Grapevine Archive for Video
Our exclusive Blind Spot range can sound too good to be true. A little like The Wine Society… however, both really are transparent!
How does it work?
Mac Forbes, one of the hottest winemaking talents in Australia at the moment, collects samples of wines from winemaker friends and sends them to me each year to try.
I sample up to 20 wines, and cherry-pick the range.
The wines are usually surplus wines made by sought-after names, who have to limit their own-label production due to demand, and so sell to us at a huge discount, which we pass on to Society members.
This means our members have access to an ever-evolving line-up of delicious, authentic expressions of Australia’s best regions at everyday prices.
Mac took some time to explain the process himself in this short video below:
What’s new for 2016?
The Blind Spot range is dynamic by nature, thanks to the opportunities afforded by each different vintage and Mac’s clever detective work. I only select the very best samples to be bottled, and this year’s selection includes four new additions.
They are available by the bottle or in a 12-bottle mixed case with a saving of £11.70.
• Blind Spot Old-Vine Clare Valley Mataro 2014 (£9.95) is a truly serendipitous find, and Mac was thrilled when he came across this tiny-production gem made in tiny quantities from very old vines. Mataro may be better known to many members under its French name of mourvèdre or Spanish, monastrell, and it’s the archetypal winter warmer for bangers and mash and hearty stews.
• Blind Spot Frankland River Cabernet Franc-Merlot 2013 (£9.95) is a blend whose elegance, we feel, belies its price tag. It’s a perfect Sunday-roast wine. Indicative of the value that can be found in this range, this under-£10 wine will also repay cellaring (though it may prove difficult to resist now!).
• The garganega grape is more commonly associated with the production of Soave in northern Italy, but the King Valley in Victoria is starting to produce some very good examples. Blind Spot King Valley Garganega 2015 (£7.50) is crisp, dry and thoroughly refreshing, with a pleasant mineral quality and plenty of fresh-lemon flavours.
• Australian riesling is capable of world-class quality, and our Clare Valley bottling is joined this year by a new Blind Spot Frankland River Riesling 2015 (£9.50), an area that’s quickly gaining a stunning reputation for its flinty dry interpretation of this noble white grape.
I’m really excited about these wines, and hope members enjoy them.
Sarah Knowles MW
The Wine Society’s Tastings & Events programme offers a wide range of events throughout the year across the United Kingdom and also in Montreuil.
Our aim is to bring The Wine Society to our membership and provide a series of both formal and informal tastings where those attending can sample an array of wines in an atmosphere that suits them.
Whether this is a relaxed walk-around tasting at a large venue, an intimate tutored tasting with some of the biggest names in the wine trade or an informative dinner here in Stevenage there will always be something for you to enjoy no matter what your level of wine knowledge.
Check out these videos that give you an insight into both our team and our events. You can find out what’s coming up here - we look forward to welcoming you!
Tastings & Events Team
What do you think of when you heard the words ‘Bordeaux’ and ‘wine’?
Value? White wine? Sweet wine? All three of these components are arguably overlooked in this vast region, spanning over 10,000 properties.
Recently we caught up with two of our most valued and long-term Bordeaux suppliers, Basaline Granger Despagne and Fabrice Dubourdieu to discuss just that. You can take a look at the video there and browse some of our Joanna Locke MW’s best buys from the region (available until this Sunday) here.
Drinking fine wines at their delicious peak is one of life’s great pleasures – all the more so when the price one paid for it is a distant memory.
In this short video, head of buying Tim Sykes and wine buyer Joanna Locke MW discuss the benefits of laying down fine wines, from the changes that occur in bottle over time to the special moment when the cork is pulled.
Fine Wine Manager
We’ve been absolutely delighted with members’ response to the Blind Spot wines so far, and heartened to see several critics praise them too. ‘Blind Spot’ is an exclusive range of Australian wines that aims to provide genuine expressions of authentic Australian regional styles at affordable prices.
Jancis Robinson called them ‘outstanding value by any measure’, and we’ve just seen a review of the new range (published yesterday) by Sarah Ahmed, aka thewinedetective which may be of interest to members. (Please note: the Rutherglen Muscat mentioned in this piece will be available very soon).
‘Hats off to Mac Forbes, chief sourcer, or is that sorcerer?’ – Sarah Ahmed
Mac Forbes, one of Australia’s most talented winemakers, acts as our man on the ground for the Blind Spot range, utilising both his impeccable contacts and regional knowledge to source cuvées from throughout Australia.
Blind Spot in Mac Forbes’ own words
You can find out a little more about the range in this interview with Mac:
Society Buyer for Australia
Have you ever thought about coming to one of The Society’s tastings? We hold over 100 annually, ranging from informal, walk-around tastings to gala dinners via tutored tastings, workshops and more.
