Posts Tagged ‘The Wineyard’

Save 33% on Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006

May 12, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

On a relatively regular basis, our suppliers offer us bin-end deals on some of their wines for various reasons; they might want to clear out the last of the previous vintage to make room for a new one arriving, the wine may have been de-listed and replaced by something else, and of course, they sometimes find they got over-excited about a new wine and bought far too much of it, and need to sell it off in volume. The caveat is usually that we have to buy up a decent chunk of stock if we want to get the benefits of the good prices, and the wines can often be ones we don’t usually stock or aren’t familiar with, so we don’t always jump at the chance.

No such trouble with this Californian Sauvignon Blanc from the well-established and highly rated Kendall-Jackson range. We were already selling this at £11.99 when we were asked if we wanted to take a few cases at a reduced price, and knew we liked it, so we grabbed 36 bottles a few days ago and promptly opened one for the tasting counter (come in and ask if you’d like to try it yourself this week). I was delighted with the quality, and the more unusual style; this is not a New Zealand-style Sauvignon by any means, and in my opinion is all the better for it. I love to see regions producing wines in their own individual manner, instead of trying to emulate someone else’s success (something the New World is still getting the hang of in many parts).

So the all important question of course is price, and we’ve reduced this from £11.99 to £9.99/bottle, or you can buy 3 bottles for £7.99 each (£23.97), saving you a fantastic 33% off the original shelf price (down from £35.97).

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Below are my own tasting notes, tweeted live as I tried it (start at the bottom and read upwards though, as they’re listed with the most recent tweet first). If you’re ever interested in seeing what others and myself have been tasting recently, search on Twitter for “#wineyardtasting” or click the image below.

Advertisements

Interesting stats from Spring Wine Fair 2010

May 5, 2010

Customers at the Spring Wine Fair, 2010

Last week was our eagerly anticipated Spring Wine Fair, where punters got the opportunity to taste up to 77 different wines, and to have an informal chat with some of our biggest and best suppliers about the wines they represent. The evening was a big success, both in terms of profitability for ourselves, and more importantly, in terms of customer satisfaction. We’ve been getting rave reviews from everyone we speak to when they visit us in the shop. Not only was the evening fun, but people found it genuinely useful for their improving their own knowledge of wine and narrowing down particular styles that they prefer.

Suppliers at the Spring Wine Fair, 2010

The suppliers present included Boutinot (Deborah Brooks), Grupo Codorniu (David Pickering), Fells Wines (Sandy McDonald), Enotria Wines (Stephen Lane), De Bortoli Australian Wines (Keith Stone), and Discovery Wines (Paul Shackleton). There were also some of our favourite wines from Ehrmann’s, Vinoceros, and Morecambe Bay Wines open, which we represented on their behalf.

My favourites that I tried myself on the night include the cracking Recchia Valpolicella Ripasso, our new Salvano Barbaresco Riserva 04, Glen Carlou Syrah 05, Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 07, Torres ‘Natureo’ 09, Vina Pomal Reserva Rioja 04, and Alasia Brachetto del Acqui Rosado 09. I’ll be blogging about some of these in the coming weeks as they arrive in-store (some are brand new wines to us, and are not yet on the shelves) so I can snap a photo of them and give you some further background details. If you attended, do get in touch and let me know your own favourites, and what you thought of any of mine that you tried. You can leave a comment on this post, tweet me, e-mail me (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk), or find me in-store most days as well of course.

Some quick stats about Friday’s event:

  • We sold 134 bottles: That’s 99.375l of wine (includes 3 half bottles of desert wine)!
  • 56% of that was red wine, 34% white, and 10% rose.
  • Of the wines opened to taste, 53% were red, 41% white, and 6% rose.
  • The most popular region on the night was Argentina, taking credit for 22% of the evenings orders. Australia was a close second, with 21%, and France third on 19%. Italy gets an honourable mention for 4th on 16%, the rest were all less than 5% each.
  • The most-ordered individual wine was a long-standing favourite of ours: Mas Barrau Cabernet Franc (France), single-handedly accounting for a whopping 10% of all orders. 2nd and 3rd were both Trapiche wines (Argentina): Astica Sauvignon Semillon, and Astica Merlot Malbec.
  • The average spend per bottle was £7.56 (There was 10% off on all orders on the night, so the average value was approximately £8.40/bottle). [tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]
  • The most expensive individual bottle ordered was Glen Carlou Syrah 05 (£16.49). The cheapest was Vistamar Carmenere 09 (£5.25).

Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 19, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Sauvignon Blanc, probably one of the most popular grapes in the UK today, is usually a crisp, refreshing and dry white wine. Marlborough, New Zealand is increasingly regarded as the pinnacle of all Sauv Blanc producing regions, and offers some stunning wines, usually in a very zesty style full of gooseberry and citrus flavours, and full-on in-your-face character. The only downside to the region is perhaps the price (these wines don’t often come cheap), although this doesn’t stop us Brits from buying serious quantities of the stuff.

Imagine my excitement then, when this Marlborough Sauv Blanc came in through the door and went on sale at £5.99 (or two for £10)! First thing first, I checked the vintage to see if our wholesale half of the company had been conned into buying a load of old wine that was past its best. 2009? My smile widened. Still young and fresh, barely out of the winery. Perhaps it was just a cheap wine, and everyone else was selling it cheaply too? A quick search online finds it being sold by Tesco at £10/bottle, and everywine.co.uk at £8.99! Now I’m seriously giddy, and impatiently waiting for the bus home with a bottle in my bag to check it out for myself.

I get home, having tweeted about it through the afternoon and encouraging others to try it too, and plonk it in the fridge to chill. Fast-forward a few hours, add a few Twitter folk tasting along with me, and here we go:

The aromas were definitely tropical to me, with scents of peach and guava (check out me with the posh fruit reference!) being particularly prevalent. I had to double-check, having expected to be slapped in the face by gooseberries, but yep, this was tropical through and through! In the mouth, the wine was really soft and rounded, much more elegant than anticipated, and almost creamy. There was a bit of zest there too, with a little citrus complimenting the tropical flavours, and lending it an altogether pleasant finish too. The acidity was good, meaning the wine maintained a nice freshness and crispness.

Others who tasted it live on Twitter all felt that they felt it had a fairly sweet-smelling nose, and grapefruit flavours in the mouth. A customer in the shop also thought there was a hint of lychee lurking around. All of us enjoyed it, and felt it was good value for money at £5 a bottle. Special thanks to @SoniaAnders @PabloVonSteel and @Rob_Workman for joining in with the live tasting! If you fancy joining in with one of these, give me a tweet and I’ll help you pick out a wine that you’ll hopefully love for us to taste live together. I’ll even give you 10% off the wine we taste, just for joining in and tweeting about it.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

UPDATE: We’ve stocked up for the weekend and put a fab case offer on Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009: £27 for 6 bottles. That’s £4.50/bottle (down from £5.99 for a single bottle) giving you a whopping 25% saving!

Tonight’s Live Tasting: Belmont Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 15, 2010

Tonight’s live Twitter tasting is an exciting one as far as I’m concerned. We’ve managed to get our hands on some Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc for a cracking price (£5.99 or 2 for £10) and are yet to taste it ourselves. We’re assured it’s very good value for money, and I’ll be tasting it for the first time this evening. As I taste, I’ll be tweeting my immediate impressions and notes on the wine as I go, and encouraging you guys to tweet back and quiz me on it too. If you fancy joining in for a bit of Twitter tasting with me, pick up a bottle this evening and tweet your own thoughts on the wine (there are a few already chilling in the fridge).

