Recent Reviews

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AU21321 AU21321 Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale Church Block 2016

Wine as comfort blanket? As a general rule, I’m not sure my GP would like the sound of that. But at this time of national meltdown, they might just let it go without too much of a ticking-off about self-medication. They may even be curious to know what I thought the most comforting wines might be. You know, just in case. ‘Asking for a friend.’ I’d tell them my own go-to wine at times of stress is a red blend that has, over the years, never let me down. A wine that has been made from the same patch of cabernet, shiraz and merlot vines near an old church yard in the town of Bethany in the McLaren Vale in South Australia since 1972, but which, in this vintage, is as succulently dark fruited, suavely textured and deeply soothing as ever. - David WIlliams

( The Observer 8th Sep 2019 )

IT27231 IT27231 Zibibbo Sicilia, Ottoventi 2018

Zibibbo is the local name for the muscat grape variety, which makes fruity whites that taste of fresh table grapes. This is dry, fruity and superb for the end of summertime drinking. - Jamie Goode

( Sunday Express 8th Sep 2019 )

IT27291 IT27291 Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, Contesa 2018

The best full-bodied autumnal wines for chillier nights: Rosé? No need to call time for that yet, but I’d like to switch into a darker and more substantial pink wine. [This] richly coloured [wine] is perfect here and I saw when I logged on to the Wine Society website to check the price that someone else had had the same idea: “Think of this cherry-pink charmer not as the last rosé of the summer but as the first of autumn.” Exactly. Try it with roast cauliflower and butternut squash flavoured with thyme and shavings of pecorino. - Victoria Moore

( The Daily Telegraph 7th Sep 2019 )

PW7521 PW7521 Anselmo Mendes Contacto Alvarinho, Vinho Verde 2018

Anselmo Mendes’s sparky 2018 Contacto Vinho Verde closes on an arresting salt-lick finish and gets my vote. - Jane MacQuitty

( The Times 7th Sep 2019 )

RH51301 RH51301 Ventoux Les Traverses, Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2017

Ventoux lies east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is a great place to look for good-value reds like this one. A classic Rhône blend, based on grenache with some syrah, it has clarity and warmth, all white pepper, and juicy fruits. - Victoria Moore

( The Daily Telegraph 7th Sep 2019 )

RH53591 RH53591 Viognier Grès du Trias, Coteaux de l'Ardèche, Vignerons Ardéchois 2018

The best full-bodied autumnal wines for chillier nights: Another excellent viognier ... This is a more serious (ponderous, even, or somnolent) viognier: structured, with quite a weight of alcohol holding it together, and with more savoury, cologne-style florals and a flavour of peach and apricot skin. Less easy to drink than [some], but appealing to a different constituency. - Victoria Moore

( The Daily Telegraph 7th Sep 2019 )

SA13581 SA13581 The Society's Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch 2018

Star buy: Brilliant value chenin blanc made by the Grier family at Villiera winery - from old (some over 30 years) bush vines. Our tasters loved its zesty, succulent citric fruit, laser-like precision and freshness. - Rose Murray Brown

( The Scotsman 7th Sep 2019 )

FC35481 FC35481 Fitou, Domaine Jones 2016

Katie Jones moved to France from Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, more than ten years ago and bought a tiny old vineyard in Languedoc. It turns out the vines produce fabulous wines and now she’s making a whole range. Fitou is a favourite. Food pairing: barbecued lamb. - Helen McGinn

( Daily Mail 5th Sep 2019 )

FC35481 FC35481 Fitou, Domaine Jones 2016

Have you met Ms Jones? Katie bought a tiny vineyard in the Languedoc full of old vines about ten years ago and now makes some fabulous wines, including this one. Rich and dense, this tastes like squashed blackberries doused in allspice. Also: lashings of alcohol. Just what we need now there’s a bite in the air. - Helen McGinn

( Knackered Mothers Wine Club 5th Sep 2019 )

IT26181 IT26181 Orvieto Classico Superiore Muffa Nobile 'Calcaia', Barberani 2015 50cl

A rarity - a sweet, botrytis-affected Orvieto, deep gold in colour, with great freshness, as well as restrained richness. - Harry Eyres

( Country Life 4th Sep 2019 )

SP10941 SP10941 Pazo Señorans Selección de Añada Albariño, Rías Baixas 2007

[Albariño's] considerable ageing potential is demonstrated by [this wine] ... green-gold in colour, unfurling a full and complex peaches-and-honey aroma, then exceptional depth and complexity on the palate. - Harry Eyres

( Country Life 4th Sep 2019 )

