Staff Choices 2015

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

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note that, as some were published some time ago, not all of the wines will be in stock and some of the prices will be out of date.

Previous Staff Choices

September 2015

Lascar Carmenère 2014

I have been a real fan of this grape and this wine in particular for several years now. I like my wines young and fruity, which often leads me to wines from the new world rather than the old. The carmenère grape actually links the two: it was once included in the Bordeaux blend, but was lost in the phylloxera epidemics of the nineteenth century. It was rediscovered in the 1980s in a large number of vineyards in Chile, where it had been mistaken for merlot. Chile took the carmenère grape to its heart and made it its own.

This wine is smooth, silky and rich. You can see how it was once thought to be a merlot grape, but it has a unique sweet spice to it. This wine is very easy drinking with or without food. It has also just been reduced in price, making it even better value for money. My wife thinks we should install an alarm in the house to go off when we are down to our last few bottles. It's that good.

Daniel RogersDaniel Rogers
Member Services Adviser

£5.50 - Bottle
£66.00 - Case of 12
View Wine Details

September 2015

The Society's Corbières 2013

This is an all-time favourite of mine, and has been ever since I joined The Showroom Team many years ago. It has been consistently good in all the vintages I have tasted, and is a favourite at home with meaty dishes like lamb chops and roast beef, spaghetti Bolognese or simply just on its own.

Its sweet ripe flavour is beautifully balanced and belies its alcohol of 14%, which I feel isn't prominent at all when I drink it. It has a smooth velvety finish and is all too easy to enjoy with food and with friends, which makes it a real crowd-pleaser at parties and gatherings. I think it is fantastic value for money and punches well above its weight. Definitely worth a try.

Trish HealyTrish Healy
The Cellar Showroom

£7.25 - Bottle
£87.00 - Case of 12
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August 2015

The Society's Verdicchio 2014

Working for The Society has many privileges, not least the ability to pop to The Showroom to buy the odd bottle when the tide has gone out at home! On a recent fly-by for something to go in and with a risotto made from the leftovers of the weekend's roast chicken, someone called over: 'Have you tried The Society's Verdicchio?' Well, yes, it's a wine I know well and used to buy regularly; it was practically our 'house white' for a while. For some reason, it fell off my purchasing list and now I can't think why. I'd forgotten just what a cracking white this is; it's dry yet round and easy to drink and for the price offers much more flavour and nuance than one might expect. But its real trump card is the way these flavours are teased out, embellished and sing out, seemingly with whatever food you choose to serve it with; the warm salad of rocket, broad beans and peas with mint and balsamic dressing and feta crumbled over that went alongside the risotto did just that.

Joanna GoodmanJoanna Goodman
Communications Editor

£6.50 - Bottle
£78.00 - Case of 12
View Wine Details

July/August 2015

Vermentino di Sardegna localia, Melis 2014

Having discovered the delicious vermentino grape during my recent visit to Sardinia, I was excited to try this from our List upon my return. As anticipated, this wine did not disappoint, and since then it has been a regular visitor to my home, and we have become well acquainted.

This wine is from the Terralba commune in south-west Sardinia. Fresh and fruity with flavours of peach, citrus, and gentle floral aromas, it is complemented nicely with a refreshing acidity and minerality. This makes for an extremely pleasant, easy-drinking white, as well as a perfect addition to almost any meal. Its crispness makes it a particularly good match to seafood, salad and spicy dishes. A lovely, fragrant and refreshing dry white, perfect for spring / summer drinking. (Feel free to enjoy in autumn and winter too!).

Cheryl LeeCheryl Lee
Member Services Adviser

£8.25 - Bottle
£99.00 - Case of 12
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July 2015

Pecorino Abruzzo, Contesa 2014

At the moment I am slowly working my way through our Italian range, which is how I discovered this lovely white from the Abruzzo region in the central part of Italy. I find Italian whites are a great alternative to the more popular dry international varieties that you find in other parts of the world. Also Italy has undergone a renaissance over the last 20 years where quality rather than quantity has been the aim, together with lesser known varieties and regions really coming to the fore.

For me this wine is a perfect example, made from the pecorino grape which has been rediscovered in a remote part of Abruzzo. It is light and aromatic with notes of citrus fruits and a hint of white flowers, well-balanced acidity and a clean, elegant finish that leaves you wanting another glass. Very food friendly, it worked a treat with barbecued langoustines and I am sure it would work equally well with chicken or a light pasta dish.

