Press tasting - 10th July 2023. The roundup

Right then, the story of my adventure down at the press tasting.

First off, the key info and platitudes.

  • I’m obviously a very privileged member to have had this opportunity. The buyers and staff are all absolutely wonderful, and went out of their way to be welcoming. And Toby is way taller than expected.
  • The endurance of the professionals is something to be admired. We managed to squeeze all 65 wines, plus 3 spirits, into the four hours we were there. By about wine 35, I was knackered, my palate felt like an old shoe, and my concentration was definitely flagging. It’s just absolutely intellectually knackering to smell, taste and write about that many wines. By contrast, the professionals just breezed through in half the time, strolling through, scribbling furiously. Although one famous wine writer was spotted accidentally knocking over one of the glasses……
  • The tables were organised by buyer, with most of the buyers present and stood behind answering our silly questions. The layout is a big U-shape, with spittoons in the middle. Which means careful spittoon etiquette is needed, lest you try to access a spittoon at the same time as someone tasting from another table. To quote the film “Ghostbusters”, no crossing streams.
  • A special shout out to Freddy Bulmer, for not only having great wines and being a delight to talk to, but for having the sheer bravado of wearing stylish WHITE trousers to a wine tasting.
  • @Lincoln and I wandered around together, and it was an absolute pleasure to chat to them, and compare notes. Fortunately we agreed on pretty much everything.

Toby Morrhall’s selection

Quimay Vallue de Uco Los Arboles Chardonnay 2021 - £9.95

  • A fresh, straightforward chardonnay. Apples all over the place. Basic, but in a good way. Easy drinking is not an insult.

Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne Aligote 2020 - £17.00

  • Really nice golden colour. Very good fruit. Sharp and acidic, in a nice and refreshing rather than a cleaning-product way. There was a pinch of nutmeg on the finish, possibly due to some oak aging. A long finish. Comes from older vines and lower yields, an interesting wine

Ben Marco Sin Limites Gualtallary Chardonnay 2021 - £21.00

  • A chardonnay with extremely well judged oak. Just a smidgen. Like roasted apples with a blob of butter on the top. Has the balance of a ballet dancer. Very Burgundian, except in price tag.

Ignacio Recabarren Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2021 - £13.95

-INSANE nose. Such a strong smell, like sticking your face in a pile of blackcurrant leaves. Apparently a low sulphur wine, which brings out stronger fruit. I could just sniff this all day. The fruit is blackcurrants, with bright acidity. My final note just reads “BUY THIS WINE!”

Quimay Valle de Uco Las Chacayes Cabernet Franc 2021 - £9.95

  • “Takes you back to school, with all the pencil shavings” (an actual quote from Toby, and a perfect description of the smell). Graphite. Nice acidic bite, maybe slightly more tannic than a Loire equivalent. A food wine

Quimay Valle de Uco Malbec 2020 - £9.95

  • Gimme steak! Or other massive lump of protein. A more tarred nose. Sweeter, fruit from a cooler climate. Tannic finish, puckering mouthfeel, plums. Did I mention it needs steak?

Quimay valle de Uco La Consulta Malbec 2022 £13:95

  • A step up the range here, from a single, cooler area within the valley. Cracking nose, due to the limestone soil apparently. Clearly more complex than the previous wine. Blackcurrants, a more floral wine. Maybe slightly less puckering and dry, but still a food wine.

Per Se Inseperable Gualtallary Malbec 2019 - £36:00

  • Very dark wine, near black. Perfumed nose, lots of violets, and many other flowers. A complex bouquet that smells like a complex bouquet. Like wandering in a big garden. Long elegant finish, with no oak used, so it is super-fruity but not astringent. Really good, but not quite sure if it is worth the price tag. Still a cracking good wine though.

Wonderful vividly written tasting notes, some of the best I have ever read.