SP14251 SP14251 Bohórquez, Ribera del Duero 2009

Must-try red: This boutique estate sits at a lofty 900m next door to Pesquera, one of the region's most famous names. It has a beguiling cherry liqueur-like nose and a seductively smooth palate of dark berries, blood plums and meaty, earthy tones plus menthol, cedar and cigar box spice from 14 months in French and American oak. Elegant, stylish and drinking beautifully now at a decade old, but can age a few more years yet. A real find! - Tina Gellie

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

NZ11061 NZ11061 Zephyr 6 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

This has all the classic flavours of passionfruit, pineapple, green mango, ripe melon and pink grapefruit, but winemaker Ben Glover has made it in a softer, more gentle style - not slapping you around the chops like many Kiwi sauvignons do. A moreish wine with a sweet mandarin finish. - Tina Gellie

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

IT26901 IT26901 Langhe Nebbiolo A Mont, Paolo Conterno 2016

From one of Monforte d'Alba's leading producers, this is a red Burgundy lover's nebbiolo: delicate with gentle tannins, firm acidity and bright, lifted red cherry and fragrant violet characters with a hint of rustic brambles on the long stylish palate. - Tina Gellie

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

FC36511 FC36511 Domaine Alzipratu Fiumeseccu Rosé, Ile de Beauté 2018

Sciaccarello is one of Corsica's native grapes, here blended with grenache for this tasty rosé, made in the foothills of the 2,000m Monte Grosso. A gentle but forward palate of ripe stone fruit, redcurrant and melon plus white pepper. One for barbecued fish. - Tina Gellie

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

BU69561 BU69561 Domaine de la Rochette, Mâcon-Bussières Mont Sard 2017

Must-try white: This is just delicious, displaying the quality of a white Burgundy twice the price. Complex and weighty yet graceful, with fine concentration from 1.5ha of vines mainly 70 years old, managed by Frédéric Burrier since 2017. Gentle yet focused savoury palate of ripe yellow apples, peach fuzz and nougat with a fresh seam of acidity and a light touch of oak spice. A charmer! - Tina Gellie

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

CE10161 CE10161 Matetic Corralillo San Antonio Gewürztraminer 2018

Highly recommended: Honeysuckle and peach on the nose, with tones of spices and herbs. Very nicely textured floral fruit quality with a freshness and energy. - Panel tasting

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

AR3601 AR3601 Teho Tomal Vineyard La Consulta Malbec 2014

This stunning blend of mostly malbec with 10% of field-blended red and white grapes is poised and effortlessly complex, displaying perfumed black fruits, subtle oak and clove spice from 45% whole bunches. - Tim Atkin MW

( Decanter 3rd Sep 2019 )

PW7531 PW7531 Esporão Monte Velho Tinto, Alentejano 2018

Australian David Baverstock has been in charge of winemaking at the consistently impressive Esporão since the early 1990s, and his skill (working with Sandra Alves) is apparent in the remarkable bargain that is the suave but generous Esporão Monte Velho Tinto. - David WIlliams

( The Observer 1st Sep 2019 )

PW7241 PW7241 Mouchão, Alentejo 2013

Although much of what is exciting about the Alentejo is new, there is plenty of tradition in the region, too. Perhaps the single finest wine in the Alentejo, for example, is the work of an estate that began making wines in the early 20th century, and which had its first vintage in the early 1950s. It’s a hymn to the undervalued virtues of alicante bouschet, a red-fleshed grape variety (most red grapes have white flesh) with roots in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon that is generally a colour-giving ‘makeweight’ in blends. Mouchão, particularly in its eponymous top-of-the-range red, takes things to a whole other level, adding a bit of the local trincadeira for a wine of formidable dark depths and spicy complexity that can age for decades. - David Williams

( The Observer 1st Sep 2019 )

BG331 BG331 Young & Wild Broadleaf Melnik, Villa Melnik 2018

Here is a full red wine, offering cherry and bramble flavours and a hint of petillance. One thing I liked about the three bottles that I bought of this was that they were all slightly different from each other, sometimes nudging towards pinot noir, sometimes more similar to Loire reds.  Young and wild indeed and it went down well with a crowd at a barbecue back in early August. - Shôn WIlliams

( Barn Magazine 1st Sep 2019 )

BG351 BG351 Bulgarian Heritage Dimyat Orange Wine, Via Vinera 2018

Bulgaria isn’t the first place I’d look for [orange] wines but The Wine Society has discovered an example at less than a tenner. [This] offers freshness on the palate without a trace of those sherry-like tastes that usually plague the world of orange wine, and a depth that’s unexpected in a bread-and-butter grape like dimyat.  In other words, excellent introduction for those who’d like to try orange wine, and at a very reasonable price. - Shôn Williams, Barn Magazine

