The secrets to cooking with wine

With so many wines to choose from, cooking with wine can often cause confusion in the kitchen when really, it doesn’t need to be that challenging. Adding a splash of wine to a dish can really help bring out new flavours and aromas as well as keeping moisture in. With different wine styles come different flavours and qualities. We’re here with all the secrets and top tips you need to know when adding a drop of wine into your next meal. 

What happens when you cook with wine? 

When cooking with wine, the majority of alcohol actually burns off in the process. How much alcohol remains in the dish will come down to the cooking time, method used, and amount of wine being added in. Whilst a wine reduction will leave little trace of alcohol due to its slow cooking time, a flambé will have a higher alcohol content due to being cooked for a shorter period of time. Different cooking methods also come with their benefits for the dish.

Ways to cook with wine 

Wine isn’t just to add into your casserole. There are a range of methods you can use to cook with wine, each with their own qualities. 

Marinades 

Marinading meats can actually help make them really tender, with the wine’s acidity breaking down fibres in the meat. Marinading meats and vegetables assists with adding extra flavour too.

Reductions 

A wine reduction is concentrated sauce, made by thickening wine over the heat. As the wine heats up, it will start to evaporate leaving intense flavours and a thick consistency. A number of vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery can be added for a different flavour.

Deglazing 

Deglazing a pan can produce a very simple yet tasty sauce in just a few steps. After pan-frying meat or vegetables and removing to rest, add your choice of wine to the hot pan or dish. Over a moderate to high heat, stir the wine amongst the brown bits in the pan. You’ll be left with a delicious sauce to serve as it is. Alternatively, it is the perfect base for making a gravy or casserole.

Baking 

Cooking with wine is so versatile, it can be included in various baked goods too. Some luxury cakes call for a drop of champagne and fruit desserts can benefit from the use of fortified wines such as port and sherry.

It doesn’t have to be your cheapest bottle 

Just because you are cooking and not sipping from a glass, doesn’t mean you have to go for the cheapest bottle of wine. In fact some cheaper wines can often lack flavour or be too high in acidity which can actually ruin the dish rather than enhance it. If you aren’t happy to drink it, then don’t cook with it. We’re not suggesting you use your finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape … but do look to take advantage of our current wine offers to pick up something really quite delicious to include in your cooking. 

Best red wines for cooking 

Red wine is great for including in darker meat dishes. Here are our top picks …

Merlot 

This fruit forward red has low tannins so makes it a great to cook with. It goes nicely with red meat dishes and when it comes to making a sauce or reduction, is the perfect choice. 

Pinot Noir 

Pinot Noir is a silky, light wine and if the recipe calls for a lot, a pinot noir won’t overpower the other components and flavours. It’s a great choice for cooking a meaty stew or casserole and will ensure meat stays tender. Due to its light style, it also works well alongside fattier meats. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

This full-bodied red wine is perfect for braising dishes and will play a part in helping the meat fall straight off the bone. A Cabernet Sauvignon is also a great option for deglazing. Its low sugar will prevent it from caramelising which will leave you with a delicious sauce. 

Best white wines for cooking 

Dishes that work well cooked with white wine include risotto, pasta, chicken and seafood. As a general rule, crisp, dry, unoaked whites are always a good place to start. 

Chardonnay 

A creamy, full bodied Chardonnay is often known to have a buttery taste. It comes together nicely when cooking lobster, creamy chicken dishes and pasta sauces. We would recommend avoiding using an oaked chardonnay as when cooked down this can produce bitter flavours.  

Pinot Grigio

This dry, crisp, simple wine is a popular choice when it comes to cooking with white wine and is so versatile. It is great at complimenting more delicate foods such as mussels and creamy shrimp linguine.  

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is known for its citrussy and herbaceous flavours, and that’s exactly what it brings to a dish when cooking with it. It’s a perfect addition to a creamy risotto but works just as well for a fresh, zingy marinade on chicken and fish. 

Want to learn more? 

