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This beautifully captures the lemon and rose-petal bouquet of the moschofilero grape, with a twist of spice. With a fresh dry palate this is a natural with Greek-style mezedes or as an aperitif.
Product Code: GR1511
View all products by Semeli
This estate was launched by the Kokotos family in 1980, beginning with 7 hectares of vineyards in Attiki, outside Athens. Initially they planted just international varieties – namely cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay – but nearly 20 years later the family also invested in vineyards in Nemea, planting more indigenous varieties like moschofilero and roditis on well-drained slopes, 450 metres above sea level. The vineyards are now certified organic.The family also had ambitious plans for hilltop winery in Nemea, which were realised with investment from an old family friend and fellow Cretan, the chairman of the Bank of Piraeus. A new company was formed, alongside the family’s original venture, which took the name Semeli. The company has also acquired the Nassiakos winery in Mantinia.The result is an impressive, well-equipped facility, run by the talented winemaker Leonidas Nassiakos, with wines ageing in French and American oak in the underground cellars.Semeli now makes about 70,000 dozens a year, of which 70% is white. The red is 95% agiorghitiko, and the top wines come from the 15-hectare estate in Nemea.
The extremely ancient and proud history of winemaking in Greece goes back 6,500 years and the central part it has played, and does play, in Greek culture ought to have assured it of a place in the hearts and minds of modern wine drinkers. The fact that it has not yet done so is due to a complicated set of factors that involve history, language, geography and climate, not to mention economic woes, political upheaval and a lack of investment. The prosperous years, in winemaking terms, of the Byzantine Empire was followed by the rapacious regulation of trading Venetians and then the dead hand of the Ottoman Turks who, though they did not prevent the making of wine, taxed the end product heavily. Communication difficulties exacerbated the problems and wine production became a very fragmented and localised business. An international reputation, or even a national one, based on produce from well organised, demarcated and business-like regions with a reputation for fine wines never got off the ground in Greece as they did in, for example, Bordeaux or the Douro. Even though independence was won from the Ottomans in the 1820s, the ripples of the occupation were still felt into the 20th century.The Greek wine renaissance began in the 1970 by the Greek Shipowner Capt. John Carras, who set up his Estate in Chalkidiki, then the largest Estate in Europe. He employed Professor Emile Peynaud from Bordeaux University to advise and supervise the viticulture. The grapes originally planted were predominantly international grape varieties and his Chateau Carras (a Bordeaux blend) soon became famous and was listed at Harrods. The Hatzimichalis family followed swiftly with a very large Estate in Central Greece; again focusing on International grape varieties.In their wake many smaller producers started making good quality wines. In the 1990's French trained George Skouras continued the renaissance and made 'Megas Oinos' a red wine that focused on the indigenous agiorgitiko variety; this became an iconic wine in Greece. As the 'new breed' winemakers travelled and studied abroad they realised that Greece's 'treasure trove' of indigenous varieties are perfectly suited to the climate and terroir. By the beginning of the millenium there was a host of young, talented winemakers making wine from Greek grape varieties e.g. Leonidas Nasiakos with his moschofilero, Haridimos Hatzidakis with his Santorini assyrtiko and Apostolos Thymiopoulos with his 'New Age' xinomavro. More recently the second and third generation of Cretan winemakers such as Nikos Karavitakis and Maria Tamiolaki (Rhous Winery) have followed suit and are pioneering the Cretan indigenous grape varieties such as vidiano, vilana and kotsifali. The winemaking industry in Greece has become dynamic, adventurous and exciting and many smaller and niche winemakers have become very popular both in the domestic market and in the international scene.The climate of Greece is categorised as Mediterranean, and is one of the hotter European areas for wine production. The mountainous interior provides many opportunities to plant at altitude and therefore to ameliorate the effects of heat, but the effects of drought are harder to overcome in an EU region where irrigation is forbidden without a Brussels derogation. Ripeness is therefore rarely a problem except in certain, exceptional circumstances and sites, and the problem is more likely to be a lack of acidity. Harvests in July are not unknown. Soils are generally limestone based and impoverished except in areas close to the coast or certain valleys where more lucrative crops are planted on the fertile soils. On the islands, in particular the Cyclades, the soils are often volcanic. Santorini is a prime example, and these volcanic soils play a significant role in the character of the wines there. There is, of course, a mosaic of soils types in the entirety of Greece, from schist to sand, but limestone and volcanic soils tend to proliferate.As with most EU countries, Greece has developed an appellation system, based on the French model, to the extent of borrowing the terminology of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée on the label. Quality wines, as defined by the EU, are designated either OPE (Controlled Appellation of Origin) if sweet, or if dry as OPAP (Appellation of Superior Quality. If the words Réserve or Grand Réserve are used on a label they have the legal meaning of being aged for an extended period. The equivalent of a Vine de Pays system also operates under which a wider range of grape varieties may be used to make wine.Wine is made all over Greece, from the high country of Macedonia on the border with what was once Yugoslavia, to the arid island of Crete in the Mediterranean, a location that is closer to Libya and Egypt than to Macedonia. Native varieties are being planted and replanted despite the encroachment of several international varieties. Sweet wines like the famous muscats of Samos and Mavrodaphne of Patras have a long heritage and when made well are wonderful. And we must mention the famous, and sadly misunderstood, Retsina. Though it has a somewhat debased reputation there is a modern breed of winemakers like Tetramythos determined to make a more refined and delicate version that may yet convert any doubters.
