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Great-value off-dry, full-flavoured German riesling from the heart of the Pfalz. Gentle with a touch of honey and a twist of lime.
Product Code: GE11501
View all products by Ruppertsberger Winzerverein
The Ruppertsberg cooperative, brilliantly managed by wine-maker Gerhard Brauer, is situated in the heart of the Pfalz's best vineyard. Because of their success, they have recently taken over two neighbouring coops at Königsbach and Meckenheim, so they now control 450 hectares, planted 40% with riesling and 40% red grapes, chiefly dornfelder. The Society buys only their best wines which comes from their original holdings in Ruppertsberg, including their top site Hoheburg.
The vineyards of Forst were once the most valuable agricultural land in Germany, and today the four villages of Forst, Deidesheim, Wachenheim and Ruppertsberg have outstanding potential, being fully realised again after a disappointing patch in the 1980s when the vineyards were being reorganised. Full, spicy, essentially dry wines.Germany has suffered something of an image crisis in recent decades when its fame for quality wines that at one time rivalled the first growths of Bordeaux in price was diluted by a sea of cheaper white wines from undistinguished vineyards, often made by undistinguished co-operatives. However, the high-quality wines were always there, made by conscientious and often brilliant winemakers from very specific sites of historical repute. There is a history of winemaking in Germany dating back to the 1st century BC and throughout the years of the Roman Empire when popular Rhenish wines were exported to Britain. Today, though there are still many mass produced wines, Germany has seen something of a revival, sometimes called the ‘Riesling Renaissance’, and produces more great wines than ever in a wider range of styles, often drier and increasingly red. A new generation of winemakers has arisen who have learned new ideas, often having spent time overseas making wine. In this they have been aided by the warming effects of climate change, giving them consistently ripe grapes to work with, and an increasing pride in German wines within the country itself.Germany possesses 13 wine-producing areas, called anbaugebiete. These are sub-divided into districts called bereich and within these bereichs are communes, clusters of neighbouring vineyards called grosslage, and named vineyard sites or einzellage that have proved themselves over the centuries to be the places where the elements of terroir all come together in an essential harmony. The majority of these anbaugebieten are in the south and south-west of the country and often along river valleys, with the most famous clustered along the Rhine and in the valleys of the rivers Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. It is in these latter two areas that Germany’s most prestigious einzellage reside and from whence come the most famous wines. The rivers have a moderating effect on temperatures, helping to keep them up when it is cold and lowering them a little when it is hot. Steep slopes and the soils found on them can have an effect on the ripening of the grapes by providing propitious aspects and by acting as storage heaters and reflectors of sunlight respectively.The German wine regions enjoy a continental climate of cold winters and warm summers, with the additional benefit of long, warm autumns allowing grapes to mature fully in the more northerly latitudes. Soils vary greatly from region to region with the weathered slate of the best Mosel-Saar-Ruwer vineyards being the most famous.German wine law, while perfectly logical on one level and created to protect the interests of growers, is not always clear and user-friendly for the consumer unfamiliar with it. While geography and grape varieties are governed the distinguishing feature of German wine law is the central role that the sugar level of grapes at harvest plays, expressed in degrees Oechsle. It is the main factor in determining the classification of the wine. The riper the grapes the higher the degrees Oechsle and potentially the higher the classification no matter the location or reputation of the vineyard. Incidentally, this needn’t always translate into sweetness in the finished wine as a must high in sugar may still be fermented to dryness. The levels of classification, above the most basic Wein and Geschützte Geographische Angabe (equivalent of vin de table and vin de pays respectively) are as follows: Geschützte Urspungsbezeichnung, previously Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) – meaning Protected Designation of Origin.Qualitätswein – a chaptalized wine, one to which sugar has been added before fermentation to increase its alcoholic strength, from a named grape variety. The wine is tested for quality.Kabinett – naturally dry or off-dry (ie unchaptalised) with a distinctive character. Usually lightest of the quality levels but can still be very high-quality.Spätlese – Spät means late