If you’re not on Twitter, and don’t want to join, fear not! You can keep up anyway thanks to some recent improvements to the site. Open this page in your web-browser and it’ll automatically update with the latest tweets about the wine:

#WineyardTasting Tweets

As a genuinely brand new & untested wine, I can make no promises regarding quality, but you only live once and it’s not gonna cost the Earth right? Just to be clear, this isn’t an attempt at snazzy web 2.0 marketing where I only bang on about how great all our own wines are. If I’m unimpressed, you’ll hear about it just as much as if I love it (my last wine tried live on Twitter was far too acidic on first tasting, and I made no secret of it, but in fairness, the next night it had really softened up and improved a great deal – blog post about it coming up later). I also regularly tweet about wines and beers from other companies if I’m trying them (last night was an interesting selection of beers from Sainsbury’s with friends for example). So if you’re feeling curious and daring, grab a bottle of Belmont on the way back from work, and join in with me and any other curious tweeps, and we’ll try some cheap ‘n’ cheerful New Zealand Sauv Blanc together at about 8pm tonight.

Not sure if you’ll like Sauvignon Blanc (or what it is)? Expect a tart, citrus-fruit style wine full of grassy, gooseberry flavours – it’ll be crisp and refreshing, and a good pair for seafood/fish if you’re wanting to have it with food. Very very popular style of wine, and Marlborough is widely considered one of the very best regions for producing it.

Live Tastings on Twitter

April 9, 2010

When tasting wines properly, it’s often a good idea to note down your initial impressions as soon as possible, as they will never be as clear if you try to recall them later. Flavours that immediately jump out at you can quickly be forgotten again, and each sip can change your feelings and interpretations of the wine you are tasting.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been tweeting my very first impressions of wines I’m trying that we’re tasting over the weekend, as I taste them myself. I’ve found this useful in a couple of ways personally, as it collects my thoughts into an accessible online location that I can look back at as I write up notes for this blog, and it also forces me to think more carefully about the aromas and flavours I’m perceiving. When scribbling a hasty word or two with pen & paper, I know in the back of my mind that I’ll be able to expand on the notes from memory, lazy as this is. But when I’m publishing my first impressions for the world at large to read and critique, I find myself far more focused on identifying precise flavours where possible, and much more thoroughly engaging with the wine I’m tasting with the hope of being more accurate and informative with what I have to say.

With this in mind, I will be tweeting my tasting notes as I taste, live to Twitter whenever possible, and always with the #wineyardtasting link in the tweet to make them easy to find. If you’re new to Twitter, you can find me here. I love getting comments, questions and suggestions from the folks already on there, so feel free to join in any time.

Even better still would be if I could get some of you trying some wines at the same time as me, so we can exchange thoughts as we try things together. If you’re interested in taking part, get in touch on Twitter and let me know, and we can organise something between us. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert, and it’s all good fun at the end of the day.

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2007 (Australia)

April 9, 2010

If you’ve not tried Australian Shiraz, I’m surprised you’re even reading a blog about wine to be honest! Incredibly popular in the last 10-15 years, it’s undoubtedly one of the best-selling styles of wine in the UK, and for good reason. Reliably good quality, good value, and great flavours are very typical when it comes to these big reds from Down Under. Almost always spicy or peppery to some extent as a result of a good whack of oak during the aging period, they are usually full of dark fruits and vanilla too, and almost always bring super-supple, silky smooth tannins to the table, softening the edges of what can otherwise be immense and intense wines.

The likes of Hardy’s, Yellow Tail and Jacob’s Creek may dominate at the supermarket (and to be fair, offer very good value for money given the rock-bottom prices they achieve these days), but spend a couple of extra quid, and you can get some storming wines for your money. Push the boat out to £10+ and you’re onto another planet entirely, reaching up towards some of the best wines in the world at the very top, and stumbling over some absolute corkers in between.

This weekend’s bottle brings all of the classic Aussie Shiraz qualities to the fore, at a very affordable price. The colour is a lovely deep red with a vibrant purple rim, and the aromas immediately grab your nostrils and suck you in. Deep and rich scents of blackberries, plums and cedar are quickly followed up by flavours of dark cherries and juicy plums in the mouth. Intense and full-bodied, spicy and warm, smooth and supple. The finish is persistent and thoroughly enjoyable. Great value for money at £7.49.