David ConnorDavid Connor
Showroom Assistant

£8.95 - Bottle
£53.50 - Case of 6
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June/July 2015

The Society's Saumur Brut NV

I have worked at the Wine Society for around five years and in this time I have been lucky enough to try a number of sparkling wines. The pick of the bunch, in my opinion, is our own Saumur. The blend is chenin blanc with a little cabernet franc, and the result is an approachable, fruity, dry (but not too dry) fun fizz.

It is at home both as an aperitif and with perhaps more foods than you would think (personal favourite: fish and chips!). When asked for a recommendation for a family wedding in August, there was no competition!

Paul BousfieldPaul Bousfield
Member Services Adviser

£9.50 - Bottle
£57.00 - Case of 6
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June 2015

The Society's Exhibition Sauternes 2009 50cl

During my WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) studies I was learning about how sweeter wines were usually made with the influence of 'noble rot' which concentrates the grapes' sugars and flavours. These wines command a slightly more premium price owing to the very selective picking of affected bunches (or even individual grapes) coupled with a lower yield.

I tried some of The Society's Exhibition Sauternes and was amazed: sweet but balanced with acidity, and full of concentrated honey and pineapple flavours. This would work well with cheeses or indeed on its own, and it's a must have in any wine rack ready for a special occasion.

David MitchellDavid Mitchell
Digital Insight Manager

£13.95 - Bottle
£167.00 - Case of 12
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May/June 2015

Weinert Carrascal Mendoza 2009

I was first introduced to Weinert's wines just before Christmas last year by my colleagues in Member Services and since then I've always tried to make sure I've got at least one of their wines at home at any given time! The Carrascal 2009 represents huge value in my opinion – it has such a generous and mouth-filling flavour not unlike a mature claret and it is only £7.95 a bottle.

It is a big meaty wine, offering a complex dark-berry fruit palate wrapped in oaky overtones but also velvety smooth at the same time, which would partner perfectly with grilled meats on the BBQ this summer. And if the Great British weather does happen to turn wet, give this wine a proper Argentine food match and serve with a simple pan-seared rump steak.

Joe BarringtonJoe Barrington
Member Services Adviser

£7.95 - Bottle
£47.50 - Case of 6
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May 2015

Zarcillo Bío-Bío Gewürztraminer 2014

The first wine tasting I attended introduced me to some of the aromatic grape varieties grown traditionally in Alsace, gewürztraminer being one of them. Since then a glass or two of something similar has been a real weakness of mine.

This particular wine is a wonderful example from Chile with the distinctively exotic rose-petal, lychee and Turkish delight aroma one would expect. It remains extremely fresh, light and dry. A lovely summer evening tipple it is great matched with food, especially if it has a bit of spice! I particularly like Thai food and find it complements the flavours of ginger, lemongrass and chilli beautifully.

Dulcie BuckenhamDulcie Buckenham
Member Services Adviser

£6.50 - Bottle
£78.00 - Case of 12
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April/May 2015

The Society's Exhibition Juliénas 2011

In my early career with The Wine Society I became hooked in to the wines of France, especially Beaujolais; first from learning the beautiful names of its ten crus, such as Fleurie, St Amour, Chiroubles and Julienas, and then through taste, as a new student discovering the diversity of flavours and nuances that could be achieved from a single grape grown in one region.

So, not surprisingly, The Society's Exhibition Julienas pops up frequently in my orders. It has wonderful ripeness of red fruit and spice (which I'd describe as Victoria plum and cinnamon), soft tannins and cooler-climate acidity. This is not an instantaneous wine; it lures you in gently to that second glass while you are still thinking about the flavours, and there is a lingering clean fruity acidity on the palate which is mouthwatering to the finish. This has to be my 'red for all seasons'.

Helen DeanHelen Dean
IS Project Manager

£8.95 - Bottle
£107 - Case of 12
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April 2015

Bourboulenc, Domaine de Simonet 2014

I am a huge fan of exploring lesser-known grape varieties, something at which The Wine Society excels. In the six months I have been working in The Showroom I have been introduced to an unbelievable array of unusual varieties and I especially look forward to the new list to see what fresh gems I can unearth.

My most recent find is this bourboulenc. It is a variety used in tiny quantities in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as well as making up the blend in a handful of southern French appellations. On this evidence it should not be so rare. This wine has a wonderful zesty acidity and is bursting with flavours of ripe green apple. It goes perfectly with seafood and works equally well as a crisp, light aperitif in the sunshine.

