PALMERS WINE STORE AND CELLAR IN BRIDPORT
- Name: Palmers Wine Store
- Adress: Old Brewery, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 4JA, England
- Tel: 01308 427500 Fax: 01308 421149
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.palmerswinestore.com
Palmers Wine Store is a family owned, independent, leading Wine Merchant since 1794. They are located in a historic Brewery site in Bridport (Dorset). Offering a range of over 1.000 wines, spirits, fortified wines, liqueurs and real ales.
They have built a reputation on their outstanding customer service and the high quality of their wines. This wines offer a great sense of regionality and true reflection of the place and people who make them.
- E-comerce: Palmers Wine Store offer excellent wine online with free delivery over £90 to the UK mainland. Retail store sales still account for the vast majority of wine sales, yet online wine sales are growing. The fact is that these e-commerce sites are helping customers acclimate to buying wine online, a significant factor for an ecommerce category that has grown steadily, but unspectacularly for the last decade.
It’s the holiday season for consumers, but for the wine industry value-chain its “OND” an acronym for October-November-December, also known as the make or break time of year when upwards of 40% of all annual retail wine sales are realized.
- Wine Dispenser Machine: Wine dispensers are devices designed to serve and preserve wines. Dispensers store stored wines at cool temperatures and oxygen is prevented from entering the bottle when pouring. Wine dispensers vary greatly in use and function, most commonly wine dispensers are used in restaurants and bars to prevent spoilage when selling wine by the glass. The dispenser has the additional benefits of controlling the amount of the pour limiting over pour.
The Palmers machine dispenses wine in sample size portions whilst preserving it in perfect condition. Sampling is a fun way to try before you buy, experiment with new wines, varieties and regions and offers a unique opportunity to try iconic wines without breaking the bank.
Sampling in Palmers Wine Store is simple, come in the shop, register for a card and add some credit (minimum £10). Wines are dispensed in three sizes from 25ml and the price of each wine is displayed on the machine, samples start from as little as 30p each. Try a wine (spittoons provided), try another, come back another day and try something new. You can also purchase cards online here, great as a gift.
- Finding your style: Everything a winemaker does (from choosing where to site his vineyard, and which grape varieties to plant, through to how he makes his wine) goes towards setting the style of wine he produces. When you buy wine, the range of brands and producers can be bewildering. That's why it's useful to identify the styles of wine that you like, and use these as a starting point to learn more and broaden your horizons. Wherever your tastes lie, they will be affected by occasion (you may enjoy one style of wine, say a dry Riesling from Australia, with a picnic on the beach, while a big, chunky California Cabernet Sauvignon is your perfect partner with venison on a cold winter's evening by the fire). There are no rules when it comes to finding your style. It's down to personal taste, experience, and, above all, having lots of fun!!
- A world of choice: The international wine trade has blossomed over the past 20 years and (in theory) it has never been easier to buy good wine. If you have deep pockets, a private wine consultant can help you put together a great cellar and there are plenty of books, magazines, websites, and wine clubs that can guide you to a good bottle. But, inevitably, we still find ourselves in that familiar position staring at a wall of wine in a store, wondering which to choose. And decoding a wine label is not an easy job, because there is so much variation in the type and amount of information given.
- Vintage Wines: It is a popular misconception that “vintage” wine means wine of superior quality, and that if a bottle has a year on the label, the wine “must be good”. The word “vintage” on a wine label simply means the year in which the grapes were grown it does not carry with it any judgement of quality.
Good vintages are those years when weather conditions in a particular vine growing region were just right to produce good wine. In parts of the world with a consistent and predictable climate year on year (Australia or Chile, for example) vintage makes little difference, but elsewhere, the weather can greatly influence the quality of the wine. There are specialist charts that rank vintages for different regions according to quality, and these (coupled with expert advice) can be a useful guide when buying wines at the upper end of the price range. But they should be used with caution. A localized hailstorm may devastate vines on one side of a valley, but leave the other side untouched. And while a good producer will usually be able to make a fine wine in a “bad” vintage, a bad producer may still struggle in a “good” vintage.
The key, as ever, is to seek out wines made by reputable producers. But this is not information that we all readily have to hand when choosing a wine for dinner. And always sticking to names we know and trust can prevent us from discovering new, perhaps even more enjoyable (occasionally magnificent) wines.
- Reading a wine label: Many wine-lovers like to think (or pretend) that they know exactly what they are buying, but there are now so many wines on the market that it is difficult even for wine experts to know exactly what lies behind the label, and some wine producers and merchants have become very adept at marketing their wines via a misleading label. For example, many people like Chardonnay, and if you saw an Australian “Colombard Chardonnay”, you might be tempted. But the Colombard grape can make up 80 per cent of the blend, and, in that case, the wine will not taste like a typical Chardonnay but will instead be quite neutral in flavour.
There is no global classification of wine quality. But many countries, or regions within those countries, have come to realize that integrity is important for long-term sales and so have put in place a set of rules that define what may and may not be included on the label. Nowhere is this more strictly adhered to than in France.
Typically, a label will carry the name of the winery or producer, the country and region of origin, the style of the wine, its alcohol content, and details of bottling. It may include the name of the vineyard, the grape variety (or varieties) used to make the wine, and details of the vintage (the year the grapes were grown). It may also carry some form of quality classification, awarded by the government of the country of origin.