and lese means harvest. Sweeter and fuller-bodied than kabinett due to later harvesting or a particularly beneficial site leading to higher sugar levels, though the wines are sometimes fermented to dryness.Auslese – Translates as ‘selected harvest’. This level has higher sugar levels at harvest than spätlese’ and may be made from selected bunches of particular ripeness that may have been affected by botrytis or noble rot (known in Germany as edelfaule).Beerenauslese – Beeren is berries in German so wines at this level are usually made from individually selected berries probably affected by edelfaule. They are luscious sweet wines.Trocken beerenauslese – Trocken translates as dry. This refers to the shrivelled nature of the berries, affected by botrytis until there is little juice remaining in the grape. They are only made in great vintages and have very high levels of sugar balanced by high acidity. They are mouth-coating, rich wines of great concentration, rare and expensive.For a fuller description of Germany and its wines and wine regions please see our How To Buy German Wines page on our website.German wine law German wine legislation has done its best to make things complicated. Logical in their way, and designed to be democratically fair to winegrowers, the rules lack a common-sense awareness of what wine drinkers want to know. The four most important pieces of information on a German wine label are the name of the grower, the origin of the grape variety, the vineyard and an indication of whether the wine is dry or sweet. The recent move to simplify estate names and origin of the grapes and to remove Gothic script, which made names unreadable and hard to pronounce for linguistically challenged Brits, is welcome.Germany has a continental climate and this far north it is close to the limit for ripening grapes. Consequently early-ripening varieties are the most successful with riesling chief among them. Though the latitude is not helpful, and rain can come throughout the growing season, the presence of the rivers and the shelter of the valleys ameliorate the effects of cold and heat when it comes. Autumns are often warm and long, providing the conditions for ripening and often allowing vines to hang on the vines well into the colder winter months to be made into sweeter styles.LabellingGerman wine legislation has done its best to make things complicated. Logical in their way, and designed to be democratically fair to winegrowers, the rules lack a common-sense awareness of what wine drinkers want to know. The four most important pieces of information on a German wine label are the name of the grower, the origin of the grape variety, the vineyard and an indication of whether the wine is dry or sweet.The recent move to simplify estate names and origin of the grapes and to remove Gothic script, which made names unreadable and hard to pronounce for linguistically challenged Brits, is welcome. The German home market, which buys most German wine, prefers wines that are totally dry to go with food. A high percentage of the wine that most estates produce is therefore dry. The only grape variety for which this does not necessarily always work well is the one that makes Germany’s greatest wines: riesling. The natural balance of wine made from riesling is often made complete by the retention of natural sweetness. The bouquet is enhanced, the wines keep better, and the alcohol level (because not all the grape sugar is fermented out) is lower, which suits the style of the grape.German wine laws classify the quality of a wine according to the degree of sugar the crushed grapes contain, but this is a pretty unhelpful guide. A wine may be called Spätlese (literally ‘late-picked’ but in reality, not necessarily so) if the minimum must weight (also Oechsle) is about 80° (a potential alcohol of 10%). But Spätlese wines are often made from grapes with higher must weight than this, and can be fermented out dry to 10% alcohol, or left with some sweetness at 8.5%. Auslese (literally ‘a selective picking’) has a minimum must weight of about 90° Oechsle with a potential alcohol of 12% if the wine is dry, although in this country we are more used to Auslese being sweet, and around 8% alcohol.Remember, however, that a German wine with a sweetness of 4 or 5 (medium dry to medium sweet) will be delicious as an aperitif and with food, because the natural sweetness is always balanced by fruit acidity. Think of a perfect British-grown ripe Cox or Ribston apple.Many other grapes are grown in Germany successfully, particularly in the warmer more southerly vineyards, and there are increasingly fine pinot noir wines from the Ahr valley, but they produce wines that can be equalled and usually bettered in other parts of the world. Riesling, of course, is successfully grown elsewhere, but nowhere does it produce such delicate, multifaceted results as it does in Germany’s great vineyards. Reds are increasingly made and some 40% of Germany’s total vineyard area is planted with red varieties.