Giles CundyGiles Cundy
The Cellar Showroom

£7.95 - Bottle
£47.50 - Case of 6
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March/April 2015

Bricco Rosso Suagnà Langhe Rosso 2009

Whilst being in the extremely fortunate position of working in the wine industry, having opportunities to try exceptional wines and meet brilliant, inspiring producers, one thing I feel The Society offers its members better than any other wine merchant is an excellent selection of mid-priced bottles. And this is a superb example which belies its price.

The wine hails from the Langhe - Barolo country - and is a blend of dolcetto and nebbiolo which is barrel aged for around six months in oak. This, the 2009 is ripe and supple now but still has years ahead of it. It is superb with slow-cooked lamb, preferably a shoulder - with the bone in for extra flavour - but would pair equally well with a meaty barbecue.

Drew SloweDrew Slowe
Member Services Adviser

£7.95 - Bottle
£95.00 - Case of 12
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March 2015

Sancerre 'Les Chailloux', Domaine de la Rossignole 2013

I am currently studying for my WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Level 2 Award which gives me the opportunity to sample a variety of great wines on a weekly basis. Our latest session included wines made from sauvignon blanc and this one made a great impression on me. From the Cherrier family in the hamlet of Chaudoux, close to the village of Verdigny, this is a Sancerre in the classic style.

This dry, medium-bodied wine has plenty of fresh acidity, grassy and citrus notes on the nose with mineral flavour also coming through on the palate. It was great to drink on its own and would also be a great partner to fish dishes and a number of cheeses.

Eain GreenEain Green
Systems Development Manager

£12.50 - Bottle
£150.00 - Case of 12
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March 2015

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

I'm a huge fan of Champagne (who isn't?) and whilst spending a week studying in Champagne a couple of years ago, I fell in love with the wines of Charles Heidsieck.

Before I first tried Charles Heidsieck, I was not quite as familiar with the brand as I was with some of the other Grande Marque houses. It took actually having lunch at the place to realise how fantastic their wines are to drink; it's not only a beautiful bottle! I urge you to try the Brut NV, which despite being relatively premium in price, is among the best Brut NV Champagnes that I have tasted and I feel totally warrants the cost. It is unique and beautifully presented, with a fantastically put-together palate and has bags of finesse. Fresh, full-flavoured and with a slight hint of toast; delicious.

Freddy BulmerFreddy Bulmer
Member Services Adviser

£43.00 - Bottle
£215.00 - Case of 6
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February 2015

The Society's California Old-Vine Zinfandel

It's no secret at work that I like zinfandel and luckily The Society offers a lovely range for me to choose from. I'd never be without a bottle of the delicious Society's California Old-Vine Zinfandel to hand (no corkscrew required!).

Its full-on fruity flavours and soft velvety finish make it great to enjoy on its own. It's so easy to drink you'll be fighting over the last glass so make sure there's more than one bottle in the rack just in case. If you're looking for a food match, we love it with spicy pasta dishes, ribs or barbecued meats.

Samantha VooghtSamantha Vooght
The Cellar Showroom

£7.50 - Bottle
£90.00 - Case of 12
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January/February 2015

Guimaro Mencía, Ribeira Sacra 2013

My favourite part of working for The Society is being introduced to such a wide range of varieties and some unique styles of wine. I was introduced to this wine in a staff training session with our Tasting Team's Emma, and immediately had to go back for another taste. The bright ruby colour first catches the eye, and floral hints on the nose follow. However, the real star is the sour cherry and supple crimson fruit flavours dominating the palate, with a mineral undertone giving an unexpected depth.

Although great to be enjoyed on its own, this was a hit with Christmas Dinner, with the fruit forward style cutting through the flavours and spices, and it will certainly be pulled out on many a Sunday through the year. This is a truly unique wine, and I can't recommend it enough to experience something away from the well-trodden trail!

Thom BuzzardThom Buzzard
Member Services Adviser

£9.95 - Bottle
£119.00 - Case of 12
View Wine Details

January 2015

Baccolo Appassimento Parziale, Rosso Veneto 2013

A new favourite of mine, Baccolo is a very enjoyable red with hints of spice and lots of soft fruit. I find it less dry than my other red of choice, Rioja, and it makes for a great everyday red at a very friendly price.

We recently enjoyed this with my parents at a family dinner and my dad, a Society member for some 20 years, has now added the Baccolo to his list of Society favourites too.

Richard LawsonRichard Lawson
Infrastructure & Service Desk Manager

£5.95 - Bottle
£35.50 - Case of six
View Wine Details

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