Prices are tax included
The Wine Palate one minute guide to understanding wine
Although we get wine made from elderflower and blueberry, the wine we all drink comes mainly from a grape species (or genus) called Vitis Vinifera. There are about 32 varieties of Vitis Vinifera (both red and white), and the names of these varieties give us the names of wine that we all recognise – Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel and Riesling to name a few.
What affects wine – the soil the vines grow in, the climate, harvesting and ageing (for example spending time in oak barrels before bottling) all have an effect on wines. In particular soil type and climate mean some wines get an excellent reputation – like Californian reds, or Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough in New Zealand.
Some wines regions have such a distinct reputation and history, that they call the wine by a different name – Rioja for example is a tempranillo grape grown in a the Rioja region of Spain. Another example of this is Chianti – which is actually the Sangiovse grape. Does this mean you should only ever drink Rioja or Chianti and ignore tempranillo or Sangiovese – definitely not - because these grapes grow really well in other countries!
More than one grape
Many wines we see are made from a single grape, but part of the fun of wine is exploring wines that are blended from more than one grape. These blends have come as a result of years of knowledge and experimentation by experts, and the reason they do this is different for every blend – lightening the flavour, or making the wine smoother are two examples.
And then there is France ?
There is a different rulebook for France! For starters they call things by different names. Sancerre is the Sauvignon Blanc grape, and Beaujolais is Gamay. Secondly, France have over 600 classifications – these are known as appellations and combine regions, villages and quality levels to make up the names. Here’s an example – “Cotes” is the hill beside the river, So Cotes du Rhone is made of grapes grown on the hillside of the Rhone. Then they have Cotes Du Rhone villages which means the same but with grapes sourced from the top producing villages (and so is better quality). France does a lot of blending as well– Bordeaux wines often have as many as 5 grapes.
The Taste Test
We all have different preferences and palates, but trying new wines and learning all about them is not only fun – but broadens your view of wine. We run tasting events, where we take out the jargon, explain about aromas, and let you try new wines – and learn all about them. We also have a food matching guide and a wine dictionary to help.
Why pay more
If you buy wine for under £5 the UK government take about £2.70. Once you add up retailer profit, bottling and labelling it leaves the winemaker less than £1 to grow and harvest grapes and make the wine - so for that price you are not getting quality. But when you pay more you get top quality grapes, winemaking, ageing – and a far superior and smoother wine - even for £7 or £8 a bottle.
All our wines are sourced from smaller independent vineyards, and we have tried and approved them all.
This means you can buy with confidence – always assured of quality.
Welcome to a world of quality wine.