Wednesday, 22 September 2010

How to pick your own superb mixed case

Picking your own mixed-12 can be daunting. Where do you start? There’s so much choice. I’ve found myself spending hours pouring over wine lists and websites so I thought I’d try and structure it a bit to make it easier.

Picking to this plan allows me to get the maximum amount of diversity, not only for the blog, but for myself also. It provides a really good mix of everything and suits (more or less) my drinking habits: the occasional sparkler and rose, while the majority is red or white. In all honesty though, if I wasn’t writing the blog then I would probably add another red or two and take away a white or two. But in the interest of being as fair as I can to all tastes, I’ll keep it even-Stevens. 

Anyway, here’s how it looks:

1. Sparkler – If you’re feeling flush get Champagne or otherwise a sparkling white, rose or even red! Great to celebrate an occasion, a Friday, or whatever you want!
2. Rose – Go on, it’s ok to like it!
3. The “off the wall” one – Something different! A new or whacky grape/region combination. Something you haven’t tried. Expand your horizons!
4. Something for the cellar – (or wardrobe) Get a “nice” bottle, something that will age and has a good few years before the “drink by” date is up. Push the boat out, get something special, put it away for a few years. Will it be worth the wait?
5. Old World White #1 – As it says on the tin. Somewhere in Europe. Can be an old classic or a new discovery. Whatever you want.
6. Old World White #2 – Same as above. Something new or an old favourite? Up to you.
7. Old World Red #1 – A red this time. Somewhere in Europe. Can be an old classic or a new discovery. Whatever you want.
8. Old World Red #2 – Same as above. Something new or an old favourite? Up to you.
9. New World White #1 – As it says on the tin. Something not from Europe!
10. New World White #2 – There’s definitely a pattern developing here…
11. New World Red #1 – and again…and finally
12. New World Red #2 – done!

If you want to focus on discovery then go for things you would not normally go for, or haven’t tried before. One thing to remember though - It’s not rigid. Just a guideline. Feel free to get a case of 12 New World reds if you feel like it, and I can’t absolutely guarantee that I won’t do the same sometime down the line.

If you “know what you like and like what you bloody well know”, then stick to it! Maybe you love Syrah/Shiraz – why not compare France vs. NZ vs. Chile vs. Oz for the reds. The Malbec lovers amongst us could find the best region for Argentinean Malbec (e.g. Mendoza vs. Salta vs. Patagonia). Are there Chablis beaters in the New World? The possibilities are endless. One thing to bear in mind though…

Always be cost conscious and…yes, you’ve got it…frugal! Be on the lookout for value for money. Make the most of introductory offers, money-off coupons, promotional discounts and look at the bin ends. Using these offers can either:
a) allow you to trade-up to a higher quality of bottle but still keep the same price you would have been prepared to pay; for example if you’re prepared to pay £7.50 a bottle on average (£90 per case of 12) but you see a 20% off deal, then that allows you to go for an average bottle price of £9.37! OR, more obviously perhaps…
b) Save you some cash. For example, your £90 case becomes £72 with 20% off - meaning an equivalent bottle price of just £6!

Some merchants offer £20, £40 or even more off your first order meaning massive savings, or indeed, big trade-ups in quality. Often they want to tie you in to buying regular cases off them every few months – but you simply decline (make sure you do or you may have an unwanted case on your doorstep and your wallet will be several quid lighter!).

Anyway, I’m off to scour the Virgin Wines website. I just received a £40-off voucher. I didn’t really fancy their ready-mixed cases, so I’m going to pick my own mixed-12 and follow my own advice…I'll let you know how I got on...

Speak to you soon!

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