Staff Choices 2018

Wine is something to be shared and enjoyed. The 'Staff Choice' section, which is updated each month, 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note that, as some were published some time ago, not all of the wines will be in stock and some of the prices will be out of date.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

December 2018

Leeuwin 'Prelude' Margaret River Chardonnay 2016

Leeuwin 'Prelude' Margaret River Chardonnay 2016

Australia is one of my favourite places in the world and I am lucky enough to have been several times. Western Australia, and in particular Margaret River, hold a special place in my heart.

Its inhabitants have a laid back approach to everything, surrounded by beautiful scenery, from rugged bush lands to beautiful coastlines and the climate is just gorgeous. The area is very typically Australian: you will regularly get some of the best sightings of kangaroos there which, if you are anything like me, is a truly exciting and magical experience. All of these things add to my love of this wine even more.

I am a new lover of chardonnay, having been put off in the past by the old overtly oaky winemaking style in Australia and, growing up, my mother’s ‘ABC’ (Anything But Chardonnay) attitude. This wine, however, is very different. It is so refined, with an elegant and rounded oak influence. It has a freshness of apples and lemons to start, developing into lovely, complex notes of vanilla and brioche from oak aging. With a great mouthfeel without being overbearing and a lovely long finish, it’s very easy to drink on its own but would also stand up well to food if you so wish.

At this time of year, I would very much like to be in Margaret River at the Leeuwin Estate in the glorious Aussie summer sunshine drinking this wine. Instead I will settle for a large glass in front of the fire with my slippers on! Whilst I appreciate this is not necessarily an everyday drinking price, I would highly recommend treating yourself to a little bit of sunshine in a glass this Christmas.

Rachel ElliottRachel Elliott
Distribution Team Leader

£29 - Bottle
£348 per case of 12

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November 2018

Staff Favourites Case

Staff Favourites Case

November's Staff Choice was picked by… all of us!

As many of you will know from chatting to our colleagues in Member Services, or with staff members on the Community, lots of us here love to share our joy of wine with anyone who will listen.

So we asked our staff members to let us know their favourite under-£10 bottles. After the dust settled from the ensuing whirlwind of emails, these 12 wines got the most votes: a collection of tried and trusted reds and whites, from Spain, the Rhône, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, the south of France, Portugal and the USA... and you can try them all for the equivalent of under £8 per bottle!

£95 - Case of 12 bottles
(Six red and six white)

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October 2018

Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2015

This time last year I was fortunate enough to be walking through the Sandhi vineyards with the winemaker, Sashi Moorman. But instead of focusing on what goes on in the winery, like most winemakers do, he walked us up and down the site to examine the soil, the slopes, the cool breezes at the top… it felt more like a geography trip than a winery visit!

That ethos is what I really love about the Sandhi wines. They focus on growing the best fruit possible so they don’t have to play around too much in the winery.

I think you can really taste that in the wine – it’s not over-oaked (something that I think puts so many people off Californian chardonnay), it’s crisp and refreshing whilst being packed with sunny fruits. And whilst there’s no denying it’s not the cheapest wine, in my opinion it’s a great alternative to a Burgundy of the same price; a little more spice but great structure and body whilst retaining purity in the fruit.

One year on, I drank this wine after a cold day in the highlands of Scotland last week and it tasted as good there as it did in sunny California!

Anna SpoonerAnna Spooner
Tastings & Events Co-ordinator

£27 - Bottle
£324 per case of 12

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September 2018

The Society's Exhibition Alsace Gewurztraminer 2013

The Society's Exhibition Alsace Gewurztraminer 2013

Before I joined The Wine Society team, I knew I liked wine but I hadn’t been that discerning. I didn’t really know my oak from my inert concrete eggs.

I’ve been fortunate enough since working here to have tried a great many wines and I have come to realise that I particularly enjoy aromatic whites. Their floral, perfumed notes resonate with my tastebuds. I prefer my white wine dry with a rich nose of fruit and perfumery. I have discovered that wines from Alsace tick these boxes for me and I’m always very enthusiastic if there is a bottle of wine from this region on the go.

The Society’s Exhibition Alsace Gewurztraminer is a great example and ticks all my tastebud boxes. It’s packed full of citrus fruits and floral notes. For me this is an easy-drinking, accessible wine that would be great drunk chilled as an aperitif or paired with smoked salmon or, one of my favourite dishes, potted shrimps. Personally I like to drink a chilled glass as a Friday night treat and precursor to dinner with family, friends or whoever is around; sometimes it’s just me and the dog, in which case I go it alone.

