Staff Choices 2014

Wine is something to be shared and enjoyed. The 'Staff Choice' section, which changes every two weeks, gives a different staff member from The Society's 200-strong team the opportunity to share a wine from our range that they've particularly enjoyed – and why they think Society members would too.

Below you'll find an archive of this year's previous recommendations from Society staff. Please note that, as some were published some time ago, not all of the wines will be in stock and some of the prices will be out of date.


Previous Staff Choices

December 2014

Weinert Cavas de Weinert 2004

I've always been a huge fan of fuller-bodied reds. I love a wine that will jump out of the glass and smack you round the chops, develop over a whole evening and offer real depth of flavour and complexity. I find that wines like this are great at this time of year.

One of my favourites in this vein, this Argentinian wine really delivers this and more. A blend of malbec, cabernet and merlot with three to four years oak ageing which, coupled with a further six in bottle, is like music to my ears. This has so much going on with dark fruit, vanilla, cedar and even some menthol and dark chocolate. Great with either winter foods or at a BBQ, but is so soft that it can even be drunk on its own.

Hugo Fountain

Hugo Fountain
Member Services Adviser

£12.95 - Bottle
£155.00 - Case of 12

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November 2014

Boizel Brut Réserve NV

Many of my colleagues will be able to tell you that I am especially fond of Champagne! I don't drink that often so my own personal rule is to ensure I drink something I really do love, and Champagne is regularly my choice. There are few things as uplifting as hearing the gentle pop of a Champagne cork followed by the anticipation of what's about to be poured.

As you can imagine I was very disappointed when I missed out on a recent staff tasting on one of my favourites: Boizel. However, disappointment soon turned to delight on finding out that our current 'Festive Deals on Champagne' offer includes Boizel with a fabulous saving! This balanced, elegant Champagne has an appley, citric nose and lively mousse which, along with the saving, makes a case of six irresistible. That's my Christmas present to myself sorted out. Cheers!

Linda Knight

Linda Knight
Campaigns Team Manager

£27.00 - Bottle
£95.00 - Case of 6
Save £67.00 per six

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November 2014

Moscato d'Asti, Elio Perrone 2013

The sweeter, gentler sparkling relation of the much-maligned Asti Spumante, Moscato d'Asti is a deliciously light, frothy and fun wine that I come back to again and again. This is a 5% ABV gently effervescent wine, offering a burst of orange, grape and stone-fruit aromas that, served well chilled, will invigorate the most jaded of palates. This is a wine that makes even the most sceptical smile.

For this reason, as well as the typical accompaniments of melon and prosciutto, fruit salads, or perhaps a more seasonal Christmas pudding, I find a large glass (preferably a pint glass with a handle) at breakfast time is a fine way to reawaken the tastebuds after a day spent sampling the more conventional delights of The Wine Society range.

Simon Mason

Simon Mason
Tastings & Events Manager

£7.50 - Bottle
£45.00 - Case of 6

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October/November 2014

The Society's Rioja Crianza

One of my favourite wines – and currently available with a dozen saving of £12! It's round, juicy and mellow with lovely red leathery fruit. I purchase it time and time again. It's a wine that my friends and family have always enjoyed drinking with me too.

Rioja reminds me of my holidays in Spain, not to mention a favourite summer time drink: tinto de verano, which is red wine mixed with the local soda and served over ice, with a slice of lemon. However, The Society's Rioja is a great wine to be enjoyed in the winter too, and I will definitely be buying some over Christmas.

Natalie Skinner

Natalie Skinner
Reception & Membership Admin

£7.50 - Bottle
£90.00 - Case of 12

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October 2014

Muga Reserva, Rioja 2009

Since my first exposure to good wine, which happened to coincide with the start of my career at The Society, I have been fascinated by Rioja's wide variety and rich history. I was thrilled to discover that the modern and traditional styles are discernible to my inexperienced palate and have enjoyed regular experimentation ever since. I have found this deep, smooth and oaky wine a particular favourite.

You can taste the attention to detail that has been crafted into it, enhanced by the top-quality oak barrels that are coopered by Muga themselves. In my family we drink it alongside slow-cooked lamb or roast beef and although it is delicious now, I look forward to tasting it as it matures, not least for the ongoing learning experience it will provide.

