Grapevine Archive for May, 2011

Thu 12 May 2011

Society Tops Which? Wine Club Survey

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Oliver JohnsonI was delighted that in a recent survey of wine clubs undertaken by Which? magazine The Society finished with the highest customer score of 86%, 22 percentage points ahead of our nearest rivals.

This is a great credit to our staff and all the hard work they put in to ensure the smooth and efficient running of our Society.

The Wine Society, the mutual we all own, is in the privileged position of having no other masters to serve other than you our members. This means that we can concentrate on what’s important: providing you with delicious and interesting wines at fair prices with good service.

It’s a business model that has worked for more than 135 years and one that the Which? survey suggests is one to be valued and stuck with.

Thank you for your continued support.

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Acting upon information received from various sources, some of them fairly sensible, I celebrated the arrival of the English asparagus season with a taste test involving friends,  a platter of the only green shoots you can rely on these days, a jug of melted salty butter and a couple of examples of grüner veltliner.

First up was Lössterrasen 2009 from Stadt Krems (just sold out, sorry); fresh, perfumed and quite delicious until it made contact with the asparagus. Our palates quickly became a battleground for an ill-tempered clash between  acid and chlorophyll neither of which was willing to surrender. An alliance was out the question.

Next, we tried the more restrained, mineral Society Exhibition bottling, also from the 2009 vintage. Its fresh, spritzy charm was much liked by all present, except its blind date, the asparagus. On the palate, they circled around each other with suspicion. There was neither instant attraction nor commitment to explore each other’s hidden depths. They escaped from each other as soon as they could, and did not exchange contact details.

Conclusion:  This delicious Austrian white is good news, indeed, versatile and decidedly “grü-v”, but not with asparagus. For the rest of the season,  I’ll stick to a nice dry muscat, thanks, or a very old, buttery and forgiving chardonnay.

What are your food matching dreams and nightmares?

Janet Wynne Evans
Specialist Wine Manager

Categories : Austria
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Thu 05 May 2011

In praise of the half bottle

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Wine is a beverage that holds no appeal for my teetotal fiancée, meaning I tend to find myself the sole imbiber when at home. Of course, the half bottle seemed the obvious solution, though I confess it took longer than it should for me to embrace the logic. Irrational first impressions, alas, do count, and while the thickness of a magnum can make it appear lavishly more than two bottles’ worth, a humble 375cl half looks rather diminutive next to a regular bottle.

My feelings began to change last year upon noticing a well-priced half of a favourite Tuscan red on a restaurant list. Finding the amount therein just right, I remember leaving sated and, well, remembering leaving. Though most of the wine at home remains in 75cl bottles, the experience made me realise I have been guilty of overlooking the handiness and enjoyment that the half bottle affords.

In my view, the greatest asset the half possesses is that it is a reliable guard against the domestic phenomenon of ‘wine fatigue.’ Unless the wine is truly something, having drunk a couple of glasses from a regular bottle one night and another the following evening, I simply tend to crave something different by night three.

Fatigue leads to indignation at the remaining dregs: Why should I have to drink you yet again? Opting for a half therefore makes me feel at greater liberty to experiment. The range of wines bottled in halves affords choice as well as convenience, so one can try a good deal of wines in quantities more conducive to a ‘tasting.’

As well as everyday favourites for instance, I now find myself lured by halves of Bordeaux, Barolo and more; the good thing being that these more serious and structured wines mature a little faster in a smaller bottle.

Yet whether it’s a couple of glasses at home or a relaxing picnic without being stalked by thoughts of Breathalysers, it just feels rather nice enjoying wine from a smaller bottle. For all the above, the half is greater than the sum of its parts.

Click here to view The Society’s range of half bottles, including a new release of Château d’Angludet 2007.

Categories : Miscellaneous
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