I have to admit that I was a virgin to Virgin Wines until I attended their recent press tasting. I did all the usual research, they have over 450 wines on offer, have been running since 2000 and are owned by Direct Wines, who also own Laithwaites and the Sunday Times Wine Club. And that was the length of my knowledge. But go to their website and it soon becomes quite clear what their game is.
They are modern, young and dynamic in their sales. They run have forward thinking marketing such as the Wine Bank and Discovery Club, encouraging customers to develop as consumers. This is equally evident in their desire to get feedback, each wine comes with a number of Customer Comments giving honest accounts of how they found each bottle and they offer a no quibble money back . There are also useful little tools on the site which will answer ‘Will I Like This Wine?’ and they have a Wine Zone breaking down grape varieties and countries.
That’s all very well but what are the wines like? Well there’s a clear New World slant to what they do, they’ve picked up awards for their range of Chilean wines, but the Old World is not entirely forgotten.
Rally impressive were the Hans Lang Rheingau Reisling 2005 at £7.99 (Drinker rating 84) displaying a light floral nose, it’s zippy and refreshing on the palate. There was a full on, fruit salad of a wine in the Mossippie Single Vineyard Rawsonville Viognier 2009 at £6.99 (Drinker rating 84), loads of tropical fruit aromas and a long dry finish. The rosé was well represented by the 1749 Rosé d’Anjou Selection Pierre Chainier 2007 £7.99 (Drinker rating 85), just off dry but offering good gooseberry and lemon fruit notes, it would make an excellent Christmas party wine. Another from the Hans Lang stable is their Rheingau Barrique Pinot Noir 2005, £11.99 (Drinker rating 86), slightly more expensive but well worth it showing elegance and great balance. From Argentina was the fantastic Andaluna Anduco Canernet Sauvignon 2007, £8.99 (Drinker rating 86) a very modern red, full plump blackcurrants, vanilla and pepper.
I hate to sound overwhelmingly positive about a company but there we have it. It’s all good stuff unless you’re really picky about classic, expensive Old World wines. This is a terrific site if you feel you’ve done your wine apprenticeship and want to develop your palate and depth of knowledge. These guys know their stuff and sell some top wines at great prices.