Jenny Mackenzie finds much to discover at Wine Society tasting
The Wine Society held its spring tasting last week showing 60 wines new to the list in 2013. The long-standing loyalty and affection from the UK wine press saw "94% attendance" and plenty of enthusiastic tweeting, encouraged along by PR manager and social media supremo, Ewan Murray.
As a mutual organisation, operating for the benefit of its members', The Wine Society is well known for high quality wines at affordable prices. With the range "approximately two thirds" ‘old-world', the Society's wine buyers are pro-active in seeking out new regions and producers. Uruguay is a country that has been "dipped in and out of" over the past few years, according to Murray, currently offering excellent value and proving very popular with members who are "increasingly receptive" to New World wines.
Murray added that new members joining the Society "are a constant, steady progression" with "good responses as a result of national and regional press reviews". A current "soft re-branding" initiative is the Wine Without Fuss ‘club' to which 10% of members subscribe, many also buying other Society wines in addition. Wine Without Fuss "allows exploration" as well as being a regular ‘by the case' delivery scheme, in a flexible format.
Wine Without Fuss won the Which? Readers' Best Wine Club, just one of the numerous awards constantly garnered by The Wine Society, including in 2012, International Wine Challenge (IWC) Wine Club of the Year and IWC Specialist Merchant for Alsace, Chile and Portugal.
Six top picks from the excellent new lines at the tasting were:
Prince Stirbey, Tamaioasa Romaneasca Sec, 2012, £9.50, 14%. The old fashioned label doesn't shout ‘buy me' but this is a big, warm yet elegant white from the indigenous Romanian aromatic white variety. Dry muscat lovers would enjoy this generous ‘foodie' wine.
The Ruins, Organic Chardonnay-Viognier, 2012, £6.95, 13.5%. Those who balk at Chardonnay blends may change their mind with this highly accomplished white from South Africa. An excellent balance of mouth-feel and freshness, this is a versatile crowd-pleaser at a bargain price.
The Society's Corsican Rosé, 2012, £8.95, 12.5%. Having recently tried the Society's Corsican case and been very impressed by the whites and rosés, this pretty, fresh and snappy pink made from Nielluccio (Sangiovese), Sciaccarello and Grenache is another fridge door hit.
Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay Longeroies, 2010, £21.00, 13%. Affordable, well made, approachable yet not ‘modern' wines are most Burgundy lovers' holy grail. Soft, fresh and totally delicious, this is a bargain for the quality. At £14.50, the Marsannay Rouge is also excellent.
Hofstatter Mazon, Pinot Nero, 2009, £21.00, 13.5%. German precision coupled with Italian flair results in a stylish, confident Alto-Adige Pinot with an Italian style acid/tannin combo that is a delight. This would make a fun dinner party pair with the Pataille Marsannay at the same price.
Thymiopoulos, Earth and Sky, Xynomavro, 2009, £20.00, 14.5%. Greek reds are finally delivering their ‘world class' potential. 40 year old vines in the Naoussa region give an evolved, savoury example of one of Greece's ‘noble red varieties' in a lovely ‘old school' winemaking style.
Find out more at www.thewinesociety.com
You can read more from Jenny Mackenzie at www.earlybirdwinenews.com