Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 16 May 2016

Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 16 May 2016

Standing in the wine aisle choosing bottles can be a tiring and tiresome business, so why not let someone else do the hard work and get a case of pre-chosen wines delivered to your door? Many companies offer this option, including Virgin Wines with their 14 bottle Customer Favourites mixed red and white case at a price to you guv for £109.99. Now before you keel over completely, that works out at an average advertised bottle price of £7.86 (boosted to £8.43 when you add in the £7.99 delivery) – but is it worth the money?

Well if you want to pay around £8 a bottle then it is. With some individualistic wines mixed in with some more expensive bottles to entice you in (the case includes Wild Dog Padathaway Australian Shiraz which you can buy individually from Virgin Wines for £15.99) then you’d have to say that this is a cut above the average supermarket wine ailse offerings.

But does it stack up to other wine case delivery options? Two close rivals to Virgin Wines that are well worth considering are Majestic and Laithwaites.

Now Majestic was one of the pioneers of the ‘wine warehouse’ – offering quality wines that could be bought by the case in easy to get to car-friendly locations. You can still drive down to your local Majestic (and that’s how they like you to think of them – local) but why bother? Their recently introduced free delivery makes them a serious rival. The closest match in style and price is Majestic’s The Terrific Twelve case at £78.88, with an average bottle price of £6.57, but it fails to match the higher quality wines found in the Virgin case – but then as you’re paying approximately £1.50 less a bottle it’s not too surprising.

Okay so let’s pay more per bottle. Laithwaites (famous for being behind many of those Sunday supplement adverts for home delivery of wine by the case) also offers pre-mixed red and white cases – including the Experts Choice at £119.88. The average bottle price of £9.99 makes it slightly more expensive than Virgin’s Customer Favourites but it too contains some more expensive bottles – like Beyond the Stump Australian Shiraz at £13.99 if bought individually. So similar in content and price with an indentical delivery cost of £7.99 – making it difficult to choose between the two.

What it comes down to in the end is, do you see yourself as a Virgin Wines type of customer or are you more Laithwaites? Brand identification may play a greater part in your decision than price in this instance. 

PG Wine Review Virgin Wines Customer Favourites Mixed Case

The contents of Virgin’s Customer Favourites mixed case changes frequently so the wine reviews shown below are as delivered April 2016:

Marqués de Valencia Spanish Gran Reserva 2008

£8.99 individual bottle price

A balanced and tasty red made with the Tempranillo grape that makes an alternative to Bordeaux or Chianti in style. Cherry, coconut and raisin flavours with some cocoa dryness that is at odds to the fuller aromas of violets and toffee.

Warrior Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2014

£9.99 individual bottle price

Wonderfully floral Sauvignon Blanc – no in-your-face gooseberriness here.

White Bear Reserve Chardonnay 2013, USA

£9.99 individual bottle price

This wine smells like a melon sponge dessert and tastes like an apple lollipop.

Baciato del Sole Italian Primitivo 2014

£9.99 individual bottle price

A lighter style of red with sharper notes of fresh blackberry and instant coffee that make it a good choice to match with fresh tomato dishes.

The Black Pig Australian Pinot Grigio 2015

£9.99 individual bottle price

Easy drinking creamy and apple flavours, but refined.

La Chascona Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2015

£9.99 individual bottle price

A light and fresh Sauvignon Blanc but with enough gooseberriness so you know it’s a Sauvignon.

Coorong Sounds Australian Reserve Shiraz 2014

£9.99 individual bottle price

A lighter style of Shiraz that’s more like a modern Valpolicella with its flavours of plums and violets

The Black Pig Australian Sauvignon Blanc 2014

£12.99 individual bottle price

Fresh grapefruit and melon flavours.

Finca Los Principes Spanish Rioja 2015

£12.99 individual bottle price

Creamy blackcurrant, damson and black coffee sharpness.

Wild Dog Padathaway Australian Shiraz 2012

£15.99 individual bottle price

Lots going on here: wood, spice, choc, creamy cherry and blackberry. You’ll manage to drink it never the less.


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© Paula Goddard 2016