Let’s be honest, faced with a wall of bottles of the supermarket, who doesn’t choose one based on discount offers or a particularly pretty label? (Holding my hand up here.)
But I’ve always been keen to learn more about wine and try brands and varieties I may not come across in mainstream shops. The Grape Club is a subscription service that expertly selects four bottles of wine (a mixed box of two white and two red or a red only box) and delivers them to your door along with tasting notes and food pairings for each bottle.
The wines were presented in a neat, handled box with minimal packaging and each bottle’s label was clear and concise, avoiding unnecessary wine waffle but highlighted the key points. I really enjoyed the friendly style of writing and there was some genuinely entertaining trivia thrown in too.
My box concentrated on two brands, one from Austria and one from Australia and you’ll find there is some sort of theme each month to keep it interesting.
First up to try was the Wagram Gruner Veltliner from Eschenhof Holzer. The quirky labelling is something I wouldn’t have gone for and I had never even heard of the Grüner Veltliner grape variety either despite being Austria’s most common grape. Although I tend to stick to reds, I adored this white which had plenty of character and a pleasant slight fizz. I agreed with the unusual peppery undertone and floral/citrus high notes. It’s certainly up there with one of the better whites I’ve tried.
However, I wasn’t so keen on the red from this maker, the Wagram Zweigelt 2013. I personally found it a little too acidic and light, I prefer my reds richer, fruitier and full bodied. My husband loved it and caused quite a heated debate over the dinner table that night! I supposed that is part of the fun in trying different bottles.
The Australian Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2010 from Allegory was far more my kind of red. A mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and my favourite Merlot, this was rich, elegant, juicy and dangerously drinkable. I would have been happy with four bottles of this but I suppose that would not be in the spirit of variety!
Finally, the Allegory Sauvignon/Semillon 2014 was another white I unexpectedly enjoyed. Nicely fruity without too much crispness and acidity I don’t like in a white. Plenty of basket on the palate as they say (one of the few wine terms I love!).
A real benefit of The Grape Club is how flexible they seem to be as you can tailor the frequency of your boxes, even pausing them or then can creating bespoke boxes for you.
As their strapline, Discover Better Wine, suggests, services like The Grape Club also lower the risk of choosing bad wine as selection is left to the professionals. The company was set up by cousins Anthony and Louisa Symington who come from a wine producing background so you know you’re in safe hands.
And if you do find you do like a particular wine, you can order a case along with your 15% members discount.
At £45 for a box of four wines delivered, I thought was pretty good value and affordable for a regular purchase. It would also make a nice one off gift too.
Wine is a great subject for a subscription service. There are plenty of brands and varieties to try and quite fun to experiment with. Whilst you may not love every bottle, its highly likely you’ll appreciate the majority and even find a firm favourite or two in the process.