Tag Archives: Wine Tasting

Blog: It Was The 90’s in Johannesburg and I Fell In Love | Matt’s Wine Story

By Matt Monk

This week Matt reveals all about how he fell in love with wine and what he’s learned along his journey since that day.

Where did it all start for you?

It’s a question I’ve often been asked. Though I’m sure I’d been drinking wine for some time, I do remember the wine that made me stop, think, and wonder. It wasn’t a first growth or Premier Cru. It wasn’t a special occasion or event. It was a day like any other.

I was with a large group of colleagues in Johannesburg. (In a previous life I was a trolley-dolly for British Airways and, as crew, we always went out for drinks and a spot of dinner) The restaurant? What used to be a church, called Gatreels in the Central Business District.

I don’t know who picked it or why they choose that wine. Being a crew night out it was unlikely to be the old adage of “mid priced on the wine list must be good”. At one point in the meal I stopped talking for a change, topped up the empty glasses and took a sip.

Now the earth didn’t move cosmically, it didn’t stop spinning; I didn’t hear heavenly music or have fireworks go off in my mouth, but it did make me stop and think. It made me assess what I tasted: the aromas, the flavours. There were layers of complexity to this wine. I had so many questions.

What Next?

Now, I at the time I knew a little about wine; a day and a half in my 12 weeks training course with British Airways, in a room next to the engineering bays at Heathrow Airport. But looking back, my wine knowledge then boiled down to: Fizz, White or Red.

But now, the game had begun. I got back to our base and signed straight up for the company’s dedicated wine course.

Six months later and I was on it: the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Intermediate course. I think it was 6-8 weeks before I sat the exams: a multiple-choice paper and wine tasting with the head Wine Buyer of British Airways… Now I see why there had been a six-month waiting list: the chance to taste some wine, not just from Economy and Business Class but also First Class and Concorde!

How lucky we were! A lot of fun was had, and in that brief couple of hours tasting, I learnt more than from than any book I’ve read on Wine (and let me tell you I’ve read A LOT, much to the exasperation of my wife, who finds books and magazines piled up in the kitchen, the lounge and at the side of the bed!).

My Reflections Since Those Days

That was in the early nineties; a lot of time, changes and wine have passed by. There are days when I still don’t get it, maybe I’ve got a cold coming on, a bad mood, the wrong time or I’m just not feeling it.

I have found, however, that there is no rule as to what makes a bottle of wine taste good. Whether it’s that premium bottle, opened on a special occasion, or the affordable stuff I bring home to share with friends over a barbecue, or simply that glass experienced around the fire after a long day, that manages to hit just the right note; it’s all about the company, place and timing, and allowing your wine of choice to complement that situation. All the money and knowledge in the world cannot make up for the feeling of when these four elements come together perfectly!

And so, on that night in Johannesburg, I fell in love… with Wine.

Oh, and the wine in question? Well it was a Boschendal Blanc de Blanc.

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For any information regarding the blog or social media, please contact sam@thewhalleywineshop.com


BLOG: Exciting Shop News! | Why not come along for the ride?

 By Tom Jones – Owner

Tom gives us an update on the Shop’s future plans and get’s the ball rolling with the first of our new blog series.

Welcome to the first of our new wine blogs!

Here we aim to give you little snippets of informations relating to the shop and our plans for the year, give an overview of interesting debates and questions that are fermenting away under the surface across wine industry and generally plenty of engaging content that appeals to the wine, beer and spirits geek that lives inside all of us at the shop! We are going to have great fun writing it and I hope you will get some enjoyment out of reading it.

A Quick Overview

I am delighted to say that The Whalley Wine Shop had another successful year with 2017 being our busiest year to date. Almost unbelievably we will be 8 years old in April of this year and we could not have achieved either of these things without the continued support from the village and all our fantastic customers, near and far. Without you and your support there would be no Whalley Wine Shop; the team and myself never forget this simple fact!

Time To Get Excited!

Looking ahead and 2018 is going to be an incredibly exciting year for us at the shop with lots of new developments and plans already in place.

Firstly our social media and online communications should get a lot more interesting! This blog is just a starting point; we will have articles, polls, exclusive deals and offers, exciting giveaways, competitions and more on both our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Make sure you follow us and stay tuned so that you never miss out!

We will also be starting a couple of specific mailing lists, tailored to your specific interests. For starters, we will be sending out emails about ‘Fine Wine’, primarily premium wine and collectable wines, as well as a newsletter for our ‘Beer Heads’ regarding new arrivals and hard to find, limited stock craft beers and ales. If you’re interested in either of these, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Will (will@thewhalleywineshop.com) so he can give you more information and get you signed up.

We are also revamping our website (hurrah!), it is long overdue and we can’t wait to have a shiny new one that will keep you all up to date with our offers, events and tastings, what’s in our ‘By The Glass machine’, and keep an eye out for a new feature down the line, allowing you to order and purchase certain products online. Watch this space!

New Stock!

In the short term we have just had our major buying season and it has been a fantastic success! We have already found 50+ new wines that will be landing in-store over the next couple of weeks. We’ve picked out a bunch of exciting wines that caught our eye (and taste buds) due to their fantastic quality and excellent value. Why not head in and check out the new arrivals on our shelves? Make sure you check out of social media channels as we will be posting updates on new stock, as and when they arrive!

Quaffable Cases

Finally we just want to let you know about our seasonal ‘Quaffable cases’. This is a mixed case of 12 wines that offer serious drinkability at a great price: the definition of ‘Quaffable’ wines! It consists of a fixed case of 6 whites and 6 reds for just £74.99 or only £6.25 a bottle. The Spring case will launch in-store on Wednesday 7th of March with Summer, Autumn and Winter cases being released later in the year. This is a great chance to find new wines so if you’d like to reserve one, please contact Jen (jen@thewhalleywineshop.com). We even deliver, too!

That’s it for now; make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming blogs over the next few weeks!

Thank you for reading and thanks again for supporting The Whalley Wine Shop! We are aiming to have a great year and give our customers ever better service and wines. Why not come along for the ride?

Have a great week!
Tom and the Team

Next Week: It’s Time To Talk About Sulphites!

For any information regarding the blog, please contact sam@thewhalleywineshop.com