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"A quiet nose, but the palate is full and rich, that wonderful oily Riesling style. Some hints of apple, perhaps, but very much dessert rather than Granny Smiths. 7.5/10 "
Mr Owen Edwards (05-Dec-2018)
"A muted nose with maybe a hint of something pleasantly chemical. The palate is proudly acidic with fresh grapes and some mineral freshness – just a hint of streambed. The finish is long and refreshing. A nice surprise. 7/10"
Light candied citrus (lemons & limes) with a soft, honey backbone"
Mr Alex Downham (18-Jul-2018)
"Fine table Riesling. Off-dry as described, lightly citrus flavour, nothing wrong with it. 4 stars for value, more ordered; it'll be the default choice for spicy food pairing."
Mr Barry Kelly (08-May-2018)
"This wine is exactly what it ought to be: a low-priced, characteristic, off-dry riesling. It has everything you look for in a wine of its style: pleasant spritz, refreshing acidity, sweetness surprising to those used to dry wines, but delicious nonetheless. I had it with roast pork and mustard sauce, and the pairing was terrific: one of those fantastic combinations that improves both the wine and the food. Obviously, it's not an exquisite bottle, nor dramatically complex: but the five star rating reflects that it is a perfectly judged, affordable, everyday riesling."
Mr Maximilian Yuen (24-Mar-2018)
"Really enjoyed this with a homemade lamb rogan josh. It's a joy to find that it's only 10.5%. Surprised to read that others haven't been so excited by it. Buying another bottle now, and will pay attention to whether criticisms are justified. Maybe there is bottle variation?"
Mrs Nicola Hill (03-Mar-2018)
"Seriously less good than the 2015. The comment about "spritz" is also apt."
Mr Peter Crampin (28-Aug-2017)
"Colour: Bright, pale straw yellow.
Aroma: Fragrant and floral with aromas of ripe bruised apple and pear.
Taste: Off-dry, rich, medium-bodied with just enough acidity. Lots of ripe tree fruit flavours with a good length finish.
Overall: Not normally a big fan of the off-dry style of wine but this was very pleasant. Refreshing, lots of flavour and aromas and enjoyed it on its own. Good value and I would definitely buy it again."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (14-Aug-2017)
"Honey and pear definitely come through but...way too sweet. Overall effect is flat and almost cloying quite difficult to finish,"
Miss Aysuria Chang (08-Jul-2017)
"I'm not normally a big fan of German wines but this may convert me! Deliciously light and fruity reminiscent of apples and pears. I will have to buy more."
Mr Ray Mount (06-Jul-2017)
"2015 Vintage. I agree with latest posts - will do well with a lightly spiced food and is a little less sweet than the WS Alsace Gewurtz I buy and some people would prefer a less sweet wine. But as it is a Pfalz wine it is flabby. Do not expect much from it. You can tell it is Riesling from the petrolly nose (which is light enough to be more attractive for those less used to the smell of Riesling) but you need to spend another £5 to get a proper crisp Riesling Kabinett. Good German wine is so expensive now relative to other European wines of similar status. For the price, this is a very enjoyable low alcohol off dry Riesling served chilled for a summers evening."
Mr Bernard J Barton (23-Jun-2017)
"This is nice ......but its full of spritz, if I wanted a sparkling wine I would have ordered one. If it should be sparkling then it should say if its not its bad wine making. I don't think shaking the bottle to remove the 'gas' adds pleasure it just says to me........ tell me it has spritz or put it in sparkling.
Its good but .........not what I wanted or expected."
Mr Philip J Marshall (22-Jun-2017)
"This is delicious. I bought a couple of bottles after reading that it was good with spicy food in the news sheet. We had it with a stir fry last night and are having it again tonight. The honey flavour really comes through, far too drinkable and excellent with Chinese food. I'll be buying more of it. I normally like gewurtz with spicy food but this goes just as well, as does The Society's Gruner Veltliner, which I'll also be buying more of."
Dr Angela Dixon (04-Jun-2017)
"Great value, although not quite up to the quality of the 2015. A go to wine for sweet and sour dishes."