You can see a full calendar on our website, but the Tastings Team has also put together this short video to give a flavour of what members coming to a Society tasting might expect. We hope you enjoy it!
What’s it like being a wine buyer here at The Wine Society?
Jo Locke MW tells us in this short video.
Society members’ appetite for video seems to be growing, if the feedback we’ve received is anything to go by.
This includes this very blog, where my colleague Gareth Park’s article on wine and video back in April was met with an encouraging response.
In case members have missed the most recent of our forays into this medium, then, the latest Society videos can be found below. We hope you enjoy them and welcome any feedback, good or bad.
Wine Without Fuss
Society buyers Tim Sykes and Pierre Mansour discuss our popular subscription scheme, providing members with great wines, selected and delivered with the minimum of fuss…
The wonderful wines of Barberani have been rightly popular with Society members for some time. Here, the charming Bernardo Barberani discusses his wines, the beautiful region of Orvieto and his long-standing relationship with The Wine Society.
Vicky Mareque from Pazo de Señorans on The Society’s Exhibition Albariño
The newest addition to our flagship Exhibition range is a pure, peachy and delightful white sourced from one of Galicia’s leading estates in a magnificent vintage, all of which Vicky Mareque talks about here.
Jane Hunter OBE from Hunter’s Wines on The Society’s Exhibition Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
The ‘First Lady’ of New Zealand wine discusses this delicious Exhibition-label sauvignon blanc and how sauvignon winemaking has developed in the region.
Michael Brajkovich MW from Kumeu River on The Society’s Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay
New Zealand’s first Master of Wine talks about this exclusive single-vineyard chardonnay, sourced from his world-renowned Auckland estate.
The 2013 Wine Champions have now been unveiled; the result of our buyers blind-tasting some 534 wines to find the perfect bottles for drinking now. We hope you enjoy the fruits of 17 painstaking, labour-intensive and thoroughly enjoyable tasting sessions.
And the winners are…
You can browse the winners online here, whilst those wishing to find out more can enjoy the following video interview with The Society’s head of buying, Tim Sykes, on the 2013 Championship, including footage of the tastings:
There were also several things I wasn’t able to reveal owing to the embargo on announcing winners until the publication of the offer. I am now delighted to be able to divulge them!
• The under-£6 red that became the most successful champion in the entire 13-year history of Wine Champions, winning an unprecedented clean sweep of full marks from every taster.
Take a bow, The Society’s French Full Red!
• The under-£8 sherry that stole the Fortified tasting with its remarkable, brain-boggling array of flavours (and for that matter the similarly priced sweet wine that impressed among grand cru classics at 10 times the price).
Romate Maribel Amontillado and Cono Sur Riesling Noble, 2011 respectively.
The Society’s Chilean Chardonnay, Limarí Valley was yet again a giant-killing star of the chardonnay tasting. Its combination of richness and refinement reminded a number of us of Burgundy: some testament to the striking quality and value we continue to find in this popular wine and in the Limarí Valley region as a whole.
• And the grower that bagged a rare hat-trick of Champions (no mean feat when pitted against some 500+ opponents).
This honour went to three showstopping, crystalline German rieslings from Weingut Von Kesselstatt, available to try in a special six-bottle mixed case put together to celebrate the achievement.
All that remains is to wish you happy drinking – do let us know what you think – and to advise those looking for a special bottle in due course that the 2013 Fine Wine Champions will be unveiled in August’s Fine Wine List.
The USB wine tap: a beautifully simple idea.
A quick connection into the laptop or PC and a whole world of wine opens up beneath the fingertips, or indeed taste buds. With a built-in tap to dispense the wine being browsed on screen, such a device would revolutionise wine buying; the click-to-sip ratio would no doubt send delivery companies and wine drinkers into a frenzy, albeit for very different reasons.
If only such a device existed…which of course it doesn’t.
While the technology of winemaking has evolved hugely over the last century methods of wine communication have been somewhat slower. The written word still is still very much king (‘And rightly so!’ chorus my copywriter colleagues), be it in print or via digital media, and with such elegant exponents as Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson and, if I may mention in such hallowed company, our very own Janet Wynne Evans, who am I to disagree?
However, as fanciful as the idea of having wine-via-wireless is, we do have the next best thing: video.
We now have the chance to see for ourselves the many shades of gold, lemon, straw and the million and one other descriptors for white wine and to compare the brickish orange of a well-aged Rioja to the vibrant purples of a youthful new world shiraz. And of course we are able to find out others’ opinions on wines and, hopefully, better inform our own vinous choices.
In this short video Simon Mason, The Wine Society’s Tasting & Events manager, highlights two of the gems from the 2011 vintage for white Bordeaux and talks through the growing conditions as well as providing a few tips about serving temperature along the way.
Seeing is believing? You decide.
We hope you enjoy it.
Marketing Campaign Manager for Bordeaux