Freddy Bulmer’s selection
Wildman Wine Astro Bunny Pet Nat 2022 £26.00

  • I wanted to hate this wine. It’s a pet-nat, with a I’m-so-wacky name, crown cap, and picture of a cartoon rabbit thingy on the label. Waaaay too hipster. But then I drank it, and absolutely loved it. Don’t just a wine by the label. Or actually do, because this is a wacky wine with a wacky label. It smells terrific, something to sip as an aperitif whilst wandering through the garden in summer. Crazy peach juice with an angostura bitters finish. Mad! Crazy! Fun! Hard to believe it is made from grapes. Hats off to Freddy for finding this wine. Not sure what type of hat this wine would wear. Maybe a hipster bowler hat. Or a clown top-hat-and-wig ensemble.

Wildman wine Piggy Pop Pet Nat 2022 £26.00

  • I was still recovering from the previous wine here. It’s slightly sweeter than the Astro bunny, and in my view, not quite as good, though @lincoln thought the opposite. Mad cherry pop.

The society’s Austrian Riesling 2022 - £9.95

  • Fun. Simple. Apples, fresh acidity, very mild on the whole petrol thing. More like a hybrid car than an out-and-out petrol car. The finish is waaaay longer than a ten pound wine has a right to be.

The society’s Exhibition Kamptal Gruner Veltliner 2022 - £14.50

  • Pears and white pepper. Fresh. Something to have in summer, possibly with a quiche at lunchtime. Has a flinty edge, and a slightly smoky finish. Freddy assures me this can age.

The society’s Exhibition Hunter Valley Semillon 2018 - £18

  • A powerful nose. Makes you recoil, then go straight back for more. Smokiness, mixed with sea air. Oddly reminiscent of islay whisky. Tastes very fresh, electric, more sea air with a distinct lanolin element. Like taking a sheep for a bracing seaside walk

Grove Mill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022 - £9.95

  • Another big nose here. Big black current leaf. Tastes of passion fruit, gooseberries, nettles. Lots of freshness. Crucially, this is a wine that knows when to stop, not overdone like other Marlborough SBs. An absolute delight.

Familie Mantler Gelber Muskateller, Niederosterreich 2022 - £10.50

  • This grape was unfamiliar, but turns out it is just muscat with added letters. Has that obviously grape-like character of muscat, but not over-the-top on the nose. Very balanced taste, acid and crisp. Summer sunshine lunch wine. Surprisingly, killed my hatred of muscat, which is quite an achievement, though not one that helps me narrow down my wine choices. This is because of the balance of aromatics and fresh acidity.

Silver lining Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2021 - £15.50

  • Oooh, this is a good one. Smells of star anise, and some medicinal herbal character. Reminiscent of cough medicine, so it is like being ill, but in a very good way. Lavender and parma violets. Very balanced and fruity, but not at all jammy. Which is good (jamminess is close to evil, in my book of wine).

Forage Supply co Rib Tickler Barossa Shiraz 2021 - £22.50

  • Very dark colour. Not one to drink in close proximity to Freddy’s stylish white trousers. Barossa shiraz is often associated with the unrestrained jammy fruit, but not here. This is much more gentle than that. More of a caress and whisper than a punch and a shout. No oak here, but plenty of fruit. All the fruit, all the freshness, none of the flabbiness or jam. Very good indeed.

(don’t tell the other buyers, but this might, just might, have been my favourite table)


Marcel Orford-Williams’ selection

Cremant de Savoie, Entre Amis, Brut Zero NV - £21.00

  • Between friends, I found this to be a one-glass wonder. This isn’t an insult, more a reflection that this is perfect to have as a single glass, just before a meal. One is enough. Apple freshness on the nose. All about the freshness. Fresh dry, refreshing, cleans your palate leaving it freshly fresh. No brioche yeastiness here, just dry fresh sappy freshness.

