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Summer press tasting - notes of a dirty young man



Well. That was fun! And also exhausting - these wine pros have some serious stamina.

Many thanks again to @Ewan for the invite and to @Cormski for being an excellent tasting buddy (his notes here). Despite the filthy weather (which actually seemed quite fitting for a tasting of wines for the British Summer), we made it along to Vinoteca fresh-faced and early, not quite sure how to approach the plethora of wines available. In the end we decided on going table to table, and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting the buyers and hearing the stories of the wines - and while their knowledge was of course impressive, what also shone through was their passion for the wines and the people behind them. A wonderful day, even if we ended up slightly rushed at the end, racing through our final table while the rest were being tidied up around us. Oops :flushed:

In reporting back, we’ve decided just to share all our thoughts on all the wines, but will add them table by table (each one hosted by a different buyer who selected wines from the Summer list to showcase). I’m a bit daunted by this, particularly given the high standard of notes from previous reviewers compared to my amateurish scribbles, so decided on a more experiential approach influenced by this classic French ditty:

Shebam! Pow! Blop! Wizz!

TWS Summer Press Tasting - A Second Opinion

Table 4 - @Freddy

2018 Blind Spot Yarra Valley Chardonnay 11.5% £ 10.95

First up was Freddy’s table with all the weird wines. Maybe this is the buying team’s equivalent of hazing. Anyway the weirdness here was that it didn’t taste much like chardonnay to me, much more spritzy and citrus. ‘Blind Spot’ apparently refers to the price range, and Mac Forbes wanders around picking up parcels of wines he likes the look of for blending into ever changing cuvées. So it’s possible this one will be entirely different in character next year. I’ll pass, but it will appeal to many.

Pine! Lemon! Spritz! Fresh!

2018 Zephyr 6 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 13% £ 8.50

Think you know NZ SB? Well… stop thinking because you’re absolutely correct. This is it. Totally expected, but lovely and a good price.

Gooseberry! Nettle! Capsicum! Lime!

2018 Blackbook Winery, The Mixup 10.5% £ 18.00

Now for the really weird one . I like to keep an open mind with new wines, but as hard as I tried (I tried really hard), I just didn’t get on with this at all. Ok I hated it. A bit vegetal to start with, opened up with a bit of air but only really got as far for me as a grassy riverbank and while that’s a lovely image if you’re punting, when you’re trying to enjoy an £18 wine it was a bit off-putting. A curio.

Short! Sherbert! Green! Hard!

2017 Szolo Tempo Tokaj Furmint 13.5% £ 14.95

Not available yet, but get some when it is - this is a great, light summer wine for the patio, ideal for thinking about all the gardening you have to do but not actually doing it because it’s so easy drinking that by the time you’ve decided to don the gloves you’re half cut and supper’s ready.

Light! Grape! Stones! Peach!

2017 Bin #002, redacted 13% £ 8.95

Delightful. Lighter than #001 but more suited to Summer. Floral nose, with that cherry scent that reminds me of a dreadful car sickness medicine my mother used to force down me on trips to France. But… in a good way? Will probably sell out again, it’s very drinkable.

Violet! Blueberry! Medicine! Glug!

2016 Folium Vineyards Marlborough Reserve Pinot Noir 12.5% £ 22.00

The link is to the 2018, but I think we tasted the 2016, I just can’t find it on the site. Following the redacted this was a really powerful nose, full of currants and oak and smiles and deliciousness. I’ll take two please.

Smooth! Oak! Silk! Bright!

2018 Young & Wild Broadleaf Melnik, Villa Melnik 14% £ 8.50

Back to relative weirdness, or at least a grape that is new to me, of which there were a few at this tasting (hooray for the Society and their hitherto unkown ethos!). Reminded me of a grenache or carignan, lots of bright red fruit and slender spice. Pick it up with your next pizza order.

Orange! Red! Pepper! Exciting!

2017 Kadarka, Maurer 11% £ 14.50

Another new to me wine, and one for the wishlist. To me this would be a fabulous BBQ wine, although the price point might be a bit high for some for that - just have a two-tier BBQ season, and save this for the ones you like.

Toffee! Redcurrant! Pale! Fresh!

2017 Cullen Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 12.7% £ 27.00

A classic style to end the table, what a journey we went on. The sights! The smells! The strange artwork! This couldn’t be more ‘new world Bordeaux clone’ if it tried, and all the better for it. Delicious.

Classic! Black! Ripe! Dry!


Thanks @tom for taking the time and trouble to post. What a great way to start the day. I knew I was going to enjoy as soon as I saw the video.

Really enjoyed reading your notes. Great stuff !


I’ll add the other tables once I get a moment and Cormac’s started his thread!


Thanks @tom - I’ll put Table Four up slightly later…and then the “releases” can flow thick and fast!


My favourite type of wines :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. Great so far Tom, love the approach :grin:


How did I not know about this masterpiece :laughing:

Love the notes @tom, looking forward to the next instalment!


Bin002 was posted on social media on the day so I don’t think it’s a secret?


Table 6 - @Sarah

No particular rhyme nor reason to our table order, but we fancied a refreshing fizz after that Aussie punch-up, so sauntered over to Sarah’s for two. she was most obliging.

2012 Alfred Gratien Blanc de Blancs 12.5% £ 39.00

This is a delight. Wonderful bright fresh lemon floral (almost elderflower) nose. Sometimes I wonder if Champagne prices are worth it, but as Missy Elliot says, “Ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gnaht ym tup i”

Clouds! Bread! Lemon! Ether!

