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Do you have a house wine?

I regularly see people talking about ‘house wines’ - affordable, everyday bottles they buy in volume to provide reliable enjoyment.

I’m a big believer that the world would be a boring place if everyone thought the same, but I have to say I struggle with the whole concept of house wines. For me, one of the biggest joys (and frustrations) of wine is that if I live to 100 I’ll never have time to try everything I’d like to. I’ve been enjoying wine for 20 years (albeit as a more serious ‘hobby’ for less than half of that) and with a little help from family and friends I get through maybe 120-130 bottles a year. Of those probably 110-120 are unique bottles. Yet I’ve barely scratched the surface of France, let alone other amazing countries and regions.

I’m interested in other people’s opinions, especially if they have a regular house wine. Is it a case of:

  • Being able to reach for something reliable and undemanding when you feel like it - avoiding the occasional frustration of being lumbered with an unenjoyable bottle of something you haven’t tried before?
  • Knowing what you really like having already got to grips with the main varietals, regions etc?
  • Catering for the fixed tastes of spouses/partners/other drinking buddies?
  • Enjoying the convenience/value of buying in cases?
  • Mixing exploration with old reliables? (I know having a house wine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy variety and experimentation as well)
    …or other reasons?
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I keep some of the cheap TWS wines in the kitchen rack for times when I just want to grab a bottle.

Otherwise for many years now I ensure we have The Society’s Montepulciano as we have it with pasta and we have pasta most weeks, the Mrs M buys cases of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc when its 25% off at Sainsbury for Friday fish.

And I have lots of the basic white label Beyerskloof Pinotage, bought from Tesco at 25% off where it can work out to £4.50 a bottle, and goes a treat with a curry or last minute Indian takeway.

Oh, I also make sure we have plenty of sparkling wine, but I like to have a range of Champagne, Cava, MCC, English, Loire and Blanquette de Limoux.

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Not really. Variety is the spice of life and all that. Repetition seems to breed ennui with me (though I do mostly buy wine in half dozens but usually consume over a year or more).

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Yes, here are my choices. All red, as the whites that I like (German Riesling and Vouvrays) are not often to most guests’ tastes.

These are all very classy wines.

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We have house WINES plural … they change with the season, food, (and availability) - please excuse the spelling, it’s Friday.

Muscadet Ratailles, reliably excellent. Chablis, anything Brocard depending on the occasion & budget.

Champagne. TWS Brut (always good - if you give it a few extra years) and Veuve Clicquot Yellow - fantastic, but involves canny purchasing because massively overpriced…

Reds - I’m ‘bee in a meadow’ anything & everything - will explore a region in some depth and then move on. Beaujolais Cru is something I will always come back to - still searching for that perfect Morgon.

@Templeton selection - I whole heartedly agree - all are excellent.

I feel it as all about context: place, company, food, self… wine is just an adjunct and little more.

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I guess we don’t really have a “house” wine that I buy in bulk, but I do have a couple that I tend to drop into most orders and ensure a ready supply of. I kind of think of them as wines for nights when we don’t want to think about choosing a wine and will reach for a favourite - or for when friends unexpectedly pop round (a concept popular from approximately 1945 - March 2020).

Recently replacing the Cava as per @peterm’s wise relationship advice with:

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CT claims I have bought 126 bottles of Vina Ardanza (I think that neatly includes 6 Magnums) in the last decade, so I’d be more than happy to consider that a house wine, whilst at the same time, I’m not sure it entirely fits in with the spirit of the OP. :smiley:

Unfortunately, I don’t record day-to-day wines on there anymore, with my lax record keeping I’d be drowning in false-stock, but it’s likely in that same timeframe that we have come close to buying the same amount of Tesco/Plaimont Réserve des Tuguets Madiran (usually picked up in a buy 6 get 25% off). I think, apart from Faustino I and periodical knock-down Champagne/Cava, it’s the only wine I’ve bought from Tesco in years (but that is another thread altogether!). That most definitely fits the remit. We drink quite a bit of wine, and that is a tremendous cannon fodder of a bottle :blush:

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I was lucky enough to go to a very posh Bordeaux tasting in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. While I was the Barton table savouring my first ever taste of their wonderful (albeit young) wines, a gentleman who had all the look of the landed gentry about him came up. He quickly tasted through the wines, then declared: “I do like Langoa Barton, it’s our house wine you know” and walked off again.

