I love wine, so it’s very exciting to discover a brand new wine subscription box. The Grape Reserve specializes in Old World red wine, and sends out two bottles per month for £24.90. Also included are tasting notes, food pairings, and recipes.
Anyway, let’s have a look at their June box.
Nicely boxed and seriously padded. I’ve never seen this kind of packaging before! I have to say, it’s very sturdy; a delivery service would have to work extremely hard to cause any damage.
As well as the two bottles and information cards, there is an introductory booklet.
I really like how they’ve laid this out. You have a nice little welcome note, plus a bit of information on wine selection. Then, there is a Guide to Wine Tasting. It tells you about temperature, and then provides advice on the tasting itself: colour, smell, and feel (taste).
On to the wines.
Each bottle has a nicely informative card. Everything dovetails nicely with the Tasting Guide in the booklet.
And on the other side of the cards, recipes! A splendid idea.
This is a Rioja, Gran Domino Crianza 2013.
I do love rioja, and this one was really very nice indeed. It had medium fruit, which opened out a little more on the second day. It was nice and smooth, and full without being heavy.
The recipe was for stuffed peppers (which I actually don’t like), but I can say it went extremely nicely with pizza.
The second bottle was a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Il Faggio 2016.
Much as I enjoyed the Rioja above, this one was spectacular. Full of fruitiness both in smell and taste, and lovely lively flavours.
I made the rookie error of offering it to my husband Big C, who said ‘my god, that’s delicious’ and proceeded to drink more than half the bottle. Damn. The suggested food pairing was meaty and tomato-y, but we drank it in the garden with this on a hot Sunday afternoon. It was perfect.
How very nice to have two such delicious bottles of wine. When it comes to drinking red wine, I frequently favor Tempranillo and Montepulciano varieties, as I enjoy their fruitiness and relative lightness. This is particularly important in the summer, as my hot weather wine preference is usually white and rosé.
I did not have any difficulty drinking these two, despite being in the middle of a serious heatwave.
The Rioja was splendid, but the Montepulciano was one of the nicest I’ve ever tasted. I have a feeling Big C is going to try to get his hands on some more, as he is generally snooty about my supermarket wine buying so rarely drinks wine at home.
As for value, two great bottles of wine, including delivery, for less than 25 quid is perfectly fine. If you buy wine online there are usually minimum orders and steep delivery charges. Even getting to the supermarket will cost you money, and you’ll be spending at least this much or more to get such good wine.
One of the most pleasing things about a wine subscription box is that you are not just grabbing something off the supermarket shelf. OK, you don’t get to choose the actual wine, but as long as you trust the people who are sending it, you’re very likely to get something pretty damn good that you won’t find in Waitrose. You also get all the extras, like the tasting notes and recipes.
The tasting guide in the booklet is inspired. Some subscribers may be completely au fait with the process of tasting, with all the sniffing and swishing. Others may prefer some guidance. After all, isn’t that why you’re interested in a wine subscription? To try new wine and actually pay attention to what you’re drinking. There’s a place for Bridget Jones-style glugging, but this isn’t it. I do know a little bit about what to look for when tasting wine, but I still liked having a reminder.
Oh, and one more thing. The Montepulciano had a screw cap rather than a cork. I’m not at all precious about screw caps, and I actually prefer them, as it means I don’t have to struggle with my rickety waiter’s friend. I also know perfectly well that screw caps are not an indicator of quality, and they’re bloody convenient. So yay for the screw cap.
A thoroughly enjoyable tasting and drinking experience. I’m pretty confident the people at The Grape Reserve know exactly what they’re doing. If you’re a red wine drinker, you should enjoy this very much.
We’re passionate about the amazing European ‘old world’ red wine. That’s why we founded The Grape Reserve; to enable other wine enthusiasts to discover unique and innovative red wines.
Join our monthly wine club and we’ll send you 2 bottles of outstanding red wine, along with some helpful tasting notes and food pairing suggestions. All of this for just £24.90 per month.
A different version of this review was first published on allsubscriptionboxes.co.uk.