Nicole DrathNicole Drath
Web Developer

£14.95 - Bottle
£179 per case of 12

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August 2018

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Before I worked here I certainly liked drinking wine… but having been here for five years and done some studying, I am now realising why! I've been buying this for the last three or four vintages, because I love its elegance, concentration and silky tannins.

Structurally speaking, it is a well-crafted wine, but that's not what I thought of when choosing it. Instead I thought of how much I enjoyed it while relaxing on Sidmouth beach with a loved one; at festivals with friends; and at dinner parties where the second bottle is always opened (!) and has always given so much pleasure.

The 2017 vintage has just arrived: the ruby-red colour is beautiful in the glass, the berry-and-spice aroma is divine and the taste… well the taste is just gorgeous!

Mahesh BharwaneyMahesh Bharwaney
Regional Merchandiser

£13.50 - Bottle
£81 per case of 6

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July 2018

Grenache Blanc, Pays d'Oc, Domaine du Bosc 2017

Grenache Blanc, Pays d'Oc, Domaine du Bosc 2017

Championing the outsider is something close to my heart and unnecessarily complicating issues is not. This is a great stress-free option from the south of France – full-flavoured, fruity and floral, and with freshness to boot.

Like its red cousin, grenache blanc is an underrated grape in my opinion, featuring a lot in blends but not always getting the limelight. With a rounded palate of pear and ripe honeydew melon fruit, backed by subtle lime acidity and carrying only a modest 12.5% alcohol, this wine offers a fine introduction to the grape.

For me, this is a consistently comfortable, crowd-pleasing choice and I regularly propose it as a party and wedding wine when carrying out tastings in our Showroom for that reason. As well as being a great summer sipper, this wine is also a good choice for fish, especially shellfish. It also worked for me with barbecued peri-peri chicken and has proven able to handle the array of foods that al-fresco dining presents.

When I find an unfussy and dependable bottle is in demand, this has the ability to cheer me and provide a great background for nearly any relaxed occasion. Simply unscrew and enjoy. Make it easy on yourself!

Conrad BraganzaConrad Braganza
The Cellar Showroom

£6.50 - Bottle
£78 per case of 12

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June 2018

Rainer Wess Grüner Veltliner, Wachau 2017

Rainer Wess Grüner Veltliner, Wachau 2017

I love fruity aromatic whites – especially at this time of year – and tasting this wine made me go 'wow!' I'd previously been a big fan of sauvignon blanc (and I still remain loyal!) and I hadn't really tried Austrian grüner veltliner before.

Then, when studying for my WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) exams, this wine walked into my life: it was love at first sight!

Bursting with peach flavours and floral notes, this is a tasty and exotic alternative to sauvignon and a perfect wine to share with friends on a warm spring evening as you prepare to switch into summer mode.

Jenny ColbertJenny Colbert
Marketing Campaign Manager

£9.95 - Bottle
£59.50 per case of 6

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May 2018

Vierkoppen Weavers Nest Reserve, Robertson 2013

Vierkoppen Weavers Nest Reserve, Robertson 2013

My brother in-law is South African and, like all of us, hates the winters and bemoans celebrating Christmas during the cold dark nights…

…so we have come up with the idea of celebrating Christmas again, in June!

After all, seeing the children all running around outside is far better than them all screaming indoors, and so this is now an annual family get-together known as The South African Christmas.

This is the bottle I'll be taking along this year, as I will obviously need a glass of wine while I let my brother-in-law loose on the barbecue (being South African, he's far more used to this form of cooking than I, after all!).

It's a lovely cab-merlot blend and a great summer choice, medium-bodied (even if, at 14%, it still packs a punch) but able to stand up to the smokiness of the meal. Worth opening a couple of hours before to get the most out of its lovely berry flavours, and keeping out of the heat before serving.

Eddie BrennanEddie Brennan
Distribution Manager

£9.95 - Bottle
£59.50 per case of 6

April 2018

De Morgenzon DMZ Chardonnay, Stellenbosch 2016

De Morgenzon DMZ Chardonnay, Stellenbosch 2016

I discovered the joys of oaked whites on my WSET wine courses, and I was soon sucked in! Now, as a lover of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet (among others), which demonstrate the rich, buttery tones from barrel ageing, I'm always on the lookout for anything similar at a fraction of the price – though it's not easy to find!

As I sit back and enjoy DMZ from De Morgenzon on a Saturday evening after a long week at work, it takes me back to when I first discovered this style of wine, and could easily replace a Burgundy at more than double its price tag. With baked-apple, toasted almonds, creamy oak and peach-stone aromas, it's inviting and enticing from the off. The richly flavoured palate offers apple, fresh bread, white pepper, charred oak and tea-leaf flavours. The DMZ has great weight, texture and crisp acidity – all perfectly synced – and a long finish, to boot. It is very well made from an award-winning producer in South Africa's premium region – Stellenbosch.