"I have known Mantinia for at least twenty years, but in the past it has been difficult to find. I like to keep it in my racks as a favourite white wine to be drunk slightly chilled to accentuate its delightful floral fragrance. It is in my opinion the nicest of all Greek white wines and can hold its head high amongst those of the rest of Europe. Especially nice in the summer - just sit in the garden and enoy it by itself!!"
BBC Good Food Magazine 23rd May 2019
"A great aperitif and
unexpectedly delicious with savoury strawberry dishes."
"Refreshing ..dry but then hints of lychee. Reminded me a little of Gewurztraminer. Much enjoyed."
Mr Paul Hepplewhite (07-May-2019)
"The best value I have had since joining the society. I am no expert but I think this wine is undersold. For me it has the perfect combination of mouth-watering fruity freshness plus a bone dryness on the palate that makes it perfect with any delicate fish dish. At the time of writing this review it's gone out of stock (quel surprise) and I had to go elsewhere to order a case to replace the two bottles I bought to try it. I had to pay more than £10.50 but I would happily have paid more again. Can't wait for the 2018!"
Mr Terry McAuliffe (28-Apr-2019)
"Taking into account price vs quality, this is absolutely a five star wine. Very concentrated and floral on both nose and palate; jasmine, orange blossom, rosewater, even Bay leaf - all kicked into balance by pithy pink grapefruit and quince notes that provide depth and complexity. The bay also comes through on the palate - much like a Loueiro in that sense - which is very attractive as a counterpoint to the florality. Fabulous. Not for everyone, I'm sure, due to it's sheer multiplicity, but certainly a wine to be appreciated."
Miss Polly Wood (01-Apr-2019)
"A stand out hit among far more expensive wines at our local,wine club monthly meeting. Fruity dry and great value. A gem "
Mr Peter J H Devlin (17-Mar-2019)
"I haven't had any moschofilero for quite a few years and remember it as nothing particularly special. But this was good. Fruity but not sweet. Medium texture, not heavy but not light. "
Mr David Blake (04-Mar-2019)
"Very floral, a bit like a viognier / Gewürztraminer. Some pithy lemon, nice and dry, lick of acidity "
Mr James White (17-Jan-2019)
"What a gem of a white moschofilero wine. The floral bouquet is not overpowering mellowing to a dry refreshing taste. Excellent with relaxed informal mezze or antipasti. Intend to buy this one again. "
Mrs Julia Cornborough (23-Aug-2018)
"We really like this - have ordered 3 times now. Dry and refreshingly different. "
Mr John Turner (06-Jun-2018)
The Observer (29th Jul 2018)
"According to the
cutely named association of British Leafy Salad Growers, this has been quite
the summer for lettuce, rocket et al, with record-breaking sales of some 18m
lettuces a week – 40% higher than the equivalent peak-leafy-salad season this
time last year. What to drink with all this green freshness? That rather
depends on what other ingredients you’re adding to the bowl ... if you’re
simply mixing up peppery and crunchy leaves with olive oil and lemon juice, the
lightness and brightness of Seméli’s brisk, floral, melon and lemon-scented dry
white from the moschofilero grape works beautifully. - David Williams"
Daily Mail (23rd Jun 2018)
"I rarely find
top-notch Greek wines under the tenner mark but this one is a joy. Made from
the moschofilero grape, it’s loaded with exuberant fruit. - Matthew Jukes"
The Guardian (18th Jun 2018)
"Greece, you might be surprised to hear, makes some stunning whites – this one from the indigenous moschofilero grape. Perfect with fish grilled simply on the BBQ. - Fiona Beckett"
"Colour: Bright and fresh, pale golden yellow.
Aroma: Fragrant, floral, exotic fruits, lychee, pear, apricot, grapefruit, orange blossom and a hint of smoke or kerosene.
Taste: Dry, med- body, crisp, high acidity. Lemon, apricot, lychee flavours with a spiciness on a tangy good length finish. Well rounded.
Overall: So so nice, another very good Greek discovery. Fresh, crisp, light, minerally, great on its own. For the money a must try and highly recommend."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (25-Aug-2018)
"Lovely refreshing nose of limes and apples, with a touch of almond. And when its chilled back to 9c as recommended its great with fish.