This was another wine I tweeted about live as I tasted (See here, here, and here). If you want to know more about this wine, the technical sheet is available here. We’ve opened a bottle for you to try this weekend, and while it’s open, you get 10% off 2 or more bottles, and 15% off 6 or more.

foursquare and Gowalla

March 30, 2010

For the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with a couple of location-based services, foursquare and Gowalla. The basic premise behind these websites is that they both have apps that can be installed on web-friendly mobiles like the iPhone and Android-based handsets. As you travel about visiting different locations, you “check in” to each venue, which posts your location into your Twitter and/or Facebook streams, letting people know where you are and what you’re up to. If your friends have checked in nearby, it will let you know, encouraging you to meet up with people, and discover new places by rewarding you with points and badges for doing different things. Whilst it’s all good fun collecting these, I’ve been having a think about how to better make use of them for The Wineyard.

Initially, I was “checking in” to pretty much everywhere I went and generally getting a bit carried away with it all. The main result was a lot of annoying messages clogging up our feeds. When I was checking in to places like supplier tastings, it was pretty popular, but more day-to-day local locations weren’t exactly interesting. So I had a think (in the shower of course, where all the best things are thought of!) and decided to change my approach. I’ll still be using these services to check-in at different places, but in a more restrained and hopefully useful way for the rest of you.

The main places I’ll be checking-in will be wherever I’m working each day (be that from home, at the shop, or at our head office) so that anyone who fancies a face-to-face chat can find me easily (I’m not using my actual home address, simply a nearby generic location). I’ll also be checking-in at any tastings or other exciting events that we’re at, so that people know where they’re happening, and can see what we’re up to. I may also check-in if I’m in town, or at a restaurant, so anyone who’s interested can find me, or ask me about somewhere they’ve not visited and are curious about. If you’re ever nearby, I love to meet new people who follow my antics on Twitter and the blog, so do please come and say hello, and introduce yourself! I’m very friendly, and whenever possible love an excuse to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and will happily talk about almost anything with you. And yes, I’m single so ladies form an orderly queue please! We don’t want anyone getting hurt now. 😉

Once we have our website up and running (project start meeting coming up soon – most exciting stuff which will no doubt be tweeted about with much passion!), I’m thinking about integrating my foursquare/Gowalla activities in some way too, and also potentially rewarding our most regular visitors on each service in some way (if you start checking in now, you’ve a good chance of entrenching yourself at the top of the list). If you have any thoughts on either platform, or on what I’m doing with them, or even just want a friendly chat, do please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


The Wineyard & Deli Spring Wine Fair

March 18, 2010

Another exciting event coming up folks! On April 30th, we will be having The Wineyard & Deli’s Spring Wine Fair at the Headway Hotel, Morecambe. With 6 of our biggest and best suppliers already confirmed in attendance, each with their own table of their favourite wines to tell you all about, this is shaping up to be a fantastic evening for wine lovers. We are expecting to open at least 60-70 different bottles of wine to be tasted (d0n’t worry, there’ll be several of each bottle so we don’t run out!), offering a great selection from all corners of the world, and at all sorts of price levels.

Sounds good right? Well you’ll need a ticket from us to get in, and they only cost a measly £7.50 (Nearly 10 wines a pound!). Tickets are only being sold in advance (none on the door), so swing by The Wineyard and get yours today. Tickets have always been popular for events like this in the past, and are likely to sell out. Get in touch (contact details below) if you’d like some reserving until you can get in to see us.

Event Details:

Date: Friday 30th April, 6-9pm.
Venue: The Headway Hotel.
Entry by ticket only, available from The Wineyard & Deli for £7.50.
Tel: 01524400011 to reserve and pay.
Over 60 wines from around the world to taste.

Tasting: Central/Eastern Europe

March 14, 2010

On the 1st April 2010, we’re having a fascinating tasting of wines from the lesser-known parts of Europe at The Wineyard & Deli. Nothing from France, Italy and Spain; think instead of places like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany for example. Some of these are countries long known for crafting some of the world’s best wines (Germany’s Rieslings in particular are widely regarded as world-class), and we’ll be taking you on a whirlwind tour of some of our favourites from our current range. Others are still up-and-coming, but offer great value for money, such as a couple of Bulgarian wines that sell very well week-in-week-out.