( 1st Sep 2019 )

BU63691 BU63691 Jacques Saumaize, Saint-Véran Poncetys 2015

… full and rich, and little toasty and with lashings of butter, very delicious.- Rob Price

( Birmingham Living 1st Sep 2019 )

RH53581 RH53581 Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, Guigal 2016

I never tire of Guigal's classic red Côtes-du-Rhône. By using a higher than usual percentage of syrah in the blend, this producer makes a full-bodied, smooth, balanced style which benefits from extended barrel ageing to mellow the flavours and soften the texture. With ripe bramble fruit and piquant spices, this is simply delicious. - Richard Hemming MW

( Living France Magazine 1st Sep 2019 )

MD161 MD161 Viorica, Chateau Vartely 2018

… offers aromas of wild flowers and stone fruit reminiscent of Alsace, and flavours that frolic on the palate. Truly, a splendid bottle to accompany bright sunshine and Carwyn Ellis’ samba album. - Shôn WIlliams

( Barn Magazine 1st Sep 2019 )

AU21321 AU21321 Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale Church Block 2016

Ripe and sweetly fruited with a slightly minty, fresh edge to the red berry fruits, this wine has a twist of blackcurrant, too. It is supple and drinkable with some brightness as well as rich fruit. - Jamie Goode

( Sunday Express 1st Sep 2019 )

CB5181A CB5181A Château Pey La Tour Réserve, Bordeaux Supérieur 2016

A classic Bordeaux blend of merlot with some cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, this ripe and generous blend is full of lush, red berry fruits and blackcurrant notes. The savoury, slightly cedary, spicy twist on the finish makes it a grown-up red with concentration and depth. - Jamie Goode

( Sunday Express 1st Sep 2019 )

FC36541 FC36541 The Society's Corsican Rosé 2018

Star buy: You might not have heard of the sciaccarellu grape, but it grows well on Corsican granitic soils making up over 15 per cent of plantings. It is also known as mammolo in Tuscany and is known for its fragrance and vivid colour. - Rose Murray Brown

( The Scotsman 31st Aug 2019 )

BY381 BY381 The Society's Cognac VSOP

A bargain and a great place to start with cognac, this is soft and gentle with youthful, fragrant fruit and spice. - Hamish Anderson

( The Daily Telegraph 31st Aug 2019 )

CB5181A CB5181A Château Pey La Tour Réserve, Bordeaux Supérieur 2016

… an affordable claret with vibrant merlot fruit and a savoury edge. - Bev Thomas

( South Cambrian News 29th Aug 2019 )

GN311 GN311 Hedgerow Rhubarb and Raspberry Pink Gin

… a delicate and aromatic spirit … with flavours of rhubarb and raspberry, alongside hedgerow flavours of elderflower, sloe stones, rosehip and hay. - Richard Esling

( Mid Sussex Times 29th Aug 2019 )

EN1341 EN1341 Camel Valley Bacchus Cornwall 2018

South of England is ideal for the Bacchus grape. This has lime, peach, pear and elderflower. - David Clay

( Rotherham Advertiser 28th Aug 2019 )

EN1401 EN1401 Three Choirs Silver Jubilee Gloucestershire 2018

Unique to The Wine Society this is fresh, tropical, citrus. Great value. - David Clay

( Rotherham Advertiser 28th Aug 2019 )

SA14171 SA14171 Miles Mossop The Introduction Roussanne, Stellenbosch 2018

Miles Mossop’s Introduction is brisker and brighter [than other South African roussannes], but still with that caressing, roast chicken-ready roussanne oiliness and late summer stone-fruitiness. - David Williams

( The Observer 25th Aug 2019 )

AU21791 AU21791 d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2017

Roussanne is ...starting to get its due [in Australia], usually in blends, but also in solo performances such as d’Arenberg’s lush, full-bodied and exotic-fruited beauty. - David Williams

( The Observer 25th Aug 2019 )

SG2701 SG2701 Cava Conde de Haro Brut 2016

Based in the red-wine region of Rioja, the Muga house has also built a strong reputation for sparkling wine. Derived from the macabeo grape, Conde de Haro has subtle acidity and yeastiness, with hints of brioche and almonds. - Will Lyons

( The Sunday Times 25th Aug 2019 )

FC36431 FC36431 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Félines-Jourdan 2018

Star buy: Rich, ripe, fleshy fruit, apricot undertones, creamy texture, zippy fresh acidity with a salty briskness. Well-made and great value too. - Rose Murray Brown

( The Scotsman 24th Aug 2019 )

FC37231 FC37231 Côtes de Saint-Mont, Les Vignes Retrouvées 2017

Exotically fruity but dry blend. - Fiona Beckett

( The Guardian 24th Aug 2019 )

