The question for any serious wine lover is not, can you can afford the Wine Society’s £40 lifetime membership but, with £20 off your first order, can you afford not to join? Fringe benefits such as delivery, storage and voluminous tastings aside, TWS demonstrated, with mouthwatering highlights from its Spring collection, that in quality, variety and value, its list is the equal of any in the country.
Aromatic dry whites grouped together showed exciting diversity with a scented and refreshingly grapey 2015 Koyle Don Cande Itata Muscat , £7.50, from Chile’s southernmost valley and a fragrant pot pourri floral Peloponnese white in the 2015 Semeli Moschofilero Mantinia Nasiakos, £9.75. There was a fresh, ripe and juicy 2015 Malagousia Tetramythos, £9.95, an opulently peachy yet refreshing 2015 Undurraga Cauquenes Maule Viogner Roussanne Marsanne, £6.95, and a flavoursome lime-citrus, zesty 2014 Langhe Riesling, Poderi Colla, £11.50.
Richly textured and food-friendly dry whites included a stylishly nutty white Burgundy from François d’Allaine 2013 Bourgogne Blanc Côte Chalonnaise, £11.50, the Society’s crème fraîchey 2014 Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay, £13.50, impeccably sourced from Kumeu River, and a superbly rich, apple and honeyed 2012 Saumur La Dame, Domaine de Roche Ville, £14.95, whose crisp bite is a perfect foil for pan-fried sea bass.
Great value reds began with a sweet and sour cherryish 2014 Dornfelder Trocken, £7.50, a gutsy, mulberryish Turkish 2013 Öküzgözü, Vinkara, £7.75 and a succulently mint-flecked, blackberryish 2014 Blind Spot Old Vine Clare Valley Mataro, £9.95. The value theme continued: a youthfully primary, cherryish 2014 Avaniel, Ribera del Duero, £7.25, a spicy, rich and savoury 2013 La Clape Rouge, Château Rouquette-sur-Mer, £9.95, and vivid, primary black cherry and herb-scented 2014 Chinon Le Temps des Cerises, Domaine de la Noblaie, £8.95.
You could make up a fabulous mixed case from any of these but with Easter around the corner, why not add a touch of class with the fragrant, spicy, richly black-fruited 2013 Zaha Mendoza Malbec, £20, the violet-perfumed, velvet-textured classic 2012 Einaudi Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi Barolo, £32, and the scented, sinewy, spicy 2010 Sagrantino, Scacciadiavoli, Montefalco, £18. Thank you and au revoir.
Something for the Weekend 19 March 2016
2014 Josef Chromy Pure South Tasmanian Chardonnay
Behind aromatic tones of grapefruit and a refeshing spritz, apple and sweet honeydew melon flavours kick in before Tasmania’s cool zing keeps things crisp. £11, £8.25 buying 6, £8.80 buying 3, down from £14 , Marks & Spencer.
2007 Rioja Reserva, Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta
Bonfire smoke and gamey scents mingle in this classy, mature blend, giving way to a mellowing, silky richness of vanilla-tinged, succulent dark red fruits and leathery complexity. £19.50, The Wine Society, £19.99, or £17.99 buying 6, Majestic.
2010 Crociani Vin Santo di Montepulciano
Easter is synonymous with Tuscany’s holy vin santo, aged five years in small casks for an immensely rich, intense dried fruits confection with beguiling aromas of toffee and grilled almond offset by a mouthwateringly zesty freshness. £19.49, half-bottle, Waitrose.