Join Tom Kerridge and Tom Laithwaite at our Cooking with Wine event at this year’s Virtual Vintage Festival

Tom Kerridge is the extremely popular and much-loved chef patron of the two Michelin-starred The Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, which he opened with his wife, Beth, in 2005. Tom’s winning presence and infectious laugh made him a natural for TV, his first show Proper Pub Food was an overnight success. Tom’s latest programme Saving Britain’s Pubs sees Tom set out on a mission to revive struggling pubs, investigating industry challenges and the impact of Covid-19. Tom is also a successful author of cookbooks, many of which have tied in with his TV series, his latest being The Hand & Flowers Cookbook from Bloomsbury. If that wasn’t enough, Tom has also created cookware, homeware and a range of sauces including a black garlic ketchup. 

Tom Kerridge
Tom Laithwaite

In this masterclass Tom welcomes us to Marlow. Tom is keen to bust the myth of ‘cooking wines’ and believes you should cook with the best wine you can afford. Tom will be sharing two mouth-watering recipes one made with red wine and one with white. Tom Laithwaite will also be on hand from his brother’s winery just down the road in Marlow, Harrow & Hope, to advise us on the best wines to pair with these dishes. 

Click here to find out more and book your place at our Virtual Vintage Festival running from 15-17th April 2021.

Raising a glass to the women in wine this International Women’s Day

We’re celebrating the women in wine this International Women’s Day and the spotlight is on our talented female winemakers and producers from across the globe. Find out more about the women producing a number of our top selling, quality wines.

Jo Nash, McPherson Wines

Jo joined McPherson Wines in Victoria Australia in 2011 after graduating. Since then, she has gone on to produce great value and quality tasting wines which are sold globally. She’s been awarded numerous trophies and accolades for her generous, elegantly crafted wines.

One of our most popular reds, The Full Fifteen, is a beautiful creation by Jo and assistant winemaker, Olivia Forbes. The pair have created a black red that’s velvety smooth and immensely drinkable from day one. If a creamy white wine is more to your taste, Jo is the talent behind the exotic McPherson Aquarius Marsanne Viognier.

She’s also married to a winemaker, and in their spare time they make small batch wine at home, enlisting their four children to help pick the grapes and stomp on them with their bare feet.

Sofia Barbanera, Barbanera Estate

Sofia is a bubbly, smiley, charming character, and has been full-time winemaker at the Barbanera estate since 2010. She was raised on the family property, always playing in the vineyards and the cellar, and helping her grandparents with the wine. After growing up around wine, she then went on to study viticulture and winemaking at university and after graduating, gained experience at the renowned Poliziano estate in Tuscany.

The family own two Tuscan cellars, as well as renting space in a cellar in Puglia. Sofia enjoys experimenting in her winemaking. Sangiovese is her favourite grape and is one of the three used in the carefully crafted and award winning Saracosa. We always look forward to trying her new vintage of the Super Tuscan star!

Nadia Johnson, Newton Johnson Family Vineyard

Nadia and husband Gordon are the winemaking duo at Newton Johnson Family Vineyards and between them have experience of over 30 vintages. She is from 6 generations of growers – from Robertson. Nadia read oenology and viticulture at Stellenbosch, did two years winemaking in Constantia, then joined the team at Gordon’s family winery but has also gained experience in Marlborough, Cuvaison in Napa, Sichel in Bordeaux and in Alsace. Their Chardonnay is truly exceptional!

Emma Norbiato, Westend Estate

With over 20 years’ experience in winemaking across multiple fine wine regions, Emma has been Chief Winemaker at Westend Estate since 2018 and is responsible for the much-loved Yarrunga Field Special Reserve White.

She’s been known to produce great quality and trendy wines and her winemaking skills have not gone unnoticed. In 2016 she was awarded was ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in the Australian Women in Wine Awards and was a finalist for Gourmet Travellers 2019 ‘Winemaker of the Year’.

Joana Lopes, Quinta do Casal Branco

Joanna is the fourth generation of her family who have been involved in wine and has been a winemaker at Quinta do Casal Branco since 2013. She was brought up in the Alentejo region of Portugal, in a family of vine growers. After helping as a child, her interests grew and Joana went on to study agronomy at the University of Lisbon, following it with a masters in oenology.

Now, the young and talented winemaker is behind our rich, mouthfilling Lobo e Falcão. Joana makes this red specially for us, blending Syrah with Portugal’s exciting native grapes. It’s made at a 17th century estate owned by the Lobo de Vasconcellos family, once the location of the king’s falconry.