Gary Devine

Gary Devine
Systems Architect/Developer

£13.50 - Bottle
£162.00 - Case of 12

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September/October 2014

Dragon Langhe Bianco, Luigi Baudana 2012

Our resident beagle (aka Sebastian Payne MW, because he's so good at nosing out a bargain) found this elegant well-toned white in Barolo country in north-west Italy and was offered two vintages. He called me into the tasting room to have a try and asked for my thoughts; it was delicious and I instantly thought that it would be great entry in the Small Wonders section of our Fine Wine List.

The 2012 is fresh with great balance; on the nose it delivers a freshness reminiscent of a good Mâcon. The palate has a subtle hint of grapefruit and green apples with a slight richness that will complement a lunch-time snack of Mozzarella, yellow tomatoes, red onion and fresh basil, or beef Carpaccio (with Grana Padano cheese) drizzled with olive oil, both dishes accompanied with a thick slice of ciabatta to ensure nothing is wasted.

Simon Gatley

Simon Gatley
Assistant Merchandiser

£9.95 - Bottle
£119.00 - Case of 12

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September 2014

Macvin du Jura, Domaine de la Renardière

One of the joys of working at The Wine Society is the opportunity not only to taste curiosities, but to share them with my fellow-members. We take pride in listing unconventional wines that might, elsewhere, end up on the foil-cutting-room floor.

If Macvin du Jura sounds like a whisky-based winter warmer, packaged in haute-couture tartan, it's actually a vin doux naturel, made from the juice of late-harvested grapes (chardonnay here) cut with brandy (marc du Jura) before it ferments. The Jura's hyper-strict AOC rules decree that the marc must be cask-aged for 18 months, and come from the same producer as the grapes. The result is a mellow 18% nectar, sweet but never cloying. I love this with cheese, from soft to blue, and it's a sublime partner for a warm walnut or pecan pie with chilled whipped cream.

Janet Wynne Evans

Janet Wynne Evans
Specialist Wine Manager

£25.00 - Bottle
£150.00 - Case of 6

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August/September 2014

Duo Des Deux Mers, Sauvignon-Viognier Vin de France 2013

A white wine to die for! At last I've found an inexpensive fruity white which you can drink on its own or with food; although I have been alarmed to see how quickly half a bottle can disappear as one sits in the garden sipping appreciatively!

This wine is delicious: it has loads of fruit and is extremely refreshing. Sauvignon blanc is my favourite grape and I've always said that New Zealand sauvignon is the best, but this is a true winner for everyday drinking. The addition of viognier in the blend makes a perfect match and at £6.25 is a bargain!

Lisa Fletcher

Lisa Fletcher
Showroom Manager

£6.25 - Bottle
£75.00 - Case of 12

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August 2014

Blind Spot Margaret River Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc 2013

I first came across this wine when the buyers had a tasting and a bottle was left for us to try in Member Services. I'm a huge fan of new world sauvignon blanc. To some its acidity can be a bit off putting, but this blend with semillon makes this element of the sauvignon blanc a little less exuberant.

I opened a bottle (or two) with some friends for a barbecue this summer and it was enjoyed by all. It's a perfect wine to be drunk on its own but can also go well with food.: nice pasta salad, cold new potatoes and light-flavoured meats spring to mind. Full of lovely tropical notes on the nose, it offers light, peachy, hints of stone fruit and gooseberry on the palate which results in a very refreshing white wine. A real winner in my eyes. Enjoy!

James Malley

James Malley
Member Services Adviser

£7.95 - Bottle
£95.00 - Case of 12

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July/August 2014

Domaine Jones Blanc, Grenache Gris Côtes Catalanes 2013

I first met Katie Jones at uni and during our year abroad we spent many a happy day scooting around the vineyards of the Loire Valley! An interest in wine was piqued for us both. A few years later Katie bought her own vineyard in south-west France. It takes guts and character if you're young, female and above all English (!) to take on the French at their own game, especially in the macho rugby-playing south-west France. Her reputation grew and no-one could have been more pleased than me when Marcel Orford-Williams, our Languedoc buyer, decided to list her (now award-winning) wines.

We opened a bottle of the Grenache Gris only this weekend and loved its perfectly dry, clean, mineral flavour. This is a great food wine – it worked brilliantly with the 'Chicken Basque' we served and no doubt would do justice to paella or other gutsy Mediterranean dishes.

Liz Cerroti

Liz Cerroti
Head of Member Services

£14.95 - Bottle
£89.50 - Case of 6

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July 2014

Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Félines Jourdan 2013

I was introduced to this wine by buyer Marcel Orford-Williams many years ago and it has become a firm summer drinking favourite in our household ever since.