Weissburgunder, Mittlerhein 2021 - £12.50

  • Slight grape-y character, but mostly yellow plum. A fair bit of acidic bite, pretty minerally with no flabbiness. A steel fencing sword of a wine. Clean, steely, straight to the point. Yum

Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spatlese, Zilliken, 2009

  • Lovely dark colour, with a proper Riesling petrol nose, with some smoke in there. In most areas of life, smoke and petrol is a bad combination, but in this wine it works very well. Mouth is instant sweet fruit, reminiscent of yellow raspberries. Nicely balanced sweetness, no oak. Could probably age perfectly between now and the apocalypse. Apparently this is Marcel’s Christmas day wine of choice. All round to his place then, because it is a fine choice.

Les Baux de Provence Rose, Chateau Romanin 2022 - £17.50

  • Onion skin colour, your classic provence rose. Good nose, very herbal. Some slight tannic character. Lots of mineral, but mostly garrigue. Thyme. A serious wine. Close your eyes, and instantly you are transported to a hillside in Provence. Open them up again, and tragically you are in a conference centre in London.

The Society’s Corsican Rose, 2022 - £10.50

  • Another fashionable pale rose. I’ve had white wines that were darker in colour. Good nose. Note – no foil (a.k.a bottle cummerbund) on this number. A tiniest hint of rose-ness here, but could be a white whine really. Big peachy fresh number, but maybe, in my view, a bit of a shrug, and not very exciting. Your mileage may vary.

Chateau Saint Esteve, Rondoletto, IGP Mediterranee 2021 - £10.95

  • Fresh, fun nose. Raspberry colour. One to drink slightly cool rather than room temperature. Like raspberry juice with a bitter cherry finish, a smidgen of spice and black pepper.

Spatburgunder Markgraflerland Martin Wassmer - £15.50

  • Big smokey nose. Raspberries and earth. Refreshing and fruit forward. Has a slightly vegetal character, to remind you that you are drinking a grown up pinot. Not burgundy. But good.

Gamay les Volcans, Puy de Dome, Cave Saint-Very, 2020 - £9.95

  • Slightly smokey again (a common tasting note today). A proper gamay, with that rubber shoe thing going on. Not quite as fruity as a typical Beaujolais, being a bit more structured. More acid, more tannin.

Matthew Horsley’s selection
The Society’s exhibition English Sparkling NV – £24.00

  • Apple, apple, apple, apple! No, wait, there is something in there that isn’t quite like biting into an apple. Oh yes, it’s a waft of apple pip. It does have a lemon bit there, and a mildly pastry element. The perfect apple pie. This is very good indeed. Fresh and elegant, dry but not drying.

Olasrizling Feind, 2022 - £7.50

  • Not a lot of nose, but also not a lot of money. Much more palate though. Floral (jasmine specifically), apple, fresh. Good value

Simpson’s gravel castle Chardonnay 2022 - £18.00

  • This has a nose that is absolutely all about the honeydew melon. Tastes green in a good way, with more melon, greengage, a twist of lime. Quite yeasty, not surprising given it was aged on lees. Wasn’t terribly impressed by this one.

Marty McFly Furmint, Balassa, 2022 - £13.50

  • Not much nose, but MUCH more on the taste. Creamy, full and round. Like a baked apple drowning in cream. Short finish though.

Martinea Mochelfilero ‘A prori’ Novus 2022

  • A lot of nose, not as much on the palate. An inverse of the Hungarian wines. Maybe some greek-hungarian blend would provide the best of both worlds. The nose here is MASSIVE, grapey. Herbal and floral. Taste is more of the same. Long dry finish

G & L Moscheofilero Roditis Agiorgitiko Rose, Kintonis - £8.95

  • This is just stunning value – insanely cheap for the quality. Bargain and full of character. This one is fresh and floral on the nose, with some texture and tannin. Raspberries, rosehips, wild strawberries. Buy. Far superior to any comparable provencal rose.

Rose de Xinomavro, Thymiopoulous 2021 - £13.50

  • Yes, we know this is a cult wine. But WOW! WOW! WOW! Unique. A salmon pink colour, almost orange. Bitter marmalade oranges, herbal woody nose. Cherries and cherry pips. Technically, a rose wine, but really doesn’t taste anything like a typical rose. Got some orange wine grip, but better by a country mile than any orange wine I have had. Very long finish. This is the only wine we went back to, after finishing the tasting. Some people may find it polarising because it is unique and different to other roses. Like a well known yeast based spread, you may either love it or hate it. You can guess where I sit.