Lorena Deaconu, The Iconic Estate

With more than 20 years of experience, Lorena Deaconu is a true master in the winemaking world. She’s chief winemaker at Romania’s Iconic Estate and makes all our current Paris Street and La Catina wines. As well as that, Lorena makes the very popular and award winning Burebista Shiraz Feteasca Neagra.

When talking to Lorena about her job, her passion for winemaking shines through like a beacon. She truly loves what she does, despite the 17-hour days during harvest and wouldn’t do anything else. “What other job lets you travel worldwide, meet new friends and interesting people. Wine is a good friend of mine.”

Nicole McPheeters

US born Nicole McPheeters has taken southwest France to her heart and is making exciting and truly authentic wines. Despite her youth, she has put in plenty of vintages all over the world, adding a bright New World touch to winemaking.

After studying in the US, Australia and Argentina, she became a ‘flying winemaker’, covering two vintages a year – one in the southern hemisphere and one in the north. And in the summer of 2018, she found herself in Fronton, working a vintage in the local co-op. When she first arrived, she spent some time in Toulouse, enjoying long, golden evenings drinking the excellent local rosé crafted with the local grape, Négrette. This inspired her to craft her own beguiling blush, Violette de Mireval.

Whilst we couldn’t give a special shoutout to all of the women in wine we have the pleasure of working alongside, we’re raising a glass to every women in the wine industry, inspiring and achieving incredible things each day!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Choosing the best Mother’s Day gift can often be a challenging task. Flowers, perfume, chocolates, jewellery … the list goes on! Even though many of us won’t be able to celebrate with our mothers in person this year, that won’t stop us from sending them a thoughtful gift that they truly deserve … and luckily for you, we have plenty to choose from. We’ve picked out our top gifts so you can say an extra special thank you and spoil them rotten this March 14th.

For the mothers who enjoy a glass of fine fizz

Champagne really is the ultimate fizz and there’s nothing quite like popping open a bottle. For the fizz-loving mother figure in your life, these gifts will be sure to make them smile.

Mini Didier Champagne and Straws Set – £35

These 200ml bottles each come with their own straw (optional, of course) and are perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day virtually, so you can save that big bottle for when you can meet up. The Champagne itself is a double Gold-medal winning beauty, full of ripe stone fruit flavours and deliciously crisp. Plus, it’s conveniently packaged in a handy carry box.

Piper Heidsieck Rosé Champagne – with exclusive chiller wrap – £45

Champagne is a great choice of gift, so why not take it to the next level with a splash of pink. The intensely pink colour and flavours of Morello cherries and redcurrants is bound to go down a treat, especially when served chilled from the accompanying champagne sleeve.

Deutz Sakura Edition Brut Rosé Champagne – £50

Deutz has launched a stunning Sakura Edition of their Brut Rosé Champagne to mark the blossoming of the cherry trees. Anyone who has witnessed this eruption of riotous pink flowers and the joy it brings in the Land of the Rising Sun will know that it’s worthy of serious celebration. And what better way do it than with a tasty bottle of delicate pink bubbles?

For the ‘Ginthusiast’

If your mum is partial to a G&T, or any other tasty gin creation, these unique gin gifts will be perfect for her this Mother’s Day.

Berkshire Botanical Dry Gin – £19.99

This botanical dry gin is an IWSC Gold medal winner crafted in the beautiful Berkshire village of Yattendon. Distilled with hand-picked botanicals, this crisp gin makes for perfectly balanced G&T as well as a number of tasty gin cocktails, and it really comes into its own with an orange peel garnish. An excellent Mother’s Day gift, this gin has been made with heart, because Berkshire Botanical have partnered with Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Windsor Great Park Gin Gift – £35.95

This is the first ever gin from our Windsor Great Park vineyard, a perfect treat for a gin fan. Crafted from surplus Chardonnay grapes plus juniper, lemon verbena, elderflower and thyme from the Savill Gardens just next door, this is an elegant, citrusy gin that will delight any G&T lover. A generous gift – if you aren’t tempted to try it yourself first!

Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Set – £75

Bring the bar to your home with this beautiful cocktail set from Edinburgh Gin. It includes a bottle of their classic London Dry style gin plus all the tools for mixing the perfect G&T (and many other delicious gin cocktails) … a mixing jug and spoon, measure and zester. Just add ice and a slice!

