Staff Choices 2021
Wine is something to be shared and enjoyed. The 'Staff Choice' section, which is updated each month, gives a different staff member from The Society's 200-strong team the opportunity to share a wine from our range that they've particularly enjoyed – and why they think Society members would too.
Below you'll find an archive of this year's previous recommendations from Society staff.
Please note that, as some were published some time ago, not all of the wines will be in stock and some of the prices will be out of date.
NEW STAFF CHOICE
I joined The Wine Society almost two years ago and whilst I had an extensive gin collection, my nine-bottle wine rack was at less than 50% capacity. For me, if I went to the top shelf in Sainsburys in the wine aisles that determined how good a bottle I would get. Of course, like most, I usually had a bottle when out at a restaurant but rarely enjoyed it, usually going back to gin, and just thought wine as whole was overpriced and frankly, a dark art in knowing what was what.
Jump forward two months, and sure, I’d tasted a few wines by now, it would have been hard not to, and whilst providing comic relief by describing one wine as ‘damp hedgerow, and not in a good way’ and not knowing that chardonnay and white Burgundy are the same thing, I still just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. I was happy to try anything, but still just didn’t get it.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the wine, and I was at a dinner where I was about to have a road to Damascus experience. We had several wines to go at, and the second one had everyone loudly complaining about the ‘nose’, which was a bit like a match being struck. I had met my wine – Dog Point Chardonnay. It totally intrigued me, and I just kept going back to it again and again, as it kept changing in the glass. I was experiencing the impact of air to wine and how it can change so much when it oxidises. This is such a huge chardonnay. Once I got past the initial struck match, next was the oak and vanilla taste hitting my tongue, which was then followed on by a heavy hit of citrus, mainly lemon and lime, cut through and smoothed with a buttery, creamy hit. This wine just kept on giving, and interestingly, although you get a lot of oak on the nose, it’s not so much actually in the taste, this wine has an overall fresh taste that would you wouldn’t expect from the onset.
This is a New Zealand chardonnay, organically grown, and comes from one of the oldest Marlborough vineyards. The 2018 we currently have in stock has slightly less flintiness on the nose, but everything else is still much the same as that first experience. It doesn’t disappoint, and this remains a firm favourite. If you think chardonnay is a bit passé, I would encourage you to give it another chance.
This wine then took me into the exploration of new world vs old world chardonnays, and that was it: I had embarked on my own personal journey into the world of wine. It has necessitated a change in the Coates household, with the long-suffering Mr Karen having to gather the right tools and set of handy expletives to build a significantly larger wine rack than my original one. I’m looking forward to going into restaurants (aren’t we all) and not being flummoxed by the wine list. To those, like me, who are new to the whole wine experience, I would say, when you find what you like – and you will – use the Community and our wine pages on the web to find out more about similar wines and the stories behind our growers. I’m currently trying South American reds, but first, purely in the line of work, I’d better finish off that Dog Point. Well, I had to check it again just to make sure it hasn’t changed – right?
Chief Operating Officer
£21 - Bottle
£126 case of six
Previous Staff Choices
Having been given this opportunity to spread the word of ‘my favourite wine’, I felt it only right to pick the first ever wine I tried, and indeed the wine that itself set me off on a very strange yet enjoyable journey of Vines, Wines & Grapes.
Like many, the first job I ever had was as a barman at my local pub, serving a multitude of different food and drinks including Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It was so popular that many in the pub billed it as one of the best sauvignons they'd ever had.
With no real wine knowledge (or interest in wine at the time, if I’m honest), I never really thought to try it, putting it down to wine not really being something I thought I’d enjoy. Oh, how wrong I was. Sometime after, on a rainy dreary December night (and having turned 18 at this point) one my general managers insisted I finally try a glass of well-chilled Spy Valley.
What a wine! Crisp grassy notes with an amazing citrus fruit flavour afterwards; a real wake-up call to my taste buds. At 13.5% this is by no means a heavy wine and with such light notes when tasting it could almost be mistaken for a wine under this %, which in itself can be rather dangerous, but for all the right reasons. Since joining The Wine Society and finding we stock it, I just can’t help putting a bottle in my basket when placing my order.
I would heavily urge you to try this wine if you are a sauvignon lover or even just a red or white wine drinker looking to find a suitable wine to drink: you can’t go wrong with this! Something to hopefully enjoy through this lockdown and maybe a wine that you may find yourself going on to pick up in future orders when get-togethers are back on the menu!
Member Services Adviser
£10.95 - Bottle
£131 case of twelve
It’s a dangerous thing to work for a wine merchant. In the year I’ve been here I’ve watched my wine rack grow and my average bottle price creep up. I’ve dabbled with en primeur and I even have wine in Reserves. Most important of all, I’ve learned to avoid talking to our fine wine manager Shaun near payday.
Looking back over what I’ve bought to make a recommendation meant taking a deep breath. So many delicious wines. (So many guilty purchases.) But amongst the list were a few familiar favourites – the bottles I’ve reached for time after time, and thankfully ones that are as friendly on the wallet as they are on the table.
Baccolo Appassimento Rosso Veneto is one of those wines. I’ve enjoyed many bottles of it. It isn’t a wine that demands much thought – it’s an easy-going red – a cheery cherry nose, with spice and a little dried fruit on the finish. It’s proven to be a perfect accompaniment to a Friday Bolognese, box sets on a Saturday and to Sunday lunches (or the book I bury my head in afterwards while someone else washes up).
Which is all to say, it’s a wine that I’ve enjoyed with many of the things that make me happiest in life. I don’t think there’s a better endorsement.
Head of Marketing
£6.95 - Bottle
£41.50 case of six