We will also be having a special guest speaker with us, Kerstin Hammes who will be presenting 1 or 2 of her family’s own wines from the Mosel Valley in Germany. This is a rare and fantastic opportunity to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge of wine production.

If you’re interested in joining us in trying some of these interesting and delicious wines, along with a range of samples from our Deli food section, you can book your tickets by coming and seeing us in the shop, getting in touch via Twitter or Facebook, or giving us a call on 01524 400011. You can also drop us an e-mail (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk – Please make the subject “Tasting Tickets” and specify within your e-mail which tasting you are interested in).

Tickets are £10 each and are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. They are sold on a strictly first-come first-served.

Twitter Wine offer – 8/3/2010

March 8, 2010

For tonight only, anyone who orders my selected mixed case of tip-top sub-£10 wines gets a whopping 20% off if they place the order through Twitter before midnight! This is a fantastic chance to sample 6 different wines that I absolutely love, at a brilliant price. The set would normally set you back £48.94, but for tonight only, Twitter can have it for £39.14! Tweet meto order, or for more info if you’re interested. Below are my own brief tasting notes on each wine along with their usual full-price:

Tohu Kono Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 (£7.99) – Marlborough, New Zealand
Kono is made by the indigenous Maori of New Zealand, and is probably our best selling white wine in the shop, for very good reason. Sauvignon Blanc is immensely popular in the UK, which certainly helps, but this is a very good value example. It’s much more elegant and subtle than most Sauvignon Blancs at this price level, and has really nice melon, peach, lemon and gooseberry flavours. Lovely refreshing stuff!

“Dr. L” Loosen Bros Riesling, 2008 (£8.49) – Mosel, Germany
Light (only 8.5% alcohol), zippy, vibrantly fruity white wine, with the classic sweet palate and crisp refreshing acidity that good German whites are famous for amongst wine lovers. This is a fantastic example of precisely why Germany is regarded as one of the best wine-making countries in the world, despite a bit of an image-problem amongst the population at large. This is a far cry from the frankly shocking stuff that used to be churned into the UK market a decade ago! One of my absolute favourite white wines, simply for being so different to everything else out there (aside from other German Rieslings).

The Lizard Pink Shiraz, 2008 (£6.49) – Languedoc, France
Crisp and refreshing rose, demonstrating how good (and affordable) the stuff can be if you know where to look. This is no White Zinfandel, lacking any of the sweetness that California’s become famous for. Instead this is a wine that’s full of crisp and dry cranberry and redcurrant fruit flavours, and leaves me licking my lips thirsting for more every time.

Chat-eu-Oeuf Rose, 2008 (£6.49) – Languedoc, France
A similar style rose to the Lizard Pink Shiraz, this again offers crisp and refreshing red-berry fruit flavours. This example also has a nice touch of sweet spice, and a bit more warmth on the palate. All around more juicy and mouth-filling, this is a more openly fruity rose.

Patrizi “Bricco Rosso” Dolcetto Di Dogliani, 2007 (£9.49) – Piemonte, Italy
Probably my favourite Italian red I’ve tried to date for under £10, this wine has an intense purple colour with pleasant brambly, wild berry and plummy fruit aromas. Bitter cherry and gripping tannins on the palate and a deliciously long, spicy finish. Fabulous stuff!

Lapostolle “Casa” Merlot, 2007 (£9.99) – Rapel Valley, Chile
From arguably one of Chile’s best wine producers, this is a cracking example of why Chile has become so well known for good Merlot. A red that features typical and intense plummy and red-fruit flavours, a fascinating set of aromas and a luscious, velvety smooth texture, this is some seriously good wine at a very good price. 6 months of oak lend it a spicy complexity. As well as being a fab wine to drink now, this is one that will keep improving for another 5-10 years.