IT26661 IT26661 The Society's Sicilian Reserve Red 2015

Lip-smacking red made from nero d’avola grapes, aged partly in French oak barrels, with rich, bold red berry fruit. - Jane MacQuitty

( The Times 24th Aug 2019 )

SG321 SG321 Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée Julien Dopff au Moulin NV

I used to drink buckets of this but for some reason hadn't seen it in a while. More fool me for one sip proved it's better than ever and superb value. A champagne method blend of pinot blanc and auxerrois, it spends two years on the lees and is deeply enticing. Fresh, crisp, clean, with a teasing underlying creaminess, it's surely the best fizz around for the money. - Jonathan Ray

( The Spectator 23rd Aug 2019 )

PW7451 PW7451 Carlos Lucas Ribeiro Santo, Dão 2017

… a lightly chillable summer red with cherry fruit and a herbal lift. - Joe Fattorini

( Saga Magazine 22nd Aug 2019 )

PW7601 PW7601 Crasto Superior Branco, Douro 2017

A welcome replacement for expensive white Burgundy for the more adventurous drinker. - Joe Fattorini

( Saga Magazine 22nd Aug 2019 )

PW7311 PW7311 Vadio Bairrada Tinto 2015

… beautifully complex with a bright tang to its red fruit. Think of a fresher Rioja - one that lets the fruit sing, not drown in oak. - Joe Fattorini

( Saga Magazine 22nd Aug 2019 )

PW7381 PW7381 The Society's Vinho Verde 2018

A strong contender for my wine of the summer. It's partly down to the name. It's not a 'green wine'. It's a ripe, refreshing one that comes from a green lush place. And for this money you won't find better value this summer. - Joe Fattorini

( Saga Magazine 22nd Aug 2019 )

EN1341 EN1341 Camel Valley Bacchus Cornwall 2018

Whether you’re in Sussex, Essex, Kent or Cornwall, a trip to a local winery can be part of a traditional English seaside holiday. Camel Valley’s tour scores high for natural beauty and the quality of wines, such as this fragrant sauvignon-esque white. - David Williams

( The Guardian 20th Aug 2019 )

NZ10921 NZ10921 Te Mata Estate Vineyards Hawke's Bay Gamay Noir 2018

On New Zealand's North Island, Hawke's Bay has carved out a formidable reputation for Syrah, Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay, but this is a bit different: made from the grape of Beaujolais, Gamay, partly with carbonic maceration, and only 12.5% alcohol. From what's described as "an incredible vintage," this comes from a vineyard planted in 1995 and has an expressive and varietal nose, crammed with crushed plum and cherry, that hint of watercolour paint-box so typical of Gamay, and a tug of earthy, beetrooty character. In the mouth the fruit ripeness and sweetness is turned up a notch above a typical Beaujolais, vibrant and etched by an agile acidity and bit of tannic grip, it is balanced and delicious. - Tom Cannavan

( 19th Aug 2019 )

FC36431 FC36431 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Félines-Jourdan 2018

There are parts of the Languedoc that have always been better known for whites than reds, with the patch of vines that follows the Étang du Thau lagoon around the towns of Agde, Sète and Pézenas perhaps the best-known of all. Here the Picpoul de Pinet appellation takes its name from the piquepoul blanc grape variety and produces wine that is, logically enough, perfectly suited to the local seafood, including the oysters cultivated in the lagoon itself. These whites are decidedly unpretentious – simple but in a good way. There’s no attempt – or at least none that I’ve come across – to imitate burgundy or make vins de garde for tucking away in the cellar for years. At their best they offer a calmingly cool and crisp combination of citrus and subtle floral and leafy herbal notes with a seabreeze freshness, all qualities found in Felines-Jourdan’s top-notch example. - David Williams

( The Observer 18th Aug 2019 )

IT26682 IT26682 Half bottle of Pecorino Abruzzo, Contesa 2018

...a delicious one … Fiona Beckett

( The Guardian 17th Aug 2019 )

AU20971A AU20971A Victory Hotel Australian Shiraz-Cabernet 2017

Bang on the money, good ordinary holiday swig — the classic Aussie red blend of peppery shiraz and minty cabernet. - Jane MacQuitty

( The Times 17th Aug 2019 )

IT26311 IT26311 Nero d'Avola La Ferla, Sicilia 2017

Star buy: Unoaked, sweetly fruited, spicy, sumptuous example of this grape - and a very good example under £8. La Ferla refers to the fennel flower which flourishes alongside nero d'Avola on the island. - Rose Murray Brown

( The Scotsman 17th Aug 2019 )

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