The Grape Club that offers delivery of four bottles of wine a month – perhaps just the right number for those evenings when you’re not seduced by the latest eaterie opened-up in town.
Set up recently by familial duo Louisa and Anthony Symington – cousins from the Symington family, who began their trade in Porto 350 years ago, and are still at the forefront of it today, now in their 13th generation – The Grape Club has a simple format, they choose what gets delivered, you enjoy them in good company.
Since you haven’t done the choosing, they provide you with handy neck tags to tell you what exactly you are drinking: the origin, the year, the grapes, how soon to drink it, the story behind the wine, and what it all means, as well as handy food-pairing ideas.
The information is delivered in real-speak, so you can make clever comments over the table, or just sip happily knowing the winemaker has a dog called Bob.
Bringing exciting facts and an insight to the people who make these wines, The Grape Club offers interesting, quality wines that you won’t find in the supermarket, each with their own praise-worthy criteria. A great idea and a great way to explore great wine that comes without the hefty price tag (£45 a go). I wonder what will be in this month’s box?!
See below for a run through of Sophie’s wine delivery from The Grape Club
For more information visit thegrapeclub.co.uk
Altano Douro 2013
Foolishly I thought this was a red upon first inspection – knowing the Douro Valley for some other sublime darker fruit offerings. This, however is a white blend made of Malvasia, Viosinho and Moscatel Galego (Portugal has a myriad of exciting grapes to try – no one like any other). The underlying line on the production says ‘this wine is made using traditional Portuguese grape varieties, grown at higher altitude in the Douro Valley as this is slightly cooler, allowing the white grapes to mature evenly and maintain their freshness. The winemakers have harnessed this, creating a zesty aromatic wine with tropical fruit flavours and crisp acidity.” Flavours include gooseberry, lychee, and passion fruit. I was super impressed, a wine that really offers something different to most other whites on the market, and smacks with tropical fruit with great zesty freshness. Top choice.
E Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011
Made of 60% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 5% Mouvedre, this is aged in oak barrels for 1.5 years. What this means? “Syrah is a black grape variety known as Syrah in France and Shiraz in Australia. The wines are deeply coloured and usually full bodied (i.e rich) with a black fruit flavour such as blackberry or dark chocolate. Grenache is another black grape variety (known as Garnacha in Spain). These usually have a red-fruit character, strawberry and raspberry with some spicy notes (white pepper, cloves). Adding Grenache to Syrah can result in a wine with lower levels of tannin and acidity with red fruit characteristics.” The result is a beautiful, easy drinking wine with a touch of smoke that as the tag suggests would go wickedly with hot or cold meat, game, bird, and cheese.
Sirius AOC Bordeaux 2011
Sadly I didn’t get to try this bottle as it smashed on a haphazard journey home (note to self, get delivered to your house, not the office for anyone as clumsy as me). I did get a lovely whiff of it as it covered my boots in its inky colour, and the aromas of the Cabernet Sauvignon – just one of the two next to merlot smelled ripe and delectable – full of frui and spice. Match it with a beef bourgignon or duck.
Coming from the Curico Valley in Chile, this isn’t your average Chilean wine. It is a 2009 ‘sticky’ made from 100% (late-harvest) Riesling. Winner of 5 gold medal awards and rated by others such as Jamie Goode – ‘top British wine critic’. Made by Miguel Torres, ‘one of the winemakers we hugely admire – one of the first European pioneers to start producing wine in Chile in 1979, even though at the time hardly any Chilean wine was exported and the country was under the rule of General Pinochet.’ He since founded Wineries for Climate Change and currently owns the largest fair trade winery in Chile. The late-harvest Riesling gives this wine flavours of toffee apple, honeycomb and blossom – a top match for cheese or chocolate fondant.