There’s always been two things that we pride ourselves on here at The Wine Society. The first, unsurprisingly, is wine! And take a walk through our offices, overhearing enthusiastic conversations about the bottles being opened at the weekend, and you’ll soon discover our staff love all things vinous as much as our members. The second thing is our service – specifically, sharing this love of wines with our members.
So we’re thrilled to introduce our newly created Wine Specialists team, giving members friendly advice direct from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of wine lovers, along with the high standard of service our members rightly expect. We’re all WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) trained to at least Level 3 or higher with a wealth of experience across the industry and a genuine passion for what we do.
What is it exactly that we do? Over and above our usual duties within the Member Services team, we’re here to answer any questions you might have about our wines. The sort of questions we might help you with are:
- Food and wine matching for a special occasion or event
- Advice on what to buy from an en primeur offer
- Finding that ultimate special bottle for a milestone birthday or life event
- Or even just helping you find something new, if you’d like a bit of inspiration.
There’s no question too big or too small, so whatever it is, we love a challenge (wine and crisp matching, anyone?) and we relish the opportunity to help our members as much as we possibly can.
The launch of our new List brings a palpable buzz to the air as, like many members, we engage in that time-honoured tradition of sitting down with the List (and probably a glass of something tasty) to scope out any new arrivals and get reacquainted with some old favourites. We’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the latest List to bring you some of our top picks and personal recommendations:
Sam’s choices: a southern French star and a California white
Domaine Jones IGP Pays d’Oc Grenache 2020
I love grenache in all its forms. Noir, blanc, gris, French, Spanish, or anything besides, I love it. Katie Jones’ wines have always had a special place in my heart (I worked a vintage for her some years back), but none more so than this one, which I loved so much I had it at my wedding. It’s bold, juicy, fragrant, and bursting with southern French charm.
McManis Viognier 2020
This richly textured wine is a firm household favourite. A stone-fruit scented viognier wine from California, it has a soft, pillowy mouthfeel but certainly isn’t lacking in the freshness department.
Paul’s choices: sherry value and an English sparkling ‘steal’!
The Society’s Fino
This is a regular in my wine rack (or should that be fridge door?). I just love it for its bready, appley goodness and its outstanding value for a wine that is so versatile and food friendly. I would have it ‘on tap’ if I could!
The Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine NV
I think this is a steal at £24 a bottle and it’s a standby in my wine rack, no special occasion necessary! Exclusively crafted for us by Ridgeview Estate nestled in the South Downs from where they have been perfecting their art for 25 years. After last year’s stock sold through, this current release has been held back to spend an extended time ageing on its lees for extra depth and savoury complexity.
Daniel’s choices: great-value Port and a Greek discovery
The Society’s LBV Port 2015
This Late Bottled Vintage Port is made especially for us by Symington Family Estate, from a single year and bottled four to six years after the vintage. It is filtered before bottling so doesn’t need to be decanted and is a perfect after-dinner Port. Most people tend only to think about drinking Port at Christmas time but it deserves its place on your table all year round. This is rich, voluptuous and velvety and I happened to be able to do a personal vertical tasting of the ‘11 ‘14 and ’15 over Christmas and can vouch for its consistency and at a price that’s hard to believe.
Mitravelas ‘White on Grey' Moschofilero 2021
Like many of our members, I fell in love with our Greek wines last year. Moschofilero was a new grape to me and shows how amazing indigenous grape varieties can be from surprising places. Discovering new things is a big part of wine enjoyment and happily there are always new things to explore!
Kate’s choices: go-to Beaujolais and exciting Vouvray
Château d’Emeringes, Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes 2020
My palate is currently firmly planted in the fruit-driven lighter-bodied end of the spectrum when it comes to red wine, and I’m really looking forward to exploring the Beaujolais wine section of the List, in particular some of the lesser-known crus. For weekday drinking one of my go-to reds is the Château d’Emeringes with its rich red-fruit flavours from the old vines and smooth tannins, it’s all too easy to drink with or without food, which is why we often recommend this as a wine for events – a real crowd-pleasing red.
Vouvray Sec ‘Confidences’ Famille Bougrier 2020
Another region I have enjoyed discovering as part of my role is the Loire Valley, and whilst you can’t beat a cabernet franc / charcuterie combination, it’s the whites that have really excited me recently with their varying styles. One of my favourites is the Vouvray Sec ‘Confidences’ Famille Bougrier 2020 – a light, refreshing, mouthwatering dry chenin blanc which goes down well with a bowl of mussels! For a richer, fuller-bodied experience, the off-dry Vouvray ‘Spring’ Tania and Vincent Carême 2019 should also be on your list to try.
Allan’s choices: singing the praises of Spain and Soave
Finca Muñoz Colección de la Familia Tempranillo 2018
For me this wine is every bit like a modern Rioja but comes from hot and dry La Mancha instead. Rich and complex with ripe dark fruits, well-integrated coconut flavours from the oak and offers excellent value for money. Spain always delivers wonderful wines at competitive prices and is well worth exploring – beyond the well-known names and regions.
The Society’s Exhibition Soave 2020
I’m a huge fan of La Rocca, Pieropan’s famous single-vineyard Soave, but it has crept up in price in recent years. It is a wonderful perk of membership to be able to experience this baby brother example at less than half the price of its grand elder which comes partly from a vineyard that neighbours it. Fresh and zippy, but with a divine minerality and depth that allow for enjoyment with rich dishes like carbonara or risotto. Organic too!
Dave’s choices: two southern French gems, red and pink
Minervois La Livinière Cuvée Cantilène, Château Sainte Eulalie 2018
I’ve always been a lover of the wines of the classic wine regions in Australia. However, currently in terms of ‘bang for your buck’, I think South of France wines have now really picked up the mantle, particularly in the sweet spot of around £12-£15 a bottle. I know this wine has been on our List for some time so some members will already know it well, but if you haven’t discovered this gem, it’s well worth seeking out. It’s full-bodied and beautifully ripe with polished, sophisticated fruit and would actually cellar well too. We stock it in bigger bottles too, so it would be a fantastic bottle for a family do or larger gathering.
Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé, Château Vignelaure 2021
As it’s summer, I’m going to stay in the south of France but head over to Provence the spiritual home of stylish rosé wines. While I love Miravel, which behind all the Hollywood glitz and glamour is actually a very serious wine (as you’d expect with the Perrin family making the wine), I’m going to recommend this rosé from Château Vignelaure, one of the leading estates in the area. It’s a blend of cabernet sauvignon, grenache and syrah with some of the white grape rolle (or vermentino). As you’d expect from a wine with this pedigree, it’s sophisticated yet easy to drink and delicious with or without food.
To contact our Wine Specialist team, please give Member Services a call on 01438 741177, and select 2 from the options offered to you to come straight through to one of us.