So there’s a wine for every house, I guess. I strongly suspect his house is a bit larger than mine.

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Maybe with separate house wines for the East Wing and the West Wing…

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Similar to some other posters - I don’t really have a ‘house wine’ as such. I love exploring, and repetition - in wine and in life in general - just doesn’t appeal.

Having said that, over the years I’ve homed-in on what my preferred styles are, and which wines are likely to easily please, so of those I now tend to buy a few - but rarely more than, say, 3 or 4 bottles at a time. If I did have such a category, I would probably reach out for this Marcillac for a red:

Or this Alsatian blend for a white:

Ultimately, though, I am at my happiest tasting each opened bottle as a tabula rasa (though, of course, comparisons and the comfort of experience are inevitable).

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The closest I’ve ever had was a happy period following an incident where I accidentally bought 20 odd cases of Joseph Perrier NV NV Champagne. These days we have things I’ve bought in bulk which become a common theme for a while - if not strictly a house wine. Negres del Aspres 2004 (Catalan red), Paul Bara Brut NV Champagne, Wegeler Bernkasteler Doctor Spatlese Trocken 2004 have been old friends for a while. Having recently moved out of town we are doing more entertaining with people we don’t know (/don’t know well) so am increasingly seeing the merit of a decent cheaper house wine. Dveri Pax white from TWS is a good example.

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Thanks all - some great replies there. And despite my scepticism the house wines on display don’t feel too much of a chore to drink regularly, some classy examples there.

@Tannatastic’s ‘cannon fodder’ description made me laugh😂

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I also don’t wish to limit my choices and have a house wine. But…. if you were forced to limit your house wines, my relatively low cost enjoyable ones would be:

New world red = Rolf binder
Old world red = Finca Resalso

New world white - Rustenberg Waitrose offer perennial
Old world - Rioja blanco

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Loving this new thread. For me a house wine is a weekday wine, the weekend is the perfect time for something special, different or adventurous.

This would be my house wine if I had an east and west wing!

In reality I’ve bought enough bottles of this that its really my house wine right now

Once supplies have dwindled I’ll probably move on to this as my next house red

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Was this the excuse you used originally, and it’s just kind of become the established truth after repeating it for so many years? :smiley:

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Good thread, posing an interesting question.

I looked at this more in terms of which wines I have frequently, or which I don’t like to be without, as opposed to ‘cheap and cheerful’. Having tried to cut down on quantity, I’ve felt more freedom to drink regularly at a slightly higher average price.

The wine I must have in the house is Chianti Classico, in particular Fontodi. It is gorgeous for the price and goes with so much of what I tend to cook.

Eg.

In the winter, stocks of Alain Brumont’s Chateau Bouscasse are important. His cheapest wine, I believe, but it hits all the right notes to go with winter eating.

Eg.

Then there needs to be some Chablis, some ‘round’ white burgundy and some Riesling (from Alsace, Austria or Germany). Quite what we have to cover those bases varies.

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I only get through around 75 bottles a year so it’s a little hard to have variety and have any sort of house wine! I do have a number of midweek cheaper wines that I keep returning to including (but not limited to):

Interestingly enough I don’t really have a house Bordeaux, the region I probably drink the most from. Maybe because I like it so much I demand more variety from Bordeaux?

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It was an auction purchase; I put in a low-ball commission bid for a parcel and it came in.

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Generally I am very much about breadth of wine and usually am far more mixed case than case buyer. I generally agree with you on the concept house wine. However, it’s occasionally nice to just have something you can grab regardless of the occasion and feel too bad about glugging (or not finishing). I usually have a case of something white for that purpose which so far this summer has been Domain Barou Bonne Etoile Viognier, which I pick up a case of every Rhone EP and is now The Curator (which has been on offer in various places for a lot less than that).

I also always have a case of

in

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Oooh, I’ve just noticed this has moved on to the 2018 vintage too.