The society’s Exhibition Naoussa Xinomavro, 2020 - £14.95

  • Smells of cherry pips, tastes herbal, probably most like bay leaves, with more cherries and cherry pips. Fruity and forward, but still serious. A very pleasant young Xinomavro, not a big tannic beast for ageing.

Yes, the bar is set very high for future attendees.


I’m loving the very personal opinions AND no 'points out of 20 (or whatever) - great reading.

Did you make it to the apres tasting wrap up? ((I didnt - and a profound regret))

A tiny question: 65 wines and 3 spirits. I noted 30+ sets of notes which is astounding. After the last tasting I took a few weeks to get my full set of notes up on the site ! are we looking forward to more or is that down to the other community taster?

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Great notes, a real tour de force. Admirable stamina to get through all that and still have the wherewithal to write with suck clarity. Bravo!

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Thank you for the great notes, and I am impressed with how you have managed it faster than any of us did it before.
The Quimay Malbec impressed me at the AGM tasting, so good to have your views as well. But now I may have to add the Cabernet Franc.


Great notes, and so quickly done! Like @lapin_rouge, it took me some time to get myself together and write it all up, so I doff my cap. Bravo!


Joanna Locke MW’s selection

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Cap Classique Brut - £12.95

  • Sparkling bargain! Apple pip, lovely freshness but still a bit of weight. A wine to drink with fish and chips.

The society’s Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2022 – £9.75

  • This one has a big picture of a prawn on the label, as a serving suggestion. I’d endorse that. Big nose for a ten pound wine. Jasmine, some other floral elements. Grapey freshness. Salinity and apples, and a fuller mouthfeel than you would expect. Much cheaper than an equivalent over the border in Galicia, Spain. Another ten-pound-bargain from the society.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles 2021 - £8.25

  • Give me a big plate of shellfish here. Clean, fresh, no messing around. Melon and melon pips. Quite light. A Ronseal wine (as in, “does exactly what it says on the tin”, rather than “made in a chemicals factory on the Wirral”).

Adega de Redondo Mare Viva Rose, Alentejano, 2022 - £6.75

  • A big nosed wine. Herby. Rosemary. Fresh and dry. Cheap and fairly cheerful.

Touraine Rose, Domaine des Echardieres, 2022, - £9.95

  • Much more fruity than the Portuguese number. Darker fruits, coming from the Malbec in the blend. A good food wine. Much more depth than you might expect. Has “character and personality”, according to the very wonderful Jo Locke. And she is right.

The Society’s Portuguese Red, Peninsula de Setubal, 2022 - £6.25

  • Good nose for a bargain wine, quite smokey. Strawberries here. No messing around. Very slightly jammy, which puts me off, but should be a proper bargain for many.

Saumur Rouge “les plantagenets” Cabernet Franc, 2021 - £9.25

  • Green leafy nose, green pepper (but not overly so), a fresh red wine. A lunchtime wine. Raspberry, bit of a herbal character in a good way. Lead pencil.

Andre van Rensburg Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Stellenbosch, 2020 – £21.00

  • I think I may have got into trouble over this one. I was chatting with Jo, telling her about how much I enjoy the Vergelegen wines, and therefore how much I was looking forwards to tasting these. Then I tasted it, and proceeded to tell her that it was bit of an anti-climax. If she was disappointed with my response, she hid it well. It all felt a little restrained, tightly wound. There is plumminess, slight graphite, cassis, and a long finish. We agreed that it was a very young wine (vin-fanticide?), and that it has all the ingredients to be fabulous in future. Still might buy it and bury it in the back of the cellar. I therefore will put a big asterisk on this comment, as it feels like an unfair judgement

Great notes… so tempting … but I don’t need any more wine …

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Tim Syke’s selection
The society’s Fino. £7.25

  • Very fresh on the nose. Like a good saline nasal spray. Makes you wake up and take notice. Gets your senses all alert. Which I suppose is the point of an aperitif. Apples and pears, with nuts. Lots of almonds on the finish, perhaps with a slight nutmeg custard element (I’m describing a sherry here, but my notes read more like a dessert!). Fairly oxidative character, but still massively fresh. Criminally under-priced.

