Mr Husband and I were lucky enough to go to The Wine Society’s annual flagship tasting – All the Fun of the Fair. I say lucky enough as we’d heard that The Wine Society’s London tastings always get sold out pretty damn quick. We can now see exactly why!
These were some of our favourites out of the 60 odd wines we tasted. I have tried not to bang on about the quality you get for price.
Three Choirs Stone Brook 2014 £7.95 – have you ever seen such a cheap English wine? But it’s not for price that we loved this – it’s gently perfumed yet refreshing and beautifully balanced. We’d never heard of the Siegberre and Schonburger grapes but will be looking out for them in the future.
Domaine Bosc Viognier 2015 £6.75 – this is just the most perfect every day (sorry, I mean easy drinking!) Viognier. This is the fresh, summery style of Viognier I fell in love with at a Decanter tasting a few years ago.
Altano, Douro Branco 2015 £8.50 – I’m looking forward to opening this at impromptu barbeques and playing “guess where it’s from?” Who knew Portuguese whites could be so fresh but flavoursome?
Prince Ştirbey Tamâioasa Româneasca Sec 2015 £9.50 – what a great wine! Both for the palate and the novelty factor. Tamâioasa Româneasca is a relative to the Muscat grape and makes a subtly aromatic, slightly perfumed wine. A great aperitif for a summer’s evening when you want something refreshing but more interesting than Sauvignon Blanc.
Semeli Mantinia Nassiakos 2015 £9.75 – another “guess the country wine.” There’s a lot going on here; citrus fruit, peach, rose and a tang of salt, which is a beautiful contrast. Stunning wine.
Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Brookdale Semillon 2015 £12.95 – grapefruit, lime and a savoury note: this was our favourite out of the two Semillons from Tyrrell’s but if you like older varieties then try Tyrrell’s 2009 and 2011 Semillions too.
Fess Parker Santa Barbara County 2014 £13.95 – sure, the fashion has been to shun oaky new world Chardonnays but actually it’s one of my favourite styles of wine when you have a well-made, good quality example that hasn’t gone crazy on the oak. This is gorgeus – think grapefruit and tropical fruit before that archetypal vanilla and toast.
The Society’s Exhibition Limarí Chardonnay 2014 £9.95 – this Chilean Chardonnay is a brilliant example of a balanced wine for a bargain price – sun warmed peaches and apricots, mingling with a bit of citrus, creamy vanilla and a hint of minerality.
Domaine Jones Fitou 2013 £13.50 – I made a beeline for this. In addition to having been impressed with her Grenache Gris that we recently bought, I was dying to meet Katie Jones after reading her story of moving from England to Languedoc Rousillon and taking the plunge to make her own wine. In addition, we’d only had Fitou of questionnable quality before so were eager to discover what it was all about. It didn’t disappoint, concentrated and ripe fruit with a bit of spice and some rustic tannins.
Mavrotragano Hatzidakis 2011 £24 – if we’d been pushed for a favourite wine of the evening, this probably would have been it (the Hubster and I are boringly consistent in terms of preferences). There’s so much going on here; it’s not the most powerful wine in the world, but delivers a wealth of flavours – tangy red berries, perfumed blackberries, chocolate and tobacco. Fresh yet complex.
The Society’s Exhibition Rioja Reserva 2009 £12.95 – in our minds, this is exactly how traditional Rioja Reserva should be. Soft, juicy fruit and smoky vanilla. Try it even if you are not a Rioja fan, it might well sway you.
La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva, Rioja 2007 £19.50 – La Rioja Alta Bodega is one of Rioja’s top producers and this wine is testament to that. It’s a more serious, complex version of their basic Rioja Reserva and absolutely delicious.
The Society’s Exhibition Hawke’s Bay Red 2013 £12.95 – for us to buy any wine from New Zealand, it generally has to be extra special as we tend to find it quite expensive. And preferably not Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. This Bordeaux blend has gone straight into our next order.
Parker Station Pinot Noir 2014 £12.50 – I love Californian Pinot Noir and my favoured style tends to be the unsubtle, relatively powerful wines – often the antithesis of their Burgundian peers. This beauty, however, is all about restrained red fruit, tangy redcurrants and raspberries, with delicious toffee notes on the finish. And the price!