Recently I enjoyed it with a chicken & leek bake with dauphinoise potatoes and it was a really good match; though it's a very versatile wine that would work well with an array of chicken and seafood dishes instead.

If you're looking for a well-made oaked chardonnay at under a tenner a bottle, then this is a prime candidate well worth considering. Highly recommended!

Allan SharmanAllan Sharman
Member Services Adviser

£9.25 - Bottle
£55.50 per case of 6

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March 2018

Parcelas Ecológico Monastrell, Yecla, Spain 2016

Parcelas Ecológico Monastrell, Yecla, Spain 2016

We are slowing heading towards spring, although it sometimes feels that winter will never EVER end! Let's face it, it is still cold and miserable so a lovely and warming red would be a great companion to those chilly evenings.

New to the list, the Parcelas Ecológico Monastrell (a grape also known as mourvèdre in France or mataro in Australia) 2016 will be the perfect remedy to beat the (endless) winter blues.

Just picture yourself by the open fire, sipping that rich, packed-full-of-fruit and gloriously smooth red, with just the right amount of spice, structure and tannins to either appreciate on its own or to have with food. A lamb dish would work particularly well with this wine and I am thinking lamb tagine to be precise. The warm (rather than fiery hot) and aromatic spices from the Middle East will match wonderfully the richness of the wine. Sounds perfect to me!

From the Yecla region of Spain where the sun is not shy to show its face, this gorgeous wine without a doubt tastes of its hot Mediterranean climate, yet is also nicely balanced due to the fact that the vines are planted on high plateau at about 800m altitude. I am getting a bit wine geeky here, but basically, those conditions allow the grapes to cool a little at night time, making sure that they don't overripe (which would result in a wine being 'overcooked'. Thankfully, this one is not!).

This wine is simply delicious as well as excellent value and la guinda de la torta (the icing on the cake) is that it is organic! What more would you want? Enjoy!

Marjorie CroppMarjorie Cropp
Cellar Showroom Assistant

£7.50 - Bottle
£90 per dozen

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February 2018

Ritual Casablanca Merlot 2015

Ritual Casablanca Merlot 2015

Sharing a good bottle of wine with your best friend surely must be classed as one of life's great pleasures. With no special occasion (other than the need for a good gossip and time to set the world to rights!), my friend Jenny and I tried to add some fun to an otherwise cold and miserable January evening.

Jenny has a thirst for bold and fruity reds; ones that really make their presence felt on the palate. In an attempt to steer her away from the well-trodden path of Argentine malbec, we tucked into a bottle of Ritual 2015 Chilean Merlot from Casablanca Valley with a side dish of left over Christmas cake and chunks of Wensleydale cheese.

If you browse through my recently purchased bottles from The Wine Society you'll find a reoccurring theme: every time I order a case of wine I always add at least one Chilean bottle. Usually it's an easy-drinking bottle of Concha Y Toro Chardonnay or Undurraga Cauquenes Estate Maule Garnacha but on this occasion I threw in a chance bottle of Ritual. I'm so glad that I've met this bottle of joy because I feel we are a match made in heaven!

It's quite a chewy red, fairly stocky and bold, with a mixture of ripe berries on the palate, particularly plums and red cherries with a hidden taste of spice and pepper. I thoroughly enjoyed the oaky aromas which I was later told comes from the ten months' ageing in barrels.

A bit more than I would usually spend on a wine-rack staple, but worth every penny!

Suzanne AndertonSuzanne Anderton
Projects Hub Manager

£12.50 - Bottle
£150 per dozen

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January 2018

Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées Beaujolais L'Ancien 2015

Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées Beaujolais L'Ancien 2015

2017 was the year this stuff established itself as the one red my wine rack cannot be without; and with lower-alcohol bottles also suiting January's delusions of virtue, I can't see the situation changing anytime soon in 2018.

This is simple but beautiful Beaujolais made in the traditional way, and it just sings every time it's opened, seemingly with whatever food, occasion or company I can throw at it.

It's not a 'big' wine at all but packed instead with soft, charming and irresistible red-berry fruit. For a relatively straightforward red, it manages to be so many different things at once: simultaneously spot-hitting and silky, giving both thirst-quenching lightness and delicious depth.

At just over a tenner, I think it's a steal. At 12.5% alcohol, it's also gorgeously (some would say dangerously) drinkable on its own, but it's also got the substance to handle all manner of winter comfort foods. I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

Martin BrownMartin Brown
Digital Content & Comms Editor

£10.95 - Bottle
£131 per dozen

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