This domaine has been making wine for generations and this experience shows in the wine. Although dry, it is full-flavoured and has a slight richness to the palate, enhanced no doubt by the proximity to the Mediterranean sea. It is an excellent food-friendly wine, especially seafood and fish dishes, but also a perfect summer aperitif for relaxing in the garden, once the children are in bed and all is peaceful! It is amazingly good value too and the quality can be compared to a £10-£15 bottle of wine so I will definitely be stocking up in the hope of some warm summer evenings this year!

Helen Bourne

Helen Bourne
Inventory Management

£7.50 - Bottle
£90.00 - Case of 12

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June/July 2014

Magnum of The Society's Cava Reserva Brut

I do love drinking sparkling wines – they always seem to cheer everyone up. I am especially fond of The Society's Cava. Having had various members of my husband's family to stay from Australia over the last few months bottles aren't quite big enough and magnums are the perfect size for thirsty Australians!

This cava has lovely apple-fruit flavours and, because it is aged on its lees for 30 months, longer than Champagne, there is a certain fullness and roundness which I find sparkling wines from the Loire lack for my taste. The addition of chardonnay to the traditional cava grapes adds something extra too.

Emma Dorahy

Emma Dorahy
Buying Department Co-ordinator

£17.50 - Bottle
£105.00 - Case of 6

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June 2014

Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 'La Borry', Domaine de Saint Amant 2012

Coming up to summer, when weekends involving barbecues, Wimbledon and, of course, the World Cup this year, this struck me as a particularly good choice.

If you are a lover of viognier but, like me, unable to crack open a bottle of Condrieu every evening, this is the perfect 'everyday' substitute. There is a lot of unexciting viognier out there, but this white Côtes-du-Rhône has a brilliant nose (as the buyers here teach me, half of enjoyment of wine comes from how it smells!) of stone fruit and is full of mouthwatering flavours, evocative of sunny southern France.

Thomas Oda

Thomas Oda
Research and Marketing Analyst

£9.95 - Bottle
£119.00 - Case of 12

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June 2014

Cabardès, Château de Pennautier 2012

I have a colleague to thank for introducing me to this. 'If you like The Society's Corbières, you'll love it!' she said. She wasn't wrong and in fact, since joining The Society, the Languedoc region has been a bit of a revelation for me for good value, easy-drinking reds in particular.

This is a comforting, warming wine with plenty of dark fruits, but not at all heavy. Never fails to impress at dinner parties – like a trusted, reliable friend that gets on with everyone. Currently our house red.

Nicky Glennon

Nicky Glennon
Head of Digital Marketing

£7.95 - Bottle
£95.00 - Case of 12

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April 2014

Côtes-du-Rhône Friande, Domaine Jaume 2013

Domaine Jaumes' Cuvée Friande is what I class as my 'house wine'. I seem to drink it more often than anything else!

It has the perfect balance of juicy raspberry fruit, a hint of spice, coupled with fresh acidity and is light enough to be able to drink any time. This is not a wine that needs to be taken seriously, you don't need to have a reverential silence on opening the bottle to fully appreciate it's many nuances, it just tastes really nice, which is one of the reasons I love it.

Emma Howat

Emma Howat
Tastings and Events Co-ordinator

£7.25 - Bottle
£87.00 - Case of 12

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March/April 2014

The Society's Exhibition Chianti Classico 2010

This is my favourite Exhibition wine, not least because it always reminds me of my favourite day in Florence. We spent the afternoon in the Uffizi marvelling at the Botticellis and many others, before looking for an establishment with available seats and a suitable drinks menu. A glass of Chianti while listening to buskers on the Ponte Vecchio singing Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' with the sun going down was the perfect end to the day.

The wine shows rich black cherries punctuated by nicely balanced touches of spice, oak, leather and liquorice; and even though I can't remember the producer of the wine I had by the Arno, a glass of this takes me back to that sunset (and happily thinking that I didn't want to trade the hot air for a cool breeze).

Chris Neilson

Chris Neilson
Member Services Adviser

£11.95 - Bottle
£143.00 - Case of 12

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March 2014

Gaba do Xil Godello Valdeorras 2012

'Is it chardonnay?' That was my opening gambit when I was handed a glass of this glorious liquid to taste blind (I'm currently in training for my exams).

'Chablis, perhaps?' I ventured, savouring the steely almost-saline minerality mixed with a mouthwatering lemon twist. I was prepared to aim as high as premier cru given the impressive body. So imagine my surprise, and chagrin, when it was unveiled as a Spanish godello available at half the price I was anticipating.