2016 Alfred Gratien Brut 2006 12.5% £ 42.00

A richer style, almost doughy with apple flavours and a more precise finish.

Round! Deep! Smooth! Mousse!

2018 Piemonte Cortese 12% £ 6.25

Recently I’ve been on the hunt for sub-£7 wines to a) counter the money I’m shelling out on EP offers and b) see if I can add to my list of wine rack staples while keeping my more frugal wife happy. This can be added - great value, light and delicate but with plenty of aroma and a satisfying finish. Cue the arguments about Italian whites.

Fragrant! Floral! Citrus! Easy!

2017 Nosiola Trentino, Mastri Vernacoli Cavit 12% £ 7.25

Such is the expansive world of wine that even an MW can find something new to them, here in the form of the Nosiola grape. I found this a grower not a shower, but worth the patience.

Nuts! Fragrance! Pale! Summer!

2018 Pipoli Greco-Fiano, Vigneti di Vulture 12% £ 9.50

This doesn’t seem to be up on the website yet, but not only was it delicious, and two of my favourite Italian white grapes, but the product code is the same as my share number, so I’m destined to buy some.

Tropical! Intense! Full! Beach!

2018 Etna Bianco Fondo Filara, Nicosia 13% £ 12.50

More mineral than the previous wines, although I have to admit I was struggling to get a huge amount out of this wine (more fuel for the Whitalian debates). I think better off not as part of a flight of 75.

Stone! Direct! Refreshing! Peach!

2016 Soave Classico Calvarino, Pieropan 12.5% £ 18.00

Ah, now, here’s a wine that sings Shaddap You Face to the Whitalian naysayers. What’s-a matter you?

Open! Rich! Pineapple! Nuts!

2017 Cirò Rosso Gaglioppo, Santa Venere 2017 13.5% £ 9.95

And with that, onto the reds, and another grape discovery. I wonder if you had many bunches you could call them a gaggle of gaglioppo. Grimacing I gargled a gaggle of gaglioppo grape juice as I gawped at the gift I was given. Wait, where was I?

Spice! Cherry! Refreshing! Wild!

2016 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Conca del Grillo Silvano Bolmida 14% £ 12.95

I’ve previously found it hard to find a Barbera I really liked. That has all changed, along with my mispronunciation of it. Wonderful smoky, black fruit on the nose and a great balance.

Smoke! Raspberry! Smooth! Sweet!

2016 Nebbiolo d’Alba Drago, Poderi Colla 13.5% £ 15.50

On to a trio of Nebbiolos that aren’t Barolos, a priviledge to taste as although cheaper, they’re still in the hesitent range for me. My notes on this one include ‘dry and fragrant’, ‘floral on the wind’ and ‘wood-panelled library’. So.

Fragrant! Tight! Revealing! Subtle!

2016 Langhe Nebbiolo A Mont, Paolo Conterno 14.5% £ 18.00

Probably my favourite of the three. Richer and riper tasting with lovely depth of flavour and some woody, leathery notes. Cracking.

Strong! Full! Ripe! Long!

2016 Langhe Nebbiolo, Massolino 14.5% £ 23.00

For me this suffered a little bit following the other two as I think it’s probably a bit young, but the quality if clearly evident.

Pucker! Intense! Tannin! Long!

2016 The Society’s Exhibition Chianti Classico 14% £ 12.50

There were a few Exhibition wines available at the tasting and they all demonstrated the strength of the label, so hats off to the buyers. This is just a lovely, classic example of the type, powerful and intense and crying out for some saucy meatballs or a grilled steak.

Classic! Power! Spice! Acid!

2016 Rosso di Montalcino, Poggio Antico 14% £ 24.00

And so to the wine which I was most looking forward to. To be honest, @Ewan could have sent me downstairs with a bottle and I’d have been perfectly happy to wax lyrical all day long. I adore wines from Montalcino and lament the dearth on the WS list, so imagine the joy I felt when @Sarah casually mentioned a Brunello en primeur (2015) arriving later in the year. Yes. Brunello. En primeur. TWS. Those things all in the same sentence. To say I’m excited is like saying Sebastian knows ‘a bit’ about Italian wines.

Anyway this wine is amazing. Buy some.

Meat! Cherry! Wow! Delicious!


Thanks for these, particularly for putting up the links. My wishlist is taking a beating!


Just wait till the Fine Wine List comes out in a few days… :wink:


So help me out here please? Are some of these wines still to come into stock? From your Italian list I was interested in both the Paolo Contero Langhe Nebiolo and the Poggio Antico Montalcino. But both are “no longer available,” not “out of stock” notice.

Either that or you’re such a good salesperson that no sooner do you post your notes than they sell out! TWS should offer you a job! :smiley:


Yes all those ones are not yet available, but I managed to show them by adding in ‘historic’ to the url making them look old rather than new!


That’s a bit of a nuisance really as I can’t add to my wish list “whilst the iron is hot.”


So you will promise to go back and revise all posts when they come online?


I’ll try, but the links should work as normal anyway once available, e.g. this current wine with ‘historic’ added:


That’s clever.

Also, hats off for the Joe Dolce reference in a tasting note! Was this a bet…?


Joe Dolcetto surely?


I’m quite happy to add terrible references to my notes without the need to resort to bets :grin:


This will be the end of me.