Something a little different

Looking for an alternative to treat your mum on Mother’s Day? These gifts certainly tick the box.

Tray of Delights – £34.99

Beautifully presented in an elegant willow tray, this superb selection of treats is a truly delicious and generous gift for those looking to spoil someone on Mother’s Day. It’s filled with cheesy bites and salted pretzels, sticky toffee oat biscuits and luxury chocolates … plus a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy alongside!

Classic Mixed Trio Gift – £35

This unique gift is perfect for wine-loving mums out there. The elegant trio of wines include toasty Barón de Barbón (our bestselling Rioja), the fresh Luminoso Leggero Prosecco and Company Bay’s lively Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Best enjoyed simply by themselves or alongside a delicious Mother’s Day meal.

Be sure to check out our full range of gifts, perfect for all occasions.

2021 Valentine’s Day gift guide

While we may not be celebrating this Valentine’s Day in our favourite bars and restaurants, that won’t stop us making the most of this day and celebrating from the sofa. Our 2021 Valentine’s Day gift guide is here. Show your loved one how much you care with our specially selected romantic wine gifts – there’s something to put a smile on everyone’s face. With lockdown still going, some of us may not be able to see our valentine this February 14th or, we might have a ‘Galentine’ (close female friend) who needs a pick-me up. Whichever gift you choose, we’ll package it beautifully and deliver it straight to your door (or theirs), and you can include your very own personalised message too.

For Her

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a bottle of Champagne works just as well to show you care.

Champagne, Flutes & Truffles

£59

Award-winning Champagne paired perfectly with chocolate truffles; this luxury gift will make your loved one feel extra special. You’ll also receive Dartington Crystal flutes to sip the bubbly from.

Mini Didier Champagne and Straws Set

£35

What could be more exciting than the pop of a bottle of Champagne, you ask? Well, how about the pop of four? These 200ml bottles come with their own straws too! The perfect gift for those who enjoy a glass of fizz.

Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne

£45

If Champagne is the gift of choice, then pink Champagne has to be the next level of refinement. Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage is guaranteed to please, from this well-known yet underrated Champagne house. The intensely pink colour and Morello cherry and redcurrant flavours will bring joy to the recipient, especially served well chilled from the accompanying bottle sleeve.

For Him

What do you buy the guy who has everything? We’ve got just the idea …

The Complete Book of Ports Gift Set

£50

This one’s for the Port lovers, and anyone seeking an original gift idea. The book contains 10 different tasting samples of port plus background information and tasting notes.

Rioja and Glasses Gift Set

£25

Our bestselling Rioja by far, this smart gift set includes two glasses that will enhance the oak-aged aromas and flavours, opening up its toasty and spicy notes.

Date Night

Turn off your phones, dim the lights and settle down to enjoy some quality time together. If you’re planning a romantic meal, we’ve got the perfect bottle to go with dinner, from elegant whites to full-bodied reds. If you just fancy cosying up in front of the telly, there’s nothing like a chilled bottle of pink Champagne straight from the ice bucket or tucking into a hamper full of delicious goodies.

Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Flutes and Ice Bucket

£90

Date night just reached a whole new level. This lavish set is a real treat, with one of the most famous of pink Champagnes, presented in a special gift box with two Dartington Crystal flutes and a Laurent-Perrier branded ice bucket.

Tray of Delights Hamper

£34.99

Say hello to our Tray of Delights. This neat hamper is packed with delectable treats, including cheesy bites and salted pretzels, sticky toffee oat biscuits and luxury chocolates and a zesty Sauvignon Blanc to accompany.

Classic Mixed Trio

£35

An elegant set of three to enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Our bestselling Rioja, lively Sauvignon Blanc and a fresh Prosecco. Like a three-piece suit or a sparkly cocktail dress, there’s a reason why the classics never go out of style.

You can view our full range of gifts here. We’d love to know what you’re treating your nearest and dearest to this Valentine’s Day. Be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts (@sundaytimeswineclub) to let us know!

Christmas Tips with Will Lyons

Myself and Michel Roux Jr.

