth a read. Or better still come and talk to us, taste some wine and buy a bottle to enjoy at home.
Based in the rural hills of Shropshire they combine expertise with passion to source, roast and supply unique coffees from small holds around the world. The roastery is a converted barn, in a yard shared with other rural-living, speciality-driven food producers.
A core part of their approach is supporting the arts through industry, working with a variety of artists and designers and allocating a portion of profits to art and design initiatives.
They use analogue knowledge, based on over 20 years of speciality roasting experience, to sample and develop the roast in response to the coffees' innate flavours and aromas.
As well as single origin they have created a selection of expertly fused espresso blends – ranging from the sweet and jammy, to the 'made for milk' and the pure organic.
Currently, coffee is only available to buy in-store.
Sometimes you can’t beat a mug of Builder’s ™, preferably with a big slice of cake but as with wine there is a whole wide world of flavours out there beyond the mainstream and there’s a tea for every moment of the day. Which you can’t say about wine. I usually draw the line at breakfast.
We choose our teas according to the same criteria as our wines – first and foremost that they are delicious but also that they are produced naturally, sustainably and ethically. Very often they are from small farms just as our wines are from small vineyards. As with wine it comes back to people and place.
We fell in love with botanical infusions (tisanes) a few years ago on a visit to a friend living in the mountains of Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy. They were a revelation. We drank infusions made with locally grown herbs and flowers that were complex and tasty, revitalising and soothing, relaxing and invigorating. Not a flavouring in sight just authentic flavours and pure enjoyment.
If it’s wet, tasty and is more about a strong sense of place rather than a production process we are more than likely to give it a go.
Robin - Over the years I have worked in most areas of the wine industry. I’ve picked grapes and worked in a winery, sold wine over the counter for high street chains and traditional family wine merchants, supplied wine to restaurants, independent retailers, brewers, national chains and supermarkets.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world visiting producers, seen a lot of wineries and walked, ridden horses, driven jeeps (and hire cars) through numerous vineyards. I’ve met some great people, eaten some amazing meals and drunk lots of delicious wines.
But what gets me really excited is meeting a vineyard owner who loves his land, grows great grapes and makes fantastic wines that have a sense of place and authenticity. In my experience, many of these growers work their land organically and very many produce on too small a scale to be available anywhere except in specialist retailers. It’s out of this experience that Iron & Rose was born.
Marguerite – has spent her career in visual arts working with some of the most exciting contemporary artists around and has put up with Robin’s travelling, trying to get her to drink sherry and getting carried away by weird foods and rather esoteric wines. She is an extremely valuable steadying hand and creative force.
Not all of what we sell is certified organic, biodynamic or whatever even though it might be produced that way. Just as not everything that isn’t certified as Fair Trade is unfairly traded.
There are many reasons why a producer might not get certified. Cost is one. But for a lot it can come down to ideals. For example the 2012 EU legislation actually allows for a lot more non-organic additives to be used in the winery (added tannin, gum arabic, gelatin and yeasts for example) than many producers want to use and many feel that undermines the whole system. Also many of the most interesting producers are challenging one set of rules so why join a club promoting another?
Far be it from us to tell you how much wine you should or shouldn’t drink but we believe in moderation in everything (including moderation) and think it makes sense to use those weekly units wisely. So buy a good bottle, enjoy it responsibly and make them count.
Because Duty, the tax on alcohol, is a fixed amount in the UK and the cost of shipping and packaging don’t vary that much either, when you spend more on a bottle of wine, more of your money goes on what is in the bottle and a lower proportion goes on tax, transport, glass and cardboard.
Iron & Rose? (The following comes with a mild “wine-speak” warning.) Well, people often pick up a hint of iron when they taste a Barolo, the famous wine of North East Italy and one of my favourites, and a smell which reminds them of roses.
Often worked on a very small scale, the wines are wonderfully varied from vineyard to vineyard, year to year, and grower to grower. They can be truly beguiling, scented wines which have fantastic tension between power and elegance.
It may not be the most beautiful building (well, okay, it isn’t) but it contains lots of fantastic food stalls offering local and carefully sourced products and several great places to eat on site too. It’s a vibrant, exciting and enjoyable place to go shopping for the everyday and a special treat.
It’s become the centre of an increasingly foody culture in the town. If you think markets are all about big knickers and knocked-off electronics think again and watch this - -
Shrewsbury is a handsome town at the heart of one of the UK’s most beautiful but least known counties. On the border of England and Wales, there is fantastic produce of all sorts on our doorstep, especially lamb, beef and dairy, talented artisan producers and some great restaurants and pubs.
There’s wonderful walking, world class mountain biking and road cycling on quiet roads. Come and visit us but don’t tell everyone!
Here's a selection of our favourites currently on sale in our online store.