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Richard Hemming applauds the Society


#1

https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/the-wine-society-pushes-the-boundaries

Interesting bit. Read the notes, rather than rely on the scores. Could apply that to life as well really.


#2

@JulianFox

Tried to read the article, sadly only for members!!
Wasted my time.


#3

That’s a shame. It’s applauding the unfashionable wines, the unfashionable and unusual grape varieties.

So one would expect the ‘traditional’ Society to have the traditional wines, not so.


#4

@JulianFox

If one requires the unfashionable or the unusual then I am sure that there are places to buy them. But not many, and they will be subsidised by the bigger selling wines.
These categories of wine are generally not commercial, so quite why would any sensible merchant or even Wine Society wish to stock them and then sell them on at a loss or at cost.
Those who think that there is money to made should set up a business and sell them.
Here is sold the more modern and brilliant Perrin Gigondas Tourelles, if you want “old school” Gigondas, there is Cayron. And judging how quickly the 2010 Cayron sold out, then traditional is alive and well at the Society. The 2016 flew out of the door.
If you want traditional Bordeaux, then Cissac normally features on the EP list, but so does the more modern Roc de Cambes which have “utterly delighted” members who have purchased the wine.
In my opinion, anybody applauding “the unfashionable and unusual” is encouraging stockists across our sceptred isles into the grasping claws of Debt Administrators, unscrupulous Banking Arms, the HMRC concluding with Court Hearings, Home Repossession and penury as the way out.
I think that unfashionable or unusual can be paraphrased by " anyone who has tasted them once does not want to again!!", they do not make money.
Mind you, if you encounter a Syrah type grape or even a Grenache on your travels, that no one has heard of, then please let me know! lol


#5

Well, if that’s going to be the definition, then yes.

But there are other reasons for being unfashionable and unusual. How about this one?

How is a wine grape that 99.8%* of the wine-buying public have never heard of ever going to be fashionable? Yet it’s sold out, within the week I think. It has its fans, including me. I can’t see why it has to be a loss-maker, so long as the society doesn’t get over-enthusiastic in buying it. Clearly they could do with upping their order next time.

And fashion is a fickle mistress. Once upon a time last century, amongst the most expensive wines on any wine list would be a Liebfraumilch. Obviously that is now a deeply unfashionable wine, yet would you have wanted the Society to lock onto that sort of thing without exploring other replacements? Those replacements in say Austria and even Australia were once unfashionable and unexplored.

TL;DR version - there are differrent reasons for being unfashionable and unusual. Some are to be embraced, others to be avoided.

(* - a statistic just made up by me)


#6

yup, i’d never heard of it before i bought the Burlotto mixed case, now i’m a pelaverga convert and eagerly await the time i can buy more.


#7

I understand where your coming from but that is not totally the picture, there is always room for the niche suppliers and some do very well, this is a good example and they have been around awhile.

https://shop.lescaves.co.uk/lescaves-shopfront


#8

@cerberus

Seems ok.
But for example the 2016 Mas du Libian is £13.35 a bottle there.
I bought a case of it EP here at £10.60 in January.
Niche suppliers like this one have overheads that can only be recouped by higher prices, the scale, volume and the Co-operative philosophy that the WS operates with; happily gives us an advantage that few can compete with. Not always the case, but generally true.

And besides that, my 'iccle brain can hardly cope with the huge volume of wines and differing styles here at the WS.
For example, after a search yesterday, I found that the Society had just released their Exhibition Hermitage Rouge 2014 :grinning: made for us by Chave. Not the same as his Grand Vin but that currently sells at around £180 per bottle, we get a cuvee made by Chave which comprises of his surplus capacity wine from his own vineyards and some bought in barrels from fellow Hermitage producers. Vinous rated the Chave 2014 Grand Vin at 95-97 and John Livingston-Learmonth 4.5 Stars, so 2014 is a good vintage. The biggest selling point is that we get access to a Chave Hermitage cuvee for £39.00 per bottle, which is 22% of the price of his best wine!! This is an example of £39 for a bottle of wine that is a bargain and according to the notes ready to drink. Me, I’ll keep most of my case for 5-10 years as Hermitage normally improves substantially with age. I learnt my lesson when I purchased only a few bottles of the 2007 which turned out to be utterly gorgeous, I did not make the same mistake with the 2010. And I do so hope that the Society has purchased a shedful of the 2015 & 2016!!
If you like Hermitage, this is one way of getting a Chave Hermitage Cuvee with the associated “fairy dust” at almost 80% off the price of the Grand Vin. Don’t miss it!:wink:


#9

Not when I have just unloaded my Chave Hermitage 1995 6 case for some ridiculous figure, I wont be around to enjoy any 2015s or similar so will only buy odd bottles that are mature and I have many in my cellar, as I will with any wine that needs time, to be honest my taste is changing as I get older anyway.
I find that I am drinking a lot less of my auslese class rieslings now as one glass is enough so have to find an occasion to share, the newer dryer rieslings are easier and just as enjoyable in a different way to drink, same with many reds.
Now don’t take this the wrong way as I have no knowledge of the WS ex hermitage, but in effect that is the equivalent of Bordeaux second wines or near enough, and as far as Bordeaux is concerned despite being in many cases decent drinks they ride on the coat tails of a name, they are often described as “having the essence” of the Grand Vin at the prices they are now asking they b… well should do.
I am probably after all the years I have been drinking wine a bit to cynical but with good reason on many occasions.
There are some cracking wines out of the mainstream people on here like szaki1974 as one example have brought eastern european wines to the table, I on my older Italian trips found some cracking wines in unfashionable places, the truth is the market place is only so big, we as a country are almost unique in having access to all the worlds wines you just don’t see the same ranges in mainland Europe because they mainly drink their own, we don’t.
In a couple weeks I will be in the southern Rhone it will not be to buy CNDP as most you can buy cheaper here I have found, it will be to try and dig out the best of the satelite regions, we are staying a few nights in Gigondas which is a good base, this is my third visit to the area and I am more au fait with it now, it takes awhile to get the bearings in all the wine regions research helps but it is never the same as actually being there.


#10

I buy more Gigondas than CNdP, certainly better value.
But Coudoulet from good vintages is normally a winner,
And red Beaumes very surprising on its day.
Given that you will be there in a few weeks the roads may run red for you!!
Have an enjoyable and safe trip.