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The Point Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Is there a better value Sauvignon Blanc on the market right now than Duncan Savage’s The Point 2013? This wine is from Cape Point Vineyards and it’s crisp and fresh with plenty of richness and juicy fruit. This is a perfect white wine to pair with chicken on the barbecue on a sunny London afternoon, which I plan to be doing again soon. The back label also sensibly suggests risotto, which sounds pretty good to me. This isn’t a silly simple acid bomb Sauvignon. It’s a bit more serious than that and more in the type of style I like. But at £6 a bottle on promotion at Sainsbury right now there’s no reason not to open a bottle any... read more

Fairview sparkling wine

Charles Back’s South African winery Fairview has recently released the first bottling of a new Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wine. It was made by winemaker Stephanie Betts and was inspired by a 6 week internship at Nyetimber in the English winelands in 2010. Unusually for a South African bubbly, the wine is a blend of Viognier (36%), Grenache Noir (34%) and Grenache Blanc (30%). Charles Back has been a pioneer of Rhône and Mediterranean varieties in South Africa so it is not unexpected that he and his team decided to do something different. The wine is vintage 2011 and there are a limited number of bottles available, so it is unlikely to make its way to the UK market. However Stephanie confirmed that there is a follow up 2012 which she is really excited about. It apparently has a higher proportion of Viognier. I hope to be able to taste the wine at some stage – perhaps Fairview will have some along for the Beautiful South tasting in September? The label and packaging was designed by Victoria Peter Design, who also designed the packaging for the Villiera Starlight MCC. Clearly there are some similarities. The open cork and cage as well as the narrow neck band are shared. This contrasting combination of modern label and more rustic, visible cork is cool, but is seems like it will be the flavour of the month with a few other producers doing the... read more

Returning corked wine to Waitrose

Two years ago I got in touch with Sainsburys and Tesco regarding their policies on returning corked wine. You can read their responses here. I did the same with Waitrose this week and this was their response. Thank you for your email. When ordering wine with us online through Waitrose Direct, we offer a 28 day return policy on corked or damaged wines. We arrange for the wine to be collected, and the order refunded or replaced depending on the wishes of the customer. However this system is not affiliated with individual stores, which may have their own policies in place. I advise that you contact the local store with this issue from which the wine was purchased. They should have a similar returns policy in place. Please ensure that you do not throw the corked wine away as this will help the store investigate the affected wine. I hope this helps. Kind Regards Luke Adams Customer Sales and Support That sounds like a very logical approach with regard to their online sales. When it comes to returning wines to a physical Waitrose store it may be a bit trickier. But I would think that they would be quite open to it if you have your proof of purchase and if you’re not returning an empty... read more

Two good value Marlborough wines from Majestic

My favourite two wines from our casual wine club last week were both from Marlborough in New Zealand. The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Brancott Estate Pinot Noir 2011.

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Guaranteed Old World Wine?

Interesting little flash on this Vin de Pays label from Château de Flaugergues. The wine is called Le vin de l’Uncle Charles and it’s label is pretty 1990’s new world, considering the use of font, colour and the fact that the grape variety is on the front label. But the flash proudly pronounces “Guaranteed old world wine”. Okay.... read more

Spice Route Wines moving forward

Chatting to Spice Route Wines winemaker Charl du Plessis at the London Wine Trade Fair it sounds like there are some good things happening for a top quality Swartland producer that tends to stay inexplicably under the radar.

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PIWOSA vs Tim Atkin’s Cape Wine Classification

With Tim Atkin’s Cape Classification causing some healthy and lively debate on social networks I thought it would be interesting to compare his list to the membership card of the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa (PIWOSA).

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Wise words for wine communicators

I don’t know if this is her own phrase or not, but Helen McGinn of the Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club said something so simple and so true during her chat this morning at the London Wine Fair…

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Fruit wines at Marks and Spencer

I am not sure how long these have been on the shelf, but I was interested to see these two bottles in my local M&S yesterday. Labelled as Sauvignon Blanc with Apples and Tempranillo Rose with Strawberries they are in the wine section but don’t use the word wine anywhere on the packaging. Fruit wines are nothing new but the way that these products are positioned is interesting. They are marketed as wines would be. One of the key selling points on the back label is the products naturally lower alcohol. It is 8.5% on the bottle but whether that is entirely natural or not is debatable. The grapes and fruit are co-fermented according to the back label, and are made in Spain. The Sauvignon Blanc’s ingredients are listed as Grapes, Apples (20%), Sugar, Citric Acid, Preservative – Sulphur Dioxide. One for those who are after more complete labelling for wines in... read more

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