The Christmas gastronomic marathon is upon us and although understandably this year will be very different we still need a glass or two for the big day. I recently caught up with one of Britain’s best loved chefs Michel Roux Jr at his renowned restaurant in Mayfair, Le Gavroche and over a glass of the club’s Didier Chopin Brut Champagne we discussed and shared our top food and wine tips for Christmas. For subscribers of The Sunday Times you can view the discussion here.

If you can’t view it, don’t worry! I have shared the answers to some of the most frequent wine questions I get asked at this time of year.

What wine goes with Christmas pudding?

Can I let you into a little secret? Although I love the theatre of serving Christmas pudding, turning off the lights, drenching it in a generous glass of warm brandy before striking a match and engulfing the pudding in a flickering swirl of blue flame, I’m not entirely sure I like Christmas pudding that much. But Christmas day is the one day of the year where you can justifiably serve a sweet wine. There are a few options. A chilled glass of tawny port can pair well and then you can keep it in your glass for the cheese afterwards. Bordeaux’s luscious sweet wine Sauternes is a classic if, like me, you’ll opt for a glass of pudding wine instead of pudding. But it’s hard to look beyond the tangy, honeyed character of Royal Tokaji which has the sweetness and acidity to revitalise jaded palates. Remember the wine should always be sweeter than the pudding.

What wine goes with roast turkey and all of the trimmings?

A classic Christmas lunch with all of the trimmings can be an absolute melee of competing flavours. As I discussed with Michel Roux jr recently for our Times event ‘Festive Feasting’ I think you have three options. You can either go classic; which is old school red Bordeaux like the club’s 2018 Barons de Rothschild Lafite Réserve Spéciale from Bordeaux in France. Or opt for the bold, ripe flavours of the Southern hemisphere such as an upfront Shiraz like the club’s 2018 Don’t Tell Gary Shiraz by McPherson Wines in Victoria, Australia. A third option, which I tend to favour, is a super smart Beaujolias, something like a Fleurie with all its silky, texture and red fruit. The Fleurie goes well with the white meat of the turkey and doesn’t overwhelm palates which are enduring quite a day of feasting.

Should I decant my wine?

At Christmas, I love the attractive, shimmering aesthetic of a cut glass decanter standing proud on the dining room table. Most wines benefit from a little air and certainly full bodied reds including red Bordeaux, wines from the Rhône, Rioja in Spain or heavy grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah will improve in the decanter. Why? The act of pouring a bottle of wine into another container will aerate the wine releasing its myriad of fruit aromas and will gently soften the texture. For a young wine, give it a vigorous decant lifting the bottle high as you pour, for an old wine, go easy, gently pouring it into the neck of the decanter.

What temperature should I serve my wine?

It may surprise some of you to learn that I recommend chilling both red and white wine, not to the same temperature obviously! It’s worth remembering that a normal domestic fridge will chill down a bottle of wine to around 5C in a few hours. For me that is too cold for wine at Christmas. Most light white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling should be served at between 5 and 9C, same for Champagne and sparkling wine. If they instinctively feel too cold and need warming up, don’t worry. Just cup your hand around the bowl of the glass and it will soon raise the temperature a few degrees. With red wine is where it gets interesting. These days most of us living in centrally heated houses and apartments and it is easy to forget that the traditional advice of serving your wine at room temperature probably meant somewhere around 12C. I would say young fruity reds such as Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and Valpolicella are best served around 11C to 15C while heavier red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and red Bordeaux, Burgundy and Shiraz around 14C to 18C. Put the back of your hand on the bottle, it should feel cool to touch. That’s the right temperature. Christmas is busy in the fridge so I tend to pop mine outside for around 20 minutes before serving.

What wine is the best for mulled wine?

Don’t waste your best bottles on mulled wine, but don’t think you can get away with pouring any old cheap plonk in the pan either. If you are using a lot of nutmeg, which I like to do, I feel the wines which work the best are fruity, smooth red wines. I’m thinking something like a Zinfandel from California or a juicy Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre blend from the Southern Rhône in France.

Is English wine better than Champagne?

What we can say with confidence is that we are now entering the third phase of the great English wine boom of the 21st century. The first stage was a recognition that winemakers in England could actually make wine on these shores that is drinkable and not just a novelty. The second phase was a realisation that a handful of England’s sparkling wines, including Harrow & Hope, are competing at the very highest level. The third phase is that we are now producing still table wines made from grape varieties such as Bacchus and Pinot Noir that are beginning to get noticed internationally. It’s a hugely exciting time for the industry.

