Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

First Taste

Interesting bottles for interested wine lovers

Click on the links to go to the relevant page – all are videos unless stated

For videos from June 2010 onwards, just do a search for the region that interests you

June 2010
Three Australian Shirazes + a Margaret River blend
Reds from Rioja, Navarra, Douro & Mallorca – plus a bit about brett
Seven wines from Beaujolais – some delicious Fleurie & Morgon
Four Chilean Pinot Noirs plus a Burgundian interloper
Up the Chablis ladder from Petit Chablis to Grand Cru

May 2010
Aussie Pinot Gris/Grigio, Cape Chenin & Margaret River SSB
Californian Chardonnay + a Burgundian interloper
English Wines Part 2 – Pink, red & sparkling
English Wines Part 1 – Whites
Rosés from Spain, Chile & South Africa
Reds from Naked Wines Part 2
Southern French selection from James Nicholson
Reds from Naked Wines Part 1
Rieslings from Germany & Washington State plus a tasty Torrontes

April 2010
Bordeaux-inspired reds from Chile & Washington State
Clarendelle – generic Bordeaux from the owners of Haut-Brion
Two Sauvignons, two Chardonnays – Chile & Washington State

March 2010
Morrisons & The Wine Society Part 4
Morrisons & The Wine Society Part 3
Morrisons & The Wine Society Part 2
Morrisons & The Wine Society Part 1
Whites from several parts of Burgundy
A miscellany from Australia, Portugal & Spain
More Portugal – reds from Tejo & the Algarve
Portugal – white, pink & sweet
Where on earth is Cabardès?

February 2010
A trio of sweet Greek whites
A quartet from the Greek islands of Paros and Santorini
Chilean Pinot Noir Part 2
Chilean Pinot Noir Part 1
Whistlestop Bordeaux Part 2 – Medoc & Graves
Whistlestop Bordeaux Part 1
Loire Chenin Part 2 – Savennieres
Loire Chenin Part 1 – including the delicious wines from Domaine FL
A mishmash of white – including a super white Bordeaux
The excellent Cavas of Raventos i Blanc

January 2010
Four drafts of the warm south – Paul Mas, Cuvée Mythique
5 sparkling wines, 5 different countries – Australia  comes out tops…
Familiar (but rather tasty) Aussies plus a Brunbello wannabe
Wine & haggis – why not?
A lovely quartet of reds – Lagrein, Chianti, WA Shiraz, Corbieres
A sparkling sextet – Champagne, Prosecco, Bordeaux & Burgundy (not a video)
Four Argentine whites
Cabernets from Chile & Australia
Gruner Veltliner, Sicilian Muscat, Cape Chenin& Friulian white
Semillon, including two Aussie classics
A Quartet of Bordeaux reds
A Torres take on low alcohol wine
Assorted whites

Archive of earlier notes and videos

First Taste is now on-line! The First Taste column first appeared in Wine Magazine in around 1991, and subsequently in Wine International, Wine & Spirit and finally in Harpers Wine & Spirit. It’s now transferred to the Internet, but the aim is the same. My role is rather like that of a dating agency, introducing interesting bottles to interested wine lovers. Sometimes, they won’t get on – I can live with that, it would be dreadfully boring if we all liked the same wines (more on this here). But hopefully, the result will be beautiful music and a fulfilling long-term relationship.

Something about scores. You can read more about my views on the topic in this post, but to sum up quickly, I give medals, not marks. The scale from top to bottom runs as follows:-

  • T  (trophy) – I’d say this translated to 97-100
  • G  (gold) – or 92-96
  • S (silver) – or 87-91
  • B (bronze) – or 82-86
  • C (commended) – or 77-81
  • 0 (zero) – or 76 and below**

and I split these into five layers – S+, S(+), S, S(-) and S-, for example.

Wine merchants looking for more information about the First Taste section should send me an e-mail here.

** someone asked me, ‘Why score out of 100 and then really only from 76 onwards?’ That’s part of the reason I use the medals instead of 100 points. Wines I give ‘0’ to aren’t all of the same quality – some could be boring but drinkable, others could be actively nasty.

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