When made well Galician godello can combine, as here, both a round, creamy mouth-coating texture and fresh acidity. We demolished the rest of the bottle alongside a spicy sea bass dish and the wine took all the garlic, chilli and ginger in its stride. I skipped dessert as my earlier portions of humble pie had put me right off.

Paul Trelford

Paul Trelford
Head of Copy

£8.95 - Bottle
£107.00 - Case of 12

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March 2014

Marc Hébrart, Premier Cru, Cuvée de Réserve, Non-Vintage, Brut

I have decided to go with a bottle that has been chilling in my fridge now for several weeks, waiting (im)patiently for the moment I get to pop that cork.

I first experienced this fantastic Champagne when I received a bottle as a lovely, unexpected gift when I completed my Master's degree last year, and it very quickly became a staple for any celebration that has cropped up since. It's deliciously moreish, full of flavour, dry and refreshing. A great crowd pleaser.

Now all I need to do is wait for the imminent arrival of my baby nephew so that I have an excuse to open the bottle that's been tormenting me every time I open the fridge.

Danielle Humber

Danielle Humber
Member Services

£25.00 - Bottle
£125.00 - Case of 6

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February 2014

Billi Billi Shiraz 2009 Grampians

My wife accompanied me to my first Society tasting at The Cellar Showroom in Stevenage. It was here that we both experienced Billi Billi Shiraz for the first time. Upon tasting the wine, there was a mutual look of surprise along with a joint exclamation of delight. It's a spicy and peppery shiraz, yet cooling and soothingly smooth to finish, with the richness of fruit indicative of the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia.

It has been a household favourite ever since. Part of the reason is its versatility: it is robust enough not to be overwhelmed by its culinary competition for taste-bud attention that I regularly challenge it with. My penchant for spicy Mexican quesadillas with salsa and fiery Indian curries are equally and regularly tempered by this sensational wine; nevertheless it is equally at home with a traditional Sunday lunch of roast beef.

Justin Nye

Justin Nye
Web Systems Developer

£8.95 - Bottle
£53.50 - Case of 6

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February 2014

Orvieto Classico Secco 2012 Barberani

If you were to limit me to drink the wines of only one country, it would be Italy. From the Alps to Sicily, there is so much diversity and flavour to be found.

Pretty much in the middle of it all is the beautiful town of Orvieto, perched on a crag overlooking Umbria's rolling landscape, the Tiber and the Lago de Corbara. On the shores of this man-made lake you will find the immaculate vineyards of Barberani, source of one of my favourite 'house' whites, their Orvieto Classico Secco.

It shines in the glass, with aromas of hay and citrus wafting and on the palate has crispness and freshness with good weight – it's perfect in summer for an aperitif or dining al fresco, while in winter you can sup it and imagine what the summer will bring. Saluti!

Ewan Murray

Ewan Murray
Public Relations Manager

£7.50 - Bottle
£77.00 - Case of 12

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January 2014

Prosecco Brut I Duecento

Prosecco has been my sparkler of choice for a few years and it is a firm favourite in my household for any special occasion (or any time if I'm honest!). Back in September I spotted a new prosecco in our Cellar Showroom, took it home and loved it. It's a light, fragrant, frothy wine that's delicate yet satisfying, and which slips down very easily indeed.

A few bottles were consumed at Christmas whilst playing the traditional 'Kinect Bowling' tournament: my father attributed his 'Turkey' (three successful strikes) to this very wine, claiming that it helped his swing. Quite an endorsement, I'm sure you'll agree!

Michelle Norgate

Michelle Norgate
Training Co-ordinator

£7.50 - Bottle
£90.00 - Case of 12

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January 2014

Nuy Red Muskadel

I discovered Nuy (pronounced 'Nay') completely by chance, browsing The Society's List for a reasonably priced dessert wine. This pale pink fortified South African muscat is beautifully balanced with long-lasting flavour.

It reminds me of being a kid in a sweetshop with aromas of Pick 'n' Mix and confected fruit. With a rich palate of strawberries & cream, candy floss and raspberry jam, it's a perfect aperitif and a fine partner for fruity desserts and sticky syrup/treacle puddings. It even stands up to chocolate!

It works just as well as a PX sherry for drizzling over ice cream and is an ideal alternative to port for matching blue cheeses like Stilton or Roquefort. As a refreshing aperitif or winter warmer, Nuy Red Muskadel is an amazingly versatile, interesting and memorable wine with an attractive price tag.

Allan Sharman

Allan Sharman
Web Support & Quality Team

£7.50 - Bottle
£90.00 - Case of 12

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