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Archive for May, 2011

Ferngrove, The King Malbec, Frankland River, Australia £17.99

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

When you label a wine as “King” it can’t afford to be a wimpy and generic wine. It should be bold, authoritative and assertive. So far so good…..

You’d expect this wine to be pretty dark in character being a Malbec and this is indeed a plummy purple colour. There’s a really gamey nose which I found appealing and the palate shows off a cascade of dark berry flavours and very subtle oakiness. Despite having spent 20 months in a mixture of French and Hungarian oak this remains only a subtle side flavour which doesn’t detract in the slightest from the slightly sweet dark fruit notes.

It’s the texture of this wine however which gives you a subtle reminder that this is a very fine wine indeed. It is velvety smooth and quite clearly very well put together. It’s also slightly more giving than your typical Argentinian Malbec.

If you want to hear your guests emitting “oohs” and “aahs” I’d suggest you save the money on a box of fireworks and buy a bottle of this instead. Long live the King…..


Lalla Gully Riesling, Australia, £9

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

A fragrant little number from Tasmania, Australia, with a playful initial spritz on the tongue. There are lovely lime notes on the palate with a cheeky hint of marshmallow. It’s not an overly aggressive Riesling and is enormously drinkable. The nose is like a passing whiff of flowers and citrus fruits rather than having your head dunked into a bucket of lime juice.

I sometimes find Aussie Rieslings a little strained in their efforts to be as lime infused as possible, and as a result this was a welcome change. At £9.00 this is a classy Riesling which will please virtually anyone you choose to offer this to. This wine treads the balance of being interesting without risking offending certain wine drinkers.

A diplomatic Aussie. Who’d have thought it……


Find Wine is Great!

Friday, May 13th, 2011

We at www.FindWine.co.uk we are very excited today because we have 3 wines in the top 100 wines of the year at The London International Wine Fair next week!

In order to celebrate this fact we are giving you 10% off these wines for one week only!

However there is one little bit of bad news, one wine was so good that we have run out of it! Hamm Riesling is no more (for the time being) but we have plenty of the other two, so get stuck in!

Nostros Pinot Noir, Chile, £6.99

Two Hands Shiraz, Australia £15

Also, I have (Mike Howes) have been named by Harpers Wine and Spirits in their London International Wine Fair Edition as one of 12 opinion formers in the wine industry… as a reward they have printed a really awful photo of me on their front cover!

So success all round in the world of Find Wine today! Celebrate with us and buy some wine!

 


Respecting Value

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Next week is the London International Wine Fair, probably the biggest gathering of the wine trade in the world. It is a forum to discuss anything and everything relevant to the wine world with anyone and everyone involved in wine world wide. As is increasingly the case, online wine conversation and online retail will surely be one of the favoured topics discussed by many at the event.

It is widely regarded that to a great extent the online world is going to play an ever increasing role in world of wine, whether it is blogs and website slowly but surely replacing the traditional newspaper wine column or whether it is companies such as my own replacing the traditional small independent high street wine merchants. There are many topics that could and should be discussed about wine moving online but there is a specific issue that I want to raise today prior to the Wine Fair next week and that is discounting wine in order to draw in customers.

Now, I am certainly not too naive to think that we can entirely do away with discounting in the wine world. It is a classic commercial incentive to draw customers to a product, I have no issue with companies giving discounts in general, it works! However as more online wine merchants spring up there is increasing need for them to vie for customers, often wanting them to sign up to their subscription so they remain locked into their website. However in return for the subscription they are offered wine at massive discounts in order to make the subscription fee seem good value.

There is a problem with this model and I am not including supermarkets in this, as they can afford to lose money on wine but make it up elsewhere in store. The problem is that the discounts that are given by these companies are often so significant that they are either majorly inflating their prices in the first place to discount them back to normal, or they are losing money on wine purchases thereby relying on the next tranche of subscriptions to pay for the previous discounts given. Unless more and more customers are added, often requiring ever increasing discounts to incentivise sign ups then it does not take long for the company to run out of money. Plus in order to retain the customers,who are paying money every month to use the website, they have to provide them with major discounts too, again eating up all of the relatively small margins that exist in the wine world. In short it is not a sustainable model and at some point it will come unstuck.

From a wider point of view there are serious implications to the wider wine world, mainly being that it is very difficult to get someone to pay full price for something once they have received massive discount elsewhere.

It is a Chateauneuf du Pape problem. It maybe because it has the word Chateau in the name but many people consider CNDP to be a single wine and therefore when they see one for £10.99 somewhere they would never want to spend £25 elsewhere for what they consider must be pretty much the same product.

For most wine is simply a drink and that is absolutely fine, a recent article that caused a stir in the wine trade demonstrated that most consumers could not differentiate between a £5 wine and a £30 wine, I don’t think that makes any difference. If people prefer £5 wine then sell them that, there is no problem there, in fact this website is entirely geared to finding good value everyday drinking wines. What is a problem is people not buying wine because it does not appear to have a discount attached.

In time this system of selling wine will devalue the wine trade into playing this game  because it will become so hard to sell wine without also providing a discount. As a small online retailer we look for wines that we believe represent good value and our customers trust that our selection and buy wine without having to be constantly pushed by a discount.


Don Nicanor Malbec, Argentina, £10.99

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I love my dark and dense wines though usually reserve them for the winter months when they provide comfort whilst the rain outside batters the window! However, the lovely chaps at Find Wine challenged me to try this and I wasn’t about to tell them to wait until the winter!

This wine is, as expected, a dark purple colour and the spicy plummy notes don’t wait for you to stick your nose in; they come looking for you!… The wine has a good strong edge to it with a streak of acidity. As a result it is quite a refreshing wine and one that you could happily drink whatever the season. There’s a hint of the 14% abv lurking beneath the surface which is present on the palate but this is by no means obtrusive. After about 30 minutes in the glass the wine really settled down and opened up. There’s a nice hint of caramel here too which softens things up.

All in all, this is a very good example of Argentinian Malbec which is great value at £10.99. It’s playful with a hidden dark side which is exactly what I’m looking for in a Malbec. Get this on the table next to a decent steak and the rest will take care of itself!


Les Acrobat Rose 2010

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I’ll happily hold my hand up to being something of a wine snob sometimes and Rosé, along with Pinot Grigio, has always been one of those wines which has my snob radar on full alert.

Of late though I’ve found myself warming more to the idea of Rosé wine, and the clever chaps at Find Wine have clearly picked up on this, as they’ve just sent me a bottle of Les Acrobates Rosé 2010 from the Languedoc.

 

I find that some Rosé wines leave my teeth positively throbbing due to their incredible sweetness. Happily this wine is a much more subtle effort which slides down effortlessly and instantly reminded me of holidays in Greece where Rosé was my wine of choice in preference to the local Retsina.

 

This wine is a very summery one indeed. Both the nose and palate are dominated by pleasant strawberry notes and there’s a slight creaminess to it which rounds the wine off very nicely. I’m still not an ardent Rosé fan, but if I were this is what I’d be drinking, and at £5.99 a bottle you can’t go wrong.