With so much choice it can feel risky to choose the right wine for an occasion. Drinks expert Victoria Moore recommends which bottles to buy over the bank holidays and where to go online.
A friend in one of my many WhatsApp groups mentioned recently that she had just done her supermarket shop online for the very first time. Cue a Mexican wave of, ‘Seriously?!!’ I doubt the response would have been so surprised if we’d been talking about doing an online wine shop. And that’s a shame because there are many advantages to buying wine on the web, not least that doing so gives you access to a wider choice of bottles and specialist retailers.
I know three of the biggest obstacles to ordering a whole box at once are: a) risk; b) the work involved making the choices; c) the outlay. To that I say: a) mix a case and there’s no more risk than when you pick random bottles from a shelf; b) allow me to be your guide; and c) with all the bank holidays coming up, you may be hosting friends/family and are likely to whip through a case in no time. I’ve picked two different retailers, and made selections from each:
First up, The Wine Society. Yes, you have to be a member but it’s easy to join and the wines are so reasonably priced that you’d make back the £40 fee after ordering three cases, if not sooner. The wines picked here are all red: Weinert Carrascal Corte Clasico 2013 Argentina (£9.50) is a belter, a blend of malbec and Bordeaux grapes that has a whiff of stables and maturing claret, but with more fruity might. The Society’s Rioja Crianza 2015 Spain (£7.95) is a tidy rioja with a traditional feel. Côtes-du-Rhône Rive Droite, Rive Gauche 2017 France (£7.75) is bright, juicy, clean and fruity (think mulberries). The Society’s Southern Spanish Red Monastrell 2017 (£5.75) does very well at the price, though it’s a bit wine-gummy if you mind that sort of thing. Delas Grignan Les Adhemar 2017 France (£8.25) is a savoury Rhône blend in a bottle that looks good on the table; Château Courac Côtes-du-Rhône 2015 France (£8.75) has more fruit and mass. Andrew Peace Australia Felix Swan Hill-Victoria Shiraz Sagrantino 2017 Australia (£8.95) superbly combines shiraz with the Umbrian sagrantino grape to give a medium-bodied, bright, spicy, fruity, cherryish red. Gorgeous.
On to option two. Slurp has shops in Banbury and Leamington Spa, and has a welcoming website. If I were to put together a mixed case then it would include: the excellent value Louis Latour Ardèche Chardonnay 2016 France (£9.95). In reds, Emiliana Adobe Reserva Carménère 2017 Chile (£8.95) is organic and biodynamic, made from Chile’s signature grape, and tastes punchy with a hint of peppers and black tea; San Marzano Il Pumo Primitivo 2017 Salento, Italy (£9.95) is lush and smooth, all dark berries, chocolate, brambles and spice. And if you’re looking for a sparkling wine, then don’t miss Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut NV (£12.95). It’s made from chenin blanc, chardonnay and cabernet and is a slightly toasty, wonder of a sparkling wine.
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Have you bought wines through an online retailer? Let us know if you have any recommendations...
Victoria Moore is an award-winning wine columnist and author. Her most recent book is the The Wine Dine Dictionary (£20, Granta).
All prices correct as of May 2019.