Mr Nick Foster (17-Apr-2017)
100 AWEsome Wines (1st Mar 2018)
"This is a fabulous
example of a German Riesling Kabinett wine, that proves very popular at wine
tastings. It is off dry and refreshing with lovely fresh acidity. Lime and green
apple, with a little honey, and only 11% alcohol. Try with Thai or any spicy
food. - Rob Price"
Tamworth Journal (24th Jul 2017)
"This is an excellent
value German rielsing from the Pfalz region. Off dry, refreshing, wonderfully
easy to quaff, cores very highly in my tasting events. Try with spicy food. - Rob Price"
Birmingham Living (28th Apr 2017)
"Brilliant value for
money … Lime and pear, lots of flavour and with a little honey. Very easy to
drink, and only 11 per cent abv alcohol. Perfect for lighter, warmer evenings. - Rob Price"
"A crisp and fruity typically German wine, excellent ordering some more!"
Mr Martin Reeves (10-Feb-2017)
"Superb value. I am already a repeat buyer."
Mr Ben Curry (20-Jan-2017)
"A gorgeous wine, treading a balance between sweet and dry that went very well with North Indian food. Not usually convinced by many Rieslings, but this one won over the household.
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (29-Dec-2016)
"This is pretty much one of my favourite wines.. excellent value and very drinkable. You cannot go wrong."
Mr Ralph Simpson (24-Dec-2016)
"I do not claim to be an expert on Riesling wine but this strikes me as a very good example of its kind and it is exceptional value."
Neil Butter Esq (09-Oct-2016)
"Superb value for money, just off dry and well balanced. Tropical fruit flavours and the classic interplay between sweet and sour. As a fan of German Riesling its great to find something that ticks the right boxes at such a low price."
Mr Nick Foster (03-Oct-2016)
"This wine gets nearly full marks as it's a joy to drink every time I have it. My "go to" Riesling."
Mr Tomas Bexton (23-Aug-2016)
Prof Anthony Pinching (12-Aug-2016)
"For the money, this is a fantastic weekday quaffing Riesling. Good vineyard in the Pfalz. More body than Mosel/Rheingau/Rheinhessen. Emphasis on fruit rather than minerality. Many repeat orders."
Dr Andrew Rawnsley (12-Aug-2016)
"Fantastic value for money. Tropical fruit. Yes, 3 out of 9 probably sums up the sweetness. Loved it."
Mr Edgar Bettridge (15-Jun-2016)
Birmingham Living (1st Oct 2016)
"Remember the days of
cheap German wine? Well this example is still very inexpensive but there the
similarity ends as [this] is a fantastic off dry German Kabinett Riesling.
Surprises everyone who tastes it. And only £6.50. - Rob Price"
The Scotsman (18th Jun 2016)
"Star bargain buy:
Hugely popular with our tasters who loved its ‘tutti-frutti sweetness’, ‘apricot
and honey notes’, ‘ripe citric fruits’, ‘medium dry palate, but still really
refreshing’- a brilliant bargain buy from the Ruppertsberg co-operative’s
original Hoheburg vineyard. Shows the quality of 2015 vintage. A
wonderful lunch wine with salmon terrine. - Rose Murray Brown"
"Lovely nose and lots of honeyed sweetness on the palate. A slightly off-putting toffee/caramel aftertaste at first but this faded after some air. Hard to complain too much at this price but not sure I'd buy again."
Mr Matthew Huntingford (16-Aug-2016)
"A passable Kabinett Riesling, fairly good value, lacking the complexity and the apple of Mosel Kabinetts (e.g. von Kesselstatt), but a good buy at £6.95/bottle. It would have been a perfect vin de table at £3.67/bottle if we didn't have to pay excise duty on wine. Recommend with a roast pork loin or leg."
Mr Domen Presern (24-May-2015)
"Fruity and fragrant. Very good value. Hint of lemon and everything you would expect from a Riesling. Very happy."
Mr Harry Gladstone (22-Feb-2015)
"Very drinkable wine, off dry giving it a nice bit of fruit with a touch of sweetness."
