First for France
First for France

Buyers' Weekly Picks


Current wine


The Society’s Vin d’Alsace 2018

The Society’s Vin d’Alsace 2018

What is Alsace wine about? The answer, in a nutshell, is dry, elegant and fruity wines with a real aptitude for matching a wide variety of dishes.

When I took on buying Alsace wines in around 1990, The Society’s Vin d’Alsace was already in place. The Wine Society was Hugel’s second UK customer after the Savoy and our first order was for this wine, made from a blend of mostly sylvaner and chasselas. And it was very good.

But what would happen if one added a little bit of something else? Some riesling, maybe, and some pinot gris? And so the modern Society’s Vin d’Alsace was born and it was an immediate hit.

Buy now for £9.50

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It is unquestionably Alsace but with added complexity from all the grape varieties that form the blend. A go-to wine for stir-fries or fusion dishes though food-matching possibilities are in fact endless.

And it keeps. Jean-Frédéric Hugel, son of the much-lamented Etienne, was given to taste blind a 1998 and was blown away!


Marcel Orford-Williams

Marcel Orford-Williams

Society Buyer








Past wines


Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard 2019

Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard 2019

I didn't grow up with wine (my grandparents were teetotal Methodists!) and really found it by chance after joining a blind-tasting club at university. But before that, there had been an initial spark, and it was the Loire.

In my teens I went on a walking holiday here with my family and for the first time my parents let me drink the wines with them at the various small hotels we stayed at. Even then I loved them.

Fast-forward to the present day and this Loire standard-bearer is one of my favourites! Perfectly balanced, aromatic and fresh without being overwhelming, it's tremendous – and tremendous value too.

Buy now for £9.50

DW-LO14781

This is such a favourite that I also chose a previous vintage to serve at my wedding three years ago. I wanted to pick three whites and three reds so that all my guests could try a few wines and settle with the one they enjoyed most. A crowd-pleasing sauvignon blanc is always a great option to have in the mix and it ended up being a favourite on the day.

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as my guests and I did!


Sarah Knowles MW

Sarah Knowles MW

Society Buyer








Domaine Laborie, Pays d'Oc 2018

Domaine Laborie, Pays d'Oc 2018

As I’ve said on several previous occasions, Domaine Laborie is one of the best-value reds in our entire range.

I have a real soft spot for this wine. We import it from a company based near the medieval town of Carcassonne in the Languedoc that I worked closely with for many years before joining The Wine Society’s buying team. When I arrived in 2012, I was delighted to discover that Marcel (Orford-Williams), our buyer for southern France, also worked with them and that I could continue to quaff their delicious wines on a regular basis!

Buy now for £6.50

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For £6.50 a bottle you are getting an authentic Mediterranean blend of southern grapes such as carignan and grenache, with a dash of merlot to round out the tannins. Alcohol levels are refreshingly restrained (the 2018 is just 12.5%) thanks to early harvesting of the grapes at vintage time, and the wine has lovely pure, brambly fruit.

Unchallenging but immensely satisfying – do try it!


Tim Sykes

Tim Sykes

Society Buyer








Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, Guigal 2016

Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, Guigal 2016

With a label you can spot at twenty paces, Guigal's Côtes-du-Rhône is a benchmark in a region long known for its reliably warm-hearted reds that are just perfect for this time of year, but this wine deserves a place on your favourites list all year round.

I worked with the Guigals for a time and will never forget their generosity. There are few cellars where even trade buyers get to taste so extensively in the cellar. And few such big names who pour their wines so freely at tastings, to opinion formers and shop staff alike.

Quite simply, this is one of the best-value, most reliably delicious wines of the Rhône, a pleasure for yourself but a safe, well-pitched gift too (and they have an excellent international distribution network so you can often find it when you are away on holiday).

Buy now for £10.95

DU-RH53581

We currently have it in bottles, as well as in the two perfect treat sizes: halves (to drink now), and magnums (to have or to hold).

Buy now for £5.50 per half bottle
DU-RH53582

Buy now for £22 per magnum
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…and serve with absolute confidence.


Joanna Locke MW

Joanna Locke MW

Society Buyer








Domaine de la Rochette, Mâcon-Bussières Mont Sard 2018

Domaine de la Rochette, Mâcon-Bussières Mont Sard 2018

This is a star. When France gets it right its wines are world beaters. But you have to know where to look and the Mâconnais is the place for white Burgundy offering outstanding value for money.

Priced at a mere £13.50, it is better than some producers' Pouilly-Fuissés at over £20 a bottle.

Buy now for £13.50

DQ-BU72661

Wine is made in the vineyard

Frédéric Burrier bought this vineyard about three years ago. The previous owners were overproducing and selling to the local co-op. Even I could see the potential when I saw this lovely vineyard. Situated in the warm southern Mâconnais at the base of Mont Sard, one of the series of craggy limestone hills that culminate in the famous Roche de Solutré, there are 1.5 hectares of vines principally planted in the 1930s, 1945, 1947 and a little in the 1980s. Good old vines like these produce fewer but better grapes leading to a naturally rich and concentrated wine.


Toby Morrhall

Toby Morrhall

Society Buyer








Stéphane Aviron, Maison de la Madrière, Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 2017

Stéphane Aviron, Maison de la Madrière, Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 2017

Fleurie is a region and a wine which will always be stuck firmly in my heart. It can offer boundless charm, elegance and a wonderfully friendly drinkability; and this is why I first fell in love with it.

When I got my very first wine-trade job and started to open my eyes to what a fascinating subject wine is, I found myself bewildered at the amount of choice available; but I was drawn, for whatever reason, to Beaujolais.

I had read about Fleurie, with its juicy, bright and vivid red-fruit aromas, its floral hint, twist of pepper and inviting silkiness; but it was only on tasting it that I really believed it. When asked to choose a French wine for this series, Stéphane Aviron's delicious 2017 sprang immediately to mind.

Buy now for £12.50

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It was such a brilliant example of words coming to life: suddenly an awful lot of what I had been reading about wine suddenly started to make sense, and I had never previously realised it was possible that grapes could make something quite that delicious.

I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did!


Freddy Bulmer

Freddy Bulmer

Society Buyer








Château Le Bédat, Bordeaux 2018

Château Le Bédat, Bordeaux 2018

'Most of our buyers were weaned on French wine. For me, it was a bottle of Saint-Julien at university that first sparked my curiosity, and which eventually led me to choose wine as a career after I'd graduated. Flash forward 25 years and Bordeaux still has a special place in my heart.'

'What has bowled me over in recent times, however, is just how good inexpensive Bordeaux can be: quite frankly, it never used to be. This wine offers delicious proof.'

Buy now for £7.50

DL-CB5681

'Continued improvements in quality and some remarkably good vintages in recent years have made under-£10 Bordeaux a happier hunting ground than ever. 2018 is one such vintage, and Château Le Bédat strikes me as the perfect wine to try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!'


Pierre Mansour

Pierre Mansour

Director of Wine

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