Chateau Cantegrieve Cuvee Caroline, Graves, 2018 - £22.50

  • I’m not massively familiar with white Bordeaux wines. Odd to think that claret is apparently the biggest selling red wine style sold by the society, but the white must be a much less popular beast. This one has a strong oak nose, with blackcurrant leaf from the sauvignon blanc. Very oaky. If you are a beaver, you will like this wine. This oakiness is balanced by the freshness and acidity, probably from the sauvignon, which means it isn’t flabby. Some lanolin in there too. If you like white Bordeaux, you will probably love this one.

Grezillac, Bordeaux Blanc, 2017 - £25.00

  • This one is more elegant, milder. Not too oaky. Round and textured. Just speaking personally, I think white Bordeaux isn’t as good as claret.

Beaujolais Cuvee Annie, Jacques Depagneux 2020 - £8.95

  • At this point, my notes read “could not be more Beaujolais”. Just textbook. Fresh, fun, fruity, but not much on the rubber that you sometimes get. Blackcurrants. Brilliant bargain

The society’s Beaujolais Village, 2022 - £10.50

  • More complex nose than the Depagneux wine, for the extra few pennies. Loganberry on the nose. Fresh juice and acidity. Darker fruits than other Beaujolais. At this point, there is a big scrawl on my notes that just reads “Beaujolais = bargain”

Sichel Bordeaux Merlot, 2022 - £7.95

  • Now, this one has caused a stink in the community. My personal view is that if it doesn’t have an etching of a chateau on the label, it isn’t proper Bordeaux. This is the wine with the label that looks like it was drawn up in five minutes on Microsoft Word 97, with a word cloud effect. The words are things like “merlot”, “fruity”, and the smallest font is reserved for “Bordeaux”. This just didn’t look good, for many of The Community, myself included. However, this label is actually a work of genius. To quote the great philosopher Dolly Parton “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap”. What we have here is technically a bordeaux wine, but it tastes absolutely nothing like a stereotypical claret. It is the fresh young punk, sticking it to the stuffed shirts. And this is all brilliantly summed up in the label, which clearly tries to be as far away as possible from a traditional claret.
    The wine is much closer to the Beaujolais in character. It’s young, fresh, fun. Raspberry, plumminess. To drink on its own. Tastes like pure merlot, no messing around with oak ageing or secondary characteristics. Really very nice indeed. My final note reads “death to the stuffed shirts”.
    (also, it’s no added sulphur, so good for people with allergies to sulphur)

Chateau Constant Lesquireau, Haut Medoc, 2018 - £8.95

  • This one could not be more claret if it tried. A million miles away from the Sichel young punk number. It is a massive amount of stereotypical, old-armchair claret, for an absolute stonking bargain price. Very new oak, pleasant tannins, bit of furniture polish. Cassis and plums. Maybe lacks the complexity and length of the finer wines, but to tell the truth, it is a perfect antidote to people who say you can’t find excellent classic Bordeaux for a bargain price. I have no idea how Tim got hold of Bordeaux of this quality, for this price.

Chateau Cap de Haut, Haut-Medoc, 2016 - £14.95

  • Apparently this is the second wine of this producer. It is paler and browner, showing signs of age. A properly rich, smokey, demerara sugar nose. Still fresh, mind. This is classy, rich, elegant, slight sweetness from the warm vintage but still balanced. Long finish. Tim was waxing lyrical about the 2016 vintage, and how it is his favourite vintage for claret.

Chateau Cos Labory, Saint Estephe 2014 - £34.00

  • This one is a big step up in price. I wasn’t too sure what to make of it. Bit of violet on the nose, with some demerara sugar richness. Some slight minty menthol character. Not too expressive, felt a bit restrained, held back. Quite drying tannins. I think we were more impressed by the cheaper clarets, certainly in relation to their price. Your mileage may vary.