Mr David Mitchell (02-Jan-2015)
"Just back from a wine trip to Germany and France (including Montreuil where we watched an outstanding Son et Lumière performance of Les Miserables) . Sampled and bought this wine at the Ruppertsberger Winzerverien. I was oenologically weaned on good German Rieslings and judged this wine so flavourful that it is best enjoyed without food and it confirms my view that you don’t have to spend a fortune to obtain real pleasure from wine.
Your review of this wine is absolutely spot-on Mr Brown"
Mr Bill George (31-Jul-2014)
"If you're looking for a cheap, yet refreshing, fruity Kabinett with a touch of sweetness, crisp acidity and ripe berries... look no further! Great value."
Mr Matt Brown (16-May-2014)
Tamworth Journal (1st Jun 2015)
"This one is a
delight. It always wines the favourite wine of the evening when tasted at my
wine tasting events. [It] is slightly off-dry, and at only 10.5 per cent abv,
extremely fresh and very vibrant. Excellent harvest conditions meant that
Riesling was picked at perfect ripeness and this wine shows lovely fragrant
fruit and flavour. The Wine Society sell for just £6.95, which is an absolute
bargain. - Rob Price"
The Times (16th May 2015)
are richer and fruitier [than trocken], more peach and apricot in style. The
good ones have a grapey, grapefruit zest charm too, like [this wine] and work
well with especially hot, spicy dishes.-Jane MacQuitty"
The Mail on Sunday (24th Aug 2014)
"Lemon & lime with
an off-dry squeeze of richer flair. Top value for sipping in the sun. - Olly Smith"
"Just finishing my first bottle of this, and I can only agree with the first writer. An excellent wine, and an absolute bargain. Off dry, and refreshingly low in alcohol, this is a simple, but moreish. I will be buying more in future."
Mr Matthew Huntingford (23-Feb-2014)
"This is brilliant, beautiful wine and an absolute bargain. It has perfect balance between soft fruit flavours and gentle acidity making it a great aperitif but also good with salads and oily fish. The drier style German wines that the WS have uncovered are a revelation and really deserve serious attention."
Mr Mark Jones (20-Nov-2013)
"I think Mr Dettmer has summed this wine up perfectly; its just simply a joy to drink. Even at this price it reminds you that German Riesling is incomparable and totally unique. I shall be getting the new vintage."
Mr Tomas Bexton (13-Aug-2013)
"Don't know much about German wines - beyond a general suspicion that anything worth drinking is likely to be prohibitively expensive, but this is a revelation. It seems amazing that anything can manage to be both agreeably dry and pleasingly sweet. It's just a delight. Food matching is a bit of a challenge, although it went pretty well with a Spanish omelette and salmon. Can't wait for the Summer and the chance to try it with a fresh pea risotto. With the sweetness of the peas and the tang of a few parmesan shavings it should be perfect."
Mr Roger Dettmer (26-Jan-2013)
"This is absolutely amazing value for money. A classic, off-dry Riesling with an abundance of fruit that would go well with food or on its own. A good example of the class available from Germany at a reasonable cost."
"German wines aren't our bag but we strive ever to expand our tastes. Takes a while to open out. Slight petillance. Pretty sweet (depends where you start from). Then incredible value for money, especially as from Germany. Surely excellent with ham/pork dishes, maybe also some chicken. We had it with squid when it wasn't ideal but was reasonably compatible."
Mr John L Moles (02-Nov-2012)
"Not sure it's dry - more off dry to my taste - but this is great stuff. Rich, a lick of honey, yet wonderfully drinkable and nicely light on the ABV scale too. Super value for the price."
Ms Katy Benson (02-Aug-2012)
The Independent on Sunday (12th May 2013)
"This dry, fruity and deceptively full-bodied riesling from a Pfalz vineyard has an ABV of 10.5 per cent, ensuring that a couple of glasses with a good piece of grilled fish or a pan-fried chicken breast will not give you a headache the next morning. - Terry Kirby"
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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).
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
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.