But on its own as an aperitif its got a unripe tangy finish, particularly if the bottle gets to normal white wine temperatures when sitting on the table.."
Mr James Brown (29-Aug-2017)
Miss Claire Chapman (11-Aug-2017)
The Scotsman (20th Jan 2018)
"A wonderful dry
unoaked white from Zevgolatio in the eastern Peloponnese which scored highly in
our Greek tasting recently. Moschofilero is an aromatic grape with a floral
rose-garden bouquet which makes particularly crisp minerally whites grown at
high altitude on Mantinia plateau. Fresh with moderate alcohol. - Rose Murray Brown"
"Lovely, lemony nose and palate, really refreshing acid. Good quality wine, certainly recommended and a cut-above. Well done WS buyer"
Mr Martin J Whalley (28-May-2017)
"tried this after reading other positive reviews - certainly not disappointed. Rich and lemony - perfect for a warm spring evening. Would definitely have again."
Mr John Turner (24-May-2017)
"Star bright and a very pale lemon
Very delicate nose with hints of lemon and rose water
Soft entry, dry and with a long ripe lemon finish"
Mr David Chittleborough (19-Jan-2017)
"Everything you want in a an aperitif wine- pretty, fragrant and distinctive. Real finesse here"
Mr Dominic Kendrick (20-Oct-2016)
Mr Robert Hudson (12-Aug-2016)
"Wow! Fragrant! reminds me of an elderflower wine ( very good) long buried in my memory. Will probably have to re-order to make sure this wasn't just a dream or a one-off"
Mr Frederick Matthews (30-Jul-2016)
"Sensational. Literally. This is a feast for them. Wow. I got this in a mixed case I ordered hoping to be surprised. I was. Nectar for anyone who loves muscat or gewurztraminer. Heaven in a glass - or Turkish delight at least - and I'd never heard of it. Thank you The Wine Society."
Mr Andrew Park (03-Apr-2016)
Delicious! (1st Apr 2017)
"The crisp lemon and
tangerine flavours and hint of rosewater ... make it one for fish. - Susy Atkins"
Sunday Express (24th Jul 2016)
from moschofilero grapes grown at high altitude where it’s a bit cooler, this
has floral aromas of rose petals and attractive fresh lemony flavours. It’s
bracing, dry and food-friendly. - Jamie Goode
The Daily Telegraph (9th Jul 2016)
huge fan of this pretty Greek white, whose fragrance is like a lemon being
peeled in a rose garden at dawn. Even if summer never truly comes, this will
allow you to pretend.
- Victoria Moore
The Scotsman (28th May 2016)
buy: Smells like viognier with apricot and blossom aromas, but with a tighter
sleeker palate; very zippy acidity, refreshing with youthful bright fruits
made from high altitude grown grapes in central Peloponnese.
- Rose Murray Brown
The Guardian (21st May 2016)
example of [moschofilero] … delicate, pretty ...
The Mail on Sunday (1st May 2016)
as lilies and roses, this vivacious and lively white is an irresistible
- Olly Smith
thewinegang.com (21st Mar 2016)
"Greece's answer to a
delicate, dry Alsace Muscat – fragrant with rose petals, lime and fresh grapes
and captivatingly refreshing and pure on the palate. This is about as far away
as you can get from an oaked white wine, should you want to. 89/100"
The Independent (19th Mar 2016)
"A pot pourri
Peloponnese white. - Anthony Rose "
"It hits first of all with an almost sherbet-y citrus zing, then calms down into a floral delight of a wine. Went very well with some fragrant Thai food, and will gladly pair the two up again.
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (09-May-2016)
"Dry roses and tangerine finishing of a slight saline, tea, cinnamon note. This wine doesn't push all the buttons on the taste buds like a big Chardonnay or Sav blanc, think more pastel shades. Although this wine is gentle, the slight astringency does lend itself more towards a food wine than an aperitif for me but choose flavours carefully as the onion bhajis I had with it overpowered. Good stuff."
Mr Anthony O'Halloran (28-Nov-2015)
"Delightful. Aromatic, lively and bone dry. A real find."
Mr Colman Stephenson (24-Jul-2015)
Farnham Herald (11th Mar 2016)
accentuates a citrus quality, lime and lychee tastes were noted."