Pierre Mansour’s selection

Herencia Altes Garnatxa Blanca, Terra Alta, 2022 - £11.50

  • Not much of a nose, but a fresh, herbal peppery, floral, aromatic flavour. Something like the smell of green wood, but not an oaky wine. Long finish. A food friendly wine

Rezabal Txacoli, Getariako Txakolina 2022, £12.50

  • A proper txakoli. Green, fresh, clean, with a slight spritz. All about the green apples (Granny Smith type things – you know, fruity but with an acidic bite). Not a big nose, but has a slightly lees-y character on the aftertaste, which I didn’t expect. Take me to the Basque country and feed me fish-based pintxos.

El Pacto Blanco, Rioja, 2021 £18.50

  • Now, white rioja isn’t normally my thing. Too much oak. So this was at a natural disadvantage. But it had a good oaky, creamy nose. The texture was terrific, so silky, notably for a white wine. The oak was there, obvious, yet well balanced. The fresh apple and pear fruit was balanced by the creaminess and the nutty finish. Sounds more like a autumnal dessert than a wine, but it was a great example of the genre.

Allende Blanco, Rioja, 2018 £24.00

  • A proper old school white rioja. Had a struck-match, phosophorous kind of flavour, with a slightly bitter finish. No real fruit, it was dominated by the secondary flavours from oak ageing. A brilliant wine, if this is your thing. Certainly not mainstream or boring.

Les Prunes Mando Rosado, Valencia, 2022 - £15.50

  • A pink wine that is very pink. Like, a very slightly paler version of Barbie pink (hungover, washed up Barbie?). Red fruit, raspberry, lovely dryness, with tannins and freshness. Didn’t do much for me, certainly at £15, but to be fair, I was well into palate-as-fresh-as-a-teenager’s-bedroom territory.

Luna Beberide Mencia, Bierzo, 2022- £10.50

  • Violet colour. Very purple. Like something Prince would wear. We are deep into watch-your-shirt territory. Like Beaujolais’ Spanish cousin. Light, fruity, needs to be very slightly chilled, has some minerality. More plummy than a Beaujolais.

Pepe Mendoza Mares de Luz Monastrell-Giro, Alicante, 2021 - £9.95

  • Very unusual nose. Strong and fruity. More fresh berries in the mouth. Perhaps loganberry. Very difficult to place. Crunchy berries anyway. A good one. Bargain territory.

Vilosell, Costers del Sagre Organic, 2020 - £11.95

  • Now, this one is a bit different. Excellent smell, lots of fruit, complex on the nose. Some burnt sugar maybe, rhubarb. A slight woody taste, with some slightly sweet strawberry and rhubarb character. Fleshy, long finish. Very good indeed. Another bargain.

Sarah Knowles MW’s selection

The Society’s champagne Brut NV

  • A classic here. Some very fine bubbles, in all senses of the word. Apples, freshly-baked shortbread, with some slight oaky creaminess. Richer and heavier than you might expect. A grown up wine, rather than the frivolity of cheaper sparkling wines.
    o Diversion time!!! At this point, it is traditional to compare English Sparkling Wine to Champagne, just so someone can point out that they are each their own product in their own way. Yes, the champagne is creamier, with more oak, a heavier wine, rather than the apple-fest that is the English Sparkling wine. But for my money, I preferred the ESW. England 1, France 0.

Grillo Punto 8 Sicilia Ottoventi, 2022 - £8.95

  • The nose is all peaches and sea air. On the palate it is more peaches, nectarines, minerality. It is a soft, gentle wine, as opposed to the acidic attention-grabbing shoutiness of say, NZ Sauvignon blanc, but not to the point of lacking any character. Lovely.

