People always ask where I buy my wine from, and where I recommend… My answer is pretty unsatisfactory, it depends; I love browsing my local wine shops for treasures and have a full on geek chat with the staff, I regularly stop in to supermarkets and Co-op for a bottle – being lucky enough to know what to buy and what to avoid and there are a handful of online retailers who I really rate.
But if I could only recommend one, it would probably be the Wine Society, you pay a one off fee (it’s £40 and you get £20 credit) for lifetime membership, it’s actually a co-operative so you’re effectively buying a share, and the value to quality ratio after that is pretty epic, I’d say if you buy more than 20 bottles of wine in total you’re up.
And unlike most other clubs they don’t send you cases every month, you get to choose what you want, although they do some great mixed case if you want someone else to do the choosing for you!
They recently won the IWC Wine Club of the Year award (more on those awards to come) in future posts. In the meantime here are some of our top picks of the Wine Society’s summer selection…
La Perrière, Bordeaux Blanc, £6.95
We begin with a great party/anytime wine. Refreshingly citrus, this is all about the lemon and lime tang and clean, fresh feeling. Bordeaux blanc is generally made of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and this is not so tart it’s tiresome but thirst quenchingly so… Serve it cold and please the world. I’d happily serve at parties or lunches in the garden.
Alberte Treixadura, Ribeiro, £9.95
This is a traditionally Portuguese grape pronounced Tray-shuh-door-ah, that you’ll be seeing more of this summer, Portuguese wine is definitely having a heyday. Closest to albarino on the map it’s for those that like it dry and fresh, a combo of green apple and white peach with a herbaceous edge and dry finish. This is one to make your mouth water. A few prawns or seafood platter would offset the dryness and enhance the flavours. You should also look out for Ribeiro on the label, which is the Portuguese appellation of this wine, if you like this style.
Available 14th July
Bleasdale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, £10.95
The Aussie chardonnay pendulum has well and truly swung away from overoaked blockbuster whites, to something all together lighter and brighter. Happily they haven’t stopped using oak completely, and this is a lovely example of new wave Australian chardonnay and the perfect mix of crunchy apple, savoury hints and the smoothing out of texture that comes from good oak. Punches well above its weight price-wise.
Domaine Cordier, Mâcon Milly-Lamartine Clos du Four, £12.50
Speaking of oaked chardonnay, this burgundy brings a whole new game to it. It has depth and layers and is deliciously velvety, with a vibrancy and tartness that keeps it fresh. Imagine the combo of really good flaky pastry and lemon curd in a tart from a fancy bakery. That balance – but not as sweet.
Coteaux du Vendômois, Le Carillon de Vendôme Rosé, ‘Le Cocagne’ £6.95
It’s summer, so it would be rude not to include a rosé, this is a Loire valley speciality, made with the lesser known pineau d’aunis grape. It’s pure cherry and raspberry in a glass, balancing that delicious fruit flavour with a tang of acidity, leaving you ready for more. Pour for many or just for two.
Tinhof Burgenland Zweigelt & Co, £9.95
Another crazy grape name, this time zweigelt, an Austrian red that it slowly winning hearts on our side of the channel. It’s a pretty red wine, lots of cherry and strawberries with a silky texture and enough tannin that you know it’s not fruit juice. It’s also got a bit of Cabernet Franc about it with some leafy notes and a refreshing dollop of tang. Worryingly drinkable.
Bardolino Le Fraghe £10.50
There’s a cherry theme here. This northern Italian red, from the shores of Lake Garda is fragrant with a deep cherry flavour, however it isn’t weighed down and heavy, instead it is light and refreshing with a leafy edge, like sitting in dappled shade. Made with similar grapes to Valpolicella but with a slightly less rustic feel. Appropriately it is the perfect al fresco sipping wine, sporting a panama hat.
Aloja Mare, Monsant, £12.95
As a contrast to all these lighter, cherryesque reds, this Spanish beauty arrives in the glass with a fanfare. It’s a muscular, wine with a whack of blackcurrant on the nose and a spicy finish. Made with a blend of grenache, cariñena (aka carignan) and syrah in vineyards very close to the prized vineyards of Priorat it has both class and a bit of in your face attitude. It’s intense and demands attention, as well as something delicious to eat to offset the tannin.
Available 14th July
That should keep you going!
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