JancisRobinson.com (28th Oct 2015)
"Pale straw. Powerful
muscat aroma that reminds rather of torrontés. But it’s much fresher and
lighter. Lightly astringent with masses of citrus energy. A very pure
moschofilero. Wonderful for the alcohol level. 16.5/20 Jancis Robinson"
The Mail on Sunday (26th Jul 2015)
fragrance, this quenching burst of exuberance is utterly lovely. - Olly Smith"
The Daily Telegraph (28th Jun 2015)
"Oh but this is
pretty. Lightly textured, tasting of roses and lemon grass, made on the
Peloponnese from moschofilero grapes. - Victoria Moore"
Decanter (24th Jun 2015)
from high-elevation vineyards in Mantinia, in the eastern Peloponnese. It was a
wise airport purchase as I was leaving Athens: smooth, green apple and white
peach aromatics and flavours, a medium-bodied smooth palate, with a pleasant lift
on the finish. - Panos Kakaviatos"
howtodrink.co.uk (22nd May 2015)
"A glorious summery
white that smells of roses and lemongrass. Made in the Peloponnese from an indigenous
grape with a pretty blush-coloured skin, called moschofilero which you will not
find anywhere else. According to the winemaker who by chance I bumped into on
Wednesday moschofilero means 'lovely aroma' (moscho) grape 'filero.' Our
Wednesday evening Summer Holiday guests really fell in love with this one -
"It's so good to find a refreshing white that's a bit different."
Anna (The Culinary Anthropologist) made her famous strawberry, balsamic and
onion focaccia to go with it and the combination was sublime, bringing out the
heady rose and strawberry fragrance in wine and food. The winemaker told me he
likes to drink this with grilled fish, or seafood. - Victoria Moore"
The Daily Telegraph (2nd May 2015)
"Fragrant blossom and
lemon verbena – white wine bliss. A friend was pouring this at his birthday
party recently. There was a hot tub. There was an outdoor grill and lamb wraps.
It poured down but still it felt as if summer had started. Try this with lamb
with yogurt. Yes, you can drink white wine with lamb, especially with a
yogurty, herby sauce. - Victoria Moore"
Sunday Express (22nd Mar 2015)
"Made from the moschofilero grape variety, which is
grown at altitude, this Greek white is just superb. It has fresh, ripe melon
and pear fruit with notes of rose petals and lychees, as well as a slight
saltiness. - Jamie Goode"
wineanorak.com (13th Mar 2015)
"I really liked this
Greek white... It has personality and character, but it’s also really well
made. Really stylish, exotic dry white with fresh melon and pear fruit nose.
Lovely texture on the palate, showing grapes, lychee, rose petals and a slight
saltiness. So fresh and pure, and yet with an exotic side, too. 91/10 - Jamie Goode"
"Just drank the 2011 which I had laid down for a bit. Nice, aromatic wine and good value. The 2011 is slightly lower in alcohol which I think is preferential in this style of wine. I think that if you like the dry wines of the Alsace and Portugal (which I do), you would probably like this."
Mr Mark Jones (09-Mar-2014)
"Our experience of this is a lot more positive than the previous reviewer. An excellent example of Moschofilero, a wine less known here than it deserves. Delicious with a simple spanakopita or omelette and greek salad for lunch, or on its own with a few black olives, or even kourabiedes if you like something sweet! Agreed it's a waste to glug it, but even if everyone only sips I find this disappears fast enough. Hope you will go on listing wines from the beautiful Semeli estate.
Mr Patrick Howell (11-Feb-2014)
"I found this not to my taste. There is a flinty spiciness and some body. Sippable rather than gluggable and probably would work OK with clean but slightly rich flavours. I cannot see it complementing Fish Soup but Greek Salad yes. Is it worth the price? Maybe."
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We do moderate comments and reviews, purely to ensure that content published on The Wine Society's website is of value to members, and is fair and balanced. We're delighted to say that in the vast, vast majority of cases, our members' input is just that! We will normally approve comments for publication as long as they:
If a review or comment does not meet the rules above, then we may remove it from the site, and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Where we choose not to publish a rating, comment or review for a reason other than those listed here, we will reply to the member concerned by e-mail explaining our reasons and inviting them to make appropriate changes so that their input can be reconsidered. We also reserve the right not to publish reviews that mention other wine merchants and competitors.
Your review and your name will be displayed on our website. We may wish to use your comments and ratings in our literature or elsewhere online. Unless you specify otherwise, you are therefore agreeing in posting your comments that The Society has the right to use, edit, publish in any media, delete and/or store the whole or any part or parts of that post, and may quote you by name, without charge and without reference to you or anyone else.
The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
It is generally accepted that alcohol levels in wine have been increasing in the last 20 years. There are many reasons why, but the single most important factor is the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most are intrusive and strip flavour as well as alcohol and we don't buy wines made in this way. In actual fact, more than half of our still table wines have an abv of 13% or less. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.
The Society is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows them to make their own informed choices. An additional figure is beginning to be used on labels: the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content. Thus a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units of alcohol. All new labels of Society and Exhibition wines will include this information. drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork. As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years. Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
If the product page says:
...then our advice would be:
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Ready to drink now but will keep until the year shown.
We recommend keeping longer before opening. For example, a wine will be ready to drink in 2020 but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.