Half bottle of The Society’s Pinot Grigio 2022, £6.25 (for a half)

  • Pinot Grigio isn’t every going to be high on my list of favourite grape varieties. Too many memories of bland, tasteless wines. Here we mild greengage nose, tastes very fresh. Minerals and nectarines. Inoffensive, which is quite high praise for a pinot grigio in my book. I notice my tasting notes read “good for a pinot grigio”. Make of that what you will. Handy half bottle though! Picnic ready.

The Society’s Exhibition Soave, 2021 - £14.50

  • Yellow nectarines. Much fuller flavour and texture than the previous Italian whites. Fresh but generous. Nutty, slightly peppery finish. This would be perfect with a creamy pasta dish.

Pedroncelli Friends Red Sonoma County, 2019 - £12.95

  • We preceded tasting this wine by having a chat about our disappointment with Californian red blends, which we thought were either awfully bad or awfully expensive. This was the oly Californian wine on show, and our (very) low expectations were greatly exceeded. This one had red fruit and smoke on the nose, black cherry, cherry coke (without being confected), pomegranate. It has 12% zinfandel, but the zin character shines through. A barbecue wine. Maybe slightly cloying, but nothing like our bad experiences of most red Californian blends in this kind of price band.

Chianti Classico Brolio 2021 - £17.00

  • Slightly tarry nose, roses and tar on the finish. Not a big loud wine, a wine that is on the younger, fresher side of things. A cheeky teenager. Cherry pip on the finish. Lovely.

Half bottle of The Society’s Sicilian Reserve Red, 2019 - £5.25 Half Bottle

  • Somewhere, in a parallel universe, there is the perfect neighbourhood pizza restaurant. In that restaurant, they have a house red. It is this wine. Can be drunk perfectly with your slice of pizza, but also great on its own. Insanely good for the price. Raspberry, cherry pips and crunch. And all in a handy half bottle.

The Society’s Chambery Vermouth

  • I’m a vermouth novice (don’t judge me, please). This is a super interesting nose, it’s so refreshing. Like getting caught out in a summer rainstorm after a long hot intense day of wine tasting. Very herby, some fennel, possibly juniper. A perfect aperitif, easy yet complex. Suave.

The Society’s London Dry Gin 37.5% - £17 (70CL)

  • Big juniper, citrus, lemon rind, angelica. Fresh and clean as a whistle. Bargain. The kind of gin that goes with a cucumber garnish.

The society’s Gin High Strength 50% - £22.00 (70CL)

  • Have you ever tried to drink room temperature neat strong gin? As the last drink of the day, after tasting 60-odd wines? My tasting notes just read “a struggle without tonic!”. Sorry, unable to do it justice under the circumstances.

Final thoughts:

  • I know I’ve said it before, but tasting that many wines in a day is tough (cue world’s smallest violin). I admire the professionals and their efficiency and efficacy. I realise that this comes from experience. So it is only natural that the society should help me develop that experience and endurance, and regularly allow me the privilege of trying all those lovely wine. It’s for the best.
  • I really felt like a member of a bigger community, much more than anything else. I even had the actual CEO Steve Finlan, on one of his busiest days of the year, chase me to the lift as I was leaving, just so he could check that I had enjoyed my day and to wish me the best. Not only does the society stock lovely wine, they employ lovely people.

Wonderful and evocative notes, @Rio_Jano! Bravo! :clap::grin:

I remember feeling just that… Such a fantastic experience! :ok_hand:


Fantastic notes @Rio_Jano great to read and I’m somewhat in awe that you managed to juggle a wine glass, conversation with the buyers, and keeping a lucid set of written notes without repetition of comment for any of the wines !


Was it clear what the blend in this was? According to the blurb on the WS site, it is ‘Merlot-Cab Franc’; if you go to the pdf notes, it is Merlot, and the vineyard is planted 60% Cab Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.

Wow! What impressive (and speedy) notes @Rio_Jano and an absolute pleasure to meet you and @Lincoln
Having worked for other retailers who don’t invite customers, I really love that The Wine Society includes members at its Press Tastings, and am already looking forward to finding out who the lucky two will be for the next one. You really have set the bar rather high! :raised_hands: