The Wine Place Wine Club ( Part Two




The Autumn Selection –

Last week’s article told of a new wine club, whose aim is to satisfy our desire for international wines whilst living here in Spain. This week I’ll be telling you about the three impressive, and expressive, wines I’ve tasted from their Autumn Selection. Put simply, I recommend them and therefore the Wine Club!


I love the wide variety of Spanish wines that are so easily obtainable here in Spain and I pity those who live in the UK where the Spanish wines that are easily found are not always representative of the quality that is available here. There is nothing like the variety either!


However, whilst it’s true that we have any number of really good Spanish wines available in all styles here, it’s also true to say that many of us find ourselves missing wines from other countries – of which there is a dearth in Spain. Well seems perfectly placed to help!


As explained last week (still available to read at click Cork Talk) the club offers a carefully selected (following extensive tastings by club founder Mark O’Neill and his team) quarterly twelve bottle case of wines from all over the world. For example, my three were a Champagne, a white from Australia and a Rhône red, though the full case included wines from South Africa, Argentina, Chile and Italy, to name some of the other countries represented.


Champagne Lallier (given 91 points out of 100 in the well respected Wine Spectator publication) is made with 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Champagne, all sourced from Grand Cru vineyards. This is a style of Champagne that I really like – for the black grape Pinot Noir contributes a greater depth to the wine as well as different flavour nuances too.


Champagne lovers can’t fail to be pleased with this wine. It has all the classic brioche, patisserie, yeasty notes and a certain elegance on the palate too. There’s depth of flavour and length of finish making this Champagne just right for celebrations but also for aperitif and starter dining too. Super!


I, and my fellow tasters over a super lunch, were enamoured by the lovely Australian white wine, The Rude Mechanicals Ephemera 2012 – the name itself (plagiarised from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, incidentally!) is a mouthful, and so is the wine, in the very best possible sense!


A blend of the ultra aromatic Viognier and Pinot Gris varieties, the wine is a riot of fruit (apple, pear, apricot) and floral (white flowers and honeysuckle) notes – aromas and flavours! On it’s own it’s a wonderful aperitif but it’s also perfect with light starters, fish, shellfish; and because of an endearing ginger spice note it will be super with Thai and Indonesian cuisine too! We all loved this unusual, eclectic wine – even the label is wild!


The final wine that I tried was a splendid multi-layered Côtes du Rhône Villages. So mellow on the palate and yet rich with depth of flavour, there’s a weighty mouthfeel,  but there’s elegance in abundance too. It’s long lasting and if any of us has doubts about Rhône wines, this will dispel them immediately. There’s nothing harsh here it’s all red wine pleasure.


Les Coteaux 2010 is a blend of Grenache and Syrah which must have been harvested at optimum ripeness. Yes, there’s the spice of Syrah – some black pepper, but it’s all integrated in the delicious berry fruit – blackberry, but also lighter fruit, loganberry and red currant, for example, along with a subtle oak influence that adds to the experience.


I’d gladly drink this wine on its own and with meat orientated food, including chicken and here’s a possibility, with Roast Turkey. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!


Contact Colin: and through his unique website as well as Twitter @colinonwine


PS Like Sherry and want to taste and learn more? Like to try the high altitude wines of Granada mentioned in Cork Talk? If so, watch this space for details of a great Short Break I’m organising, early Spring 2014! Or e-mail me for details!



Considering that approximately 95% of the approaching one million words that I’ve written about wine in Cork Talk over the sixteen+ years I’ve been writing the column has been specifically about Spanish wine, I don’t think that I’m turning traitor by writing, this week, about imported wines! I hope you agree.


Indeed it wouldn’t surprise me at all if you like to occasionally step off the Spanish piste and taste some wines from different countries, as indeed I do. Please, don’t misunderstand me – my love affair with Spanish wines continues. There is such a wealth of super wine made in this country that it almost seems greedy to try wines from other countries too.


But it’s nice to see what the opposition are up to sometimes! And yes, of course, there are excellent wines being made all over the world. The problem is that, if resident in Spain, one rarely has the opportunity to taste them here. Spain, essentially just doesn’t do ‘foreign’ wines!


Yes, it’s true that some wines from different countries can be found here, but I’m not always sure they are so well chosen and also, given that sales are relatively slow, I’m not sure either if the international wines we are able to buy are in their best condition, and are truly representative. I’m also a little worried about the prices of these wines!


Well no worries – there is now a new Wine Club established in Valencia city with the ability to deliver all over the Valencia Community, and beyond, to satisfy a need which is common to many of us., having being started simply by a group of friends who craved some international wines, is spreading its wings!


It’s founder, Mark O’Neill, is actually in the wine business, here in Spain. His company, Verde Marte SL, is involved in various wine making projects all over Spain (more on this interesting company in another Cork Talk!). Mark and his friends therefore have access to many Spanish wines but, like ourselves, they also crave some international variety.


Their initial thoughts, no doubt over a glass or two of wine, developed into a hobby idea where they sourced wines from different countries for their own consumption. Without realising it, initially, this was a nascent wine business in embryonic form. No doubt over more glasses of wine, this time internationally produced, the idea took shape, morphing into a new and exciting Wine Club


Following my article on fellow Irishman, Kevin McAlindon, Caballero del Vino, Mark called me to ask if I was interested in hearing about his fledgling business. Of course I was as I knew it would be of interest to Cork Talk readers too, for the above reasons!


Mark heads a team of four, all of whom have a passion for wine as well as qualifications, experience and expertise. Their contacts in the wine world provide them with plenty of opportunity to source quality (they only deal in quality wines) from all parts of the globe. To give an example their current, Autumn, selection includes wines from countries as diverse as: France (including Champagne), Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, Germany, South Africa and Argentina!


What’s more, the above selection includes classic grape varieties known to, and loved by, us all, but also some varieties that are perhaps less well known, and certainly less available here in Spain – Cinsault, Malbec, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Riesling, for example!


And how does it work? Well there is a quarterly selection of a dozen wines – above gives some detail of the Autumn selection, and of course there’ll be a Winter Selection available soon, if not already. Each selection is comprised of different wines of course, so over a year’s membership you are sure to have tasted a considerable number of different countries’ wines, different grape varieties and blends as well as different styles of wine. Sounds great doesn’t it!


And if you read Cork Talk next week you’ll see just how good the wines are too. I tasted three of the Autumn Selection and was delighted – read my comments next week!


Contact Colin: and and also via Twitter @colinonwine