Does all wine improve with age?

In a word no. Around 90% of wine sold in Britain is made to be opened and enjoyed as soon as the screwcap has been twisted or the cork pulled. Only a very small percentage, let us for sake of clarity, define that as anything more than £15 a bottle what we might refer to as ‘fine wine,’ benefits from ageing in the bottle. It’s unwise to generalise but fine whites such as Burgundy and Riesling can age in the bottle up to 5 to 10 years or more. Good red Bordeaux, Rioja, Burgundy and Barolo, depending on the growing season, can age for between 5 and 30 years, sometimes more.

Do I have to serve my best bottle at Christmas?

I’m slightly torn on this issue. Christmas can be a stressful time, there is a lot to do, relatives to entertain, excited children scampering around and that is before you have sat down for the feast itself. Is it the perfect time to bring out that that expensive bottle you bought recently or the wine you have carefully nurtured in the cellar for many years? Some might say no, probably not. Far better to leave it there and serve it at an appropriate occasion when it can command your full attention. Relax and enjoy the day. Only, when is that occasion? I do agree with Michel Roux Jr who says if you can’t serve your special bottle on Christmas day then when can you? It is an occasion after all and I do feel this is particularly apposite this year when we all need cheering up! So perhaps, yes serve your best bottle.

What is the best wine to go with Roast Chicken?

Depends on the time of year. Roast chicken is such a comforting, easy going, crowd pleasing Sunday lunch that when it comes to the wine it’s a very amiable companion. This Sunday I paired it with an aged Barolo from Piedmont, the earthy flavour of the wine worked as a contrast to the soft texture of the meat. In the Summer I would opt for an oaky Chardonnay, it is a really hot day something like a taut Chenin Blanc from South Africa. We like to serve with mash and salad in the warmer months. For a Summer red Chianti works well. In the winter when we naturally crave a red wine I would look to a supple Merlot, a ripe red Bordeaux. For something lighter Pinot Noir, a red lighter style Burgundy such as Chambolle-Musigny but even Côtes-du-Rhône works well. It really is a bit of a free for all.

What is the best wine to go with cheese?

At Christmas, I’m a huge fan of serving tawny port with cheese. Slightly chill the tawny to around 10C and it will pair well with a variety of cheeses. There are of course some classic combinations. A sweet wine such as Sauternes or Tokaji is heavenly with blue cheese and can go well with all sorts of softer cheese and of course you have the double benefit of being able to serve them with Christmas pudding. Speaking in broad brush generalisations red wine tends to go better with harder cheese but white wine is often much more suitable as an accompaniment to cheese. A glass of chilled Sancerre with a handful of creamy goat’s cheese or event a zesty, tangy Sauvignon Blanc. My one tip is to narrow your options, don’t go for too many cheeses. One or two and road test them before the big day, you’ll have great fun too!

Will Lyons

Club Vice President

Delve in to the world of wine … from your very own home

Who said wine can’t be enjoyed from the comfort of your very own home? As times change and we aren’t heading to our favourite bars, pubs and restaurants as often, we’re instead exploring new recipes, pouring ourselves a glass and logging on virtually to catch up with friends and keep ourselves entertained.

For the wine lovers, the new to wine and all of the in between, our Home Tasting Experience is here, with everything you need to host your own wine tasting from home. Whether you choose to order the kit as an indulgence for yourself or you decide to gift it to a loved one, it’s the perfect way to learn more about wine.

So, what’s included?

A wine tasting wouldn’t be a wine tasting without the wine. We’ve selected six delicious wines from our range for you to discover, three reds and three whites.

The reds include our classic, velvety-smooth red Cabalié from France, a deeply-fruited blockbuster from Portugal and a luscious and plummy Malbec-Bonara all the way from Argentina. Whites boast zingy Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s mouth-watering speciality, alongside a ripe, juicy Pinot Gris and tropical, satisfying Cabalié Blanc. If you much prefer a certain style over the other, there is an all-whites or an all-reds case available too, each of which include the full home tasting experience essentials.

So that’s the wine sorted, but those new to the wine world might be thinking ‘how will I open the bottles and what will I drink them from?’ Our Home Tasting Experience includes a Cabalié branded waiters friend corkscrew and six Sunday Times Wine Club tasting glasses. Alongside the import bits (aka the wine), you’ll also be emailed wine-tasting tutorial videos from our expert wine educator, Grant Hedley. Our fun and informative taste-along videos go through the following:

  • All about the various grape varieties, regions and produces
  • Tasting notes for each wine
  • Perfect food and wine pairings

You’ll be able to access these whenever best suits you, so if you don’t want to try all six wines in one evening then you can revisit the videos as and when you please. Alongside being emailed the videos, you’ll also get a scorecard to rate each of the wines and tasting notes to download.

What are you waiting for? Order your very own Home Tasting Experience at just £80, that saves you £21. We’d love to see your pictures of you enjoying your own Home Tasting experience, do tag us on your Instagram posts and stories. You can find us at @sundaytimeswineclub

Is Port just for Christmas?

Join Tony Laithwaite in conversation with Carlos Flores from Andersen Port House. Founded in 1845, Andresen is one of the last remaining family owned port houses. Andresen passionately believes that port is one of the world’s finest wines – and has won a host of awards from international competitions in an attempt to prove it.

The pair get together virtually to discuss the different styles of port and why it’s perfect all year round, not just at Christmas.

All Port featured in the video are available to purchase on our website via the following:

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

It’s that time of year where Christmas is approaching and we start to think about those thoughtful gifts for our loved ones. Wine is often regarded as a ‘safe’ present and there is always something to suit all tastes and preference whether that be for your parents, friends or even colleagues. It’s easy to throw a bottle or two into your trolley when doing your festive food shop. As this year’s Christmas may be a little different, why not put some extra thought into your loved ones’ gifts and give them something that will make them smile this Christmas. A gift from The Sunday Times Wine Club isn’t just a gift, it’s an experience. Let us show you our top picks for all types of wine lovers with something to suit every taste and budget.

Something Special

Looking for that extra special gift for that very special someone? These four gifts will be perfect choices with something to please all tastebuds.

Champagne, Flutes & Truffles

£59

Delicious truffles and gold medal-winning Champagne… a match made in heaven if you ask us. This luxury gift will make the recipient feel well and truly spoiled. Not only does this set include tasty truffles and Paul Goerg’s gold medal-winning Champagne, you’ll also get two Dartington Crystal flutes to sip your Champagne from.

Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne, Flutes & Ice Bucket

£90

One of the most famous of all fine pink Champagnes. Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s rosé spends four years ageing in its cellar, developing great complexity. You’ll receive this presented in its special bottle and gift box, together with two Dartington Crystal flutes, and a Laurent-Perrier branded ice bucket, so you can serve these bubbles in style.

Six Bottle Luxury Mix

£100

If you struggle to decide on red, white or fizz for your recipient, this gift is the perfect option with a taste of all three. These six wines will enhance any occasion with their quality and complexity of flavour. This selection compromises Didier Chopin Champagne, Saracosa Governo Rosso, Domaine Dampt’s Petit Chablis, the reserve edition of our exclusive Mussel Pot Sauvignon Blanc and Château la Vallée Montagne Saint-Emilion and last but not least, Limited Release McLaren Vale Shiraz… all presented in a luxury gift box.

Picnic Basket Hamper

£115

Looking for that wow factor gift? This elegant hamper with luxurious blanket comes with two beautiful Dartington Crystal flutes and a bottle of Pol Roger Champagne, even more delicious well chilled. A generous gift which is perfect for couples. The upright hamper makes it a smart and convenient way to carry bottles to any occasion in the New Year to come.

Something Different

Perhaps you’re looking for something slightly different to gift this Christmas. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks:

Wooden Wine Rack & Wine

£20

Choose from a rich and velvety Italian red or a tropical, zesty New Zealand white. Whichever you choose, it will come packed in a wooden box that soon turns into a handy six-bottle wine rack.

Prosecco & Flutes

£30

This one’s for the Prosecco lovers out there. Your recipient will receive stylish sparkling wine flutes, making family-run Terra Batista’s creamy and complex Prosecco even more elegant.

Barbadillo Sherry & Olives Pack

£35

Sherry and olives are the Spanish equivalent of cheese and crackers – the perfect pairing! Our Barbadillo Sherry & Olives Pack will see your recipient getting the taste of sunny Spain with the aromas and flavours of crisp and dry Manzanilla sherry paired with succulent, juicy olives.

Flowers & Champagne

£75

This fine festive bouquet of elegant amaryllis, red roses and carnations are offset perfectly with pinecones and white thistles. Plus there’s more than a touch of splendour in the bottle of superb Louis Roederer champagne to add some sparkle.

ETO Wine Preserver

£125

You can now save the rest for later with this ETO Wine Preserver. This is the best of the best when it comes to keeping your open bottle in a drinkable condition. Not only is it highly praised for its ability to preserve wine, it also serves as an elegant decanter. A new, beautiful way to drink responsibly!

Gifts Under £40

Discover a selection of perfect gifts for wine lovers all under £40. We’ve got some great ideas for stocking fillers too.

Stirrers

£5.95

Add some fun to a classic G&T or a cocktail with these flavoured edible stirrers from Holly’s Lollies. These make a perfect stocking filler for any cocktail lover with five flavours to choose from: Raspberry Gin, Mulled Wine, Rhubarb Gin & Custard, Gin & Lemon and Amaretto.

Discovery Mixed Duo

£20

Give the gift of wine discovery. In this duo you’ll find the fresh and fruity Il Basso Italian Merlot, a sure-fire crowd pleaser, and Viňa Tarapacá, our bestselling Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. A pleasing pair for someone who is just getting into wine.

Rioja & Glasses

£25

Delight any wine lover with this gift set, presented in a luxury gift box. From winemaker Javier Murúa comes his Barón de Barbón, our bestselling Rioja. Our accompanying glasses will enhance the oak-aged aromas and flavours, opening up its toasty and spicy notes.

Harrow and Hope Brut Rosé

£32

Give the gift of an elegant English sparkling wine this year. But this isn’t just any English sparkling wine, it was last year’s winner of Best English Vintage Sparkling Rosé. Harrow and Hope Brut Rosé use the classic Champagne grapes and traditional Champagne method. It’s got gorgeous berry and toasty richness. The lucky recipient will receive this fizz in a smart, wooden box.

Classic Mixed Trio

£35

We’ve picked wines from some of our most talented producers for this trio. Javier Murúa’s toasty and silky Barón de Barbón is our bestselling Rioja, the Zonin family makes our fresh and creamy Luminoso Leggero Prosecco, and our tropical and crisp Company Bay Sauvignon Blanc is crafted by one of Marlborough’s pioneering cellars.

Or why not try?…

Home Tasting Experience

£80

Say hello to the do-it-yourself Home Tasting Experience. Not only will you SAVE 20% on a six-bottle showcase of delicious quality wine, which includes six glasses, and a Cabalié branded corkscrew, you’ll gain access to an in-depth tasting tutorial for each wine from our Wine Educator, Grant Hedley. Together, you will learn:

  • How to taste like a professional
  • All about the various grape varieties, regions and producers
  • Tasting notes for each wine
  • Perfect food and wine pairings

It’s the perfect gift for those wanting to learn more about wine, it’s also a great gift for yourself too. Find out more about what’s included in a Laithwaite’s Home Tasting Experience by clicking here.

We hope that you’ve found some inspiration for gifts to give this Christmas. You can view our full range over on our webpage.

Prices correct as of 17th November 2020.

To all supporters and fans of our lovely Windsor Great Park Vineyard and its sparkling success

Tony Laithwaite checks in at Windsor Great Park Vineyard, to give you an update on the terrific 2020 vintage just harvested, and to say thank you to all the followers and friends of this delicious, award-winning fizz.

If you’re not yet a follower of this superb English Quality Sparkling wine from Windsor Great Park Vineyard, that has created headlines all over the world, contact your Wine Advisor to hear all about it and how you might join.

Will Lyons: Autumn Wine Live

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of wine and settle in as we discuss my autumn wine selections for The Sunday Times Wine Club. Join us for a lively hour as we discuss all the latest news from the European harvest, talk to one of New Zealand’s top winemakers, Warren Gibson at Trinity Hill, look at some seasonal food and wine pairing ideas as well as answering all your wine related questions. Click on the link below to catch up on my latest live event from October.

Will Lyons

Club Vice President