- France: The highest quality classification for French wines is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC or AC), which covers about 40% of the country’s production. If you see AOC on a label, you will know that the wine has been made in a specific named region (the appellation), and according to set quality standards. Depending on the region, AOC wines may have additional designations: Burgundies, for example, carry the titles grand cru and premier cru to reflect the highest and second-highest quality respectively, and Bordeaux wines have their own distinct classifications.
The next level of classification is Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS), which covers just 1% of wines, most of which are consumed in France. This classification is commonly seen on wines aspiring to AOC status. Below this is Vin de Pays (VdP; country wine), which covers 25% of French production. This classification was established in 1968 to recognize improvements in quality by producers of regional French wines. It allows them to put information on their labels, such as the place of origin and the grape varieties used. The total area covered by each appellation is variable. Sometimes it is a large region, such has Vins de Pays d'Oc, which covers four French departments, and sometimes it is a small zone. Many Vin de Pays wines are good for everyday drinking, and some are truly excellent. Look out for those made by enthusiastic producers from Australia and elsewhere in the New World, who are using new technology to breathe fresh life into old, established French vineyards, especially in the Languedoc-Rousillon region. The lowest category Vin de Table (VdT; table wine), covers 28% of production, almost all of which is consumed in France. Also known as vin ordinaire, this wine is not for keeping, and its robust character means that it is often drunk mixed with water.
There is no doubt that the region around the city of Bordeaux produces some of the great wines of the world. There is no single system that classifies Bordeaux’s 57 appellations, and different producers use different terms for wines of similar quality. The famous Bordeaux Classification of 1855 divided red wines, especially those of the Médoc, into five quality classes, or crus (growths ju the best being the premiers crus, the next the deuxièmes crus, and so on. Below these w ere the i rus bourgeois — as the name suggests, not quite aristocratic, but eminently respectable wines, the best being singled out as supérieur, or, for the real stars, exceptionel. The great white wines of Bordeaux were given three classifications: premier cru classéy premier cru, and deuxième cru. And, save for a few changes necessitated by change of ownership, the crus have maintained their places in this league ever since, giving them tremendous prestige and value.
Throughout France, terms like cru classé and grand cru classé are used (albeit more loosely) to denote the best wines of the region.
The French system is a reasonable guide to quality. But there are many VDQS or Vin de Pays wines that you might well enjoy more than an AOC wine, so don't be snobbish. My advice is to first identify the style of table wine you like, then go up a notch in terms of quality, and see whether you like, or even notice, the difference.
- Italy: Like French wines, Italian wines are differentiated primarily by region (or appellation). Chianti is from Tuscany. Barolo and Barbaresco are from Piedmont. Soave, Amarone, Valpolicella, and Bardolino are from the Veneto in northern Italy, and so on. As in France, the wines are classified by quality, the lowliest being Vino da Tavola (VdT, or table wine), which is not required to put the region of origin on the label. Next up is Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT, similar in level to the French Vin de Pays). Higher classifications are Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and the top-rank Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), wines that adhere to quality standards similar to the French AOC. The wines within this class will also carry either the name of the vineyard or the producer, or both. There may be huge differences in quality within a single appellation; my tip is to look for good producers, rather than putting too much faith in designations.
- Spain: A Spanish wine labelled Denominación de Origen (DO), like a French AOC, comes from a named area and has been quality-checked by an independent standards committee. It is worth looking out for two variants of the DO designation: Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa), which identifies the best wines from the regions of Rioja and Priorat, and Denominación de Origen de Pago (DO Pago), which is used for some excellent single-estate wines. Vino de la Tierra identifies some good regional wines (rather like the French Vin de Pays designation) while Vino de Mesa is a basic table wine. Spanish wines can also be classified on the basis of the length of time they are aged. The youngest style is joven, which is wine that has not been aged in oak at all and is meant to be drunk within a year. White or rosé crianza wines must be aged for a minimum of one year before being released for sale, at least six months of which must be in oak barrels. While crianza reds have at least one year in oak but another year in the bottle before release. Reserva whites have two years ageing, with at least six months in oak and reserva reds have at least three years ageing with at least one in oak. The highest level is gran reserva, a name reserved for wines from the very best years. White gran reservas require four years ageing with at least six months in oak, and the reds require five years ageing with at least two years in oak.
- Portugal: Portugal follows a French-style classification system. Denominagào de Origem Controlada (DOC) is the highest category, equivalent to the French AOC. Indieagao de Proveméncia Regulamentada (IPR) indicates a wine with DOC potential. Vinho Regional (VR) denotes a regional wine from a defined area (like Vin de Pays), while Vinho de Mesa is a table wine. Sometimes a producer may include the term "Reserva" on his label. This is used to indicate a vintage year of outstanding quality. The wine may come from a demarcated region but, as this is not requisite, it could also be a blend from two different areas.
- Germany: German wines are graded by the natural sugar content of the grapes used to make them. The more sugar, the higher the quality mark given. This means that the sweetest, most alcoholic wines are given the highest quality grades. There are four basic quality categories. Deutsche Tafelwein is ordinary table wine (with no named vineyard). Landwein is a wine that comes from one of 17 approved regions, and must have at least 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebiet (QbA) is a wine from any one of 13 approved regions, made only from certain grape varieties, and is at least 7.5% ABV. The name of the vineyard may be given if at least 85% of the grapes were grown there. Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) is the top grade. These wines come from a specified region and grape variety. Within this top grade, the QmP wines are quality tested and further sub-divided according to their residual sugar level and sweetness. Kabinett wines are the lightest and the driest. Spätlese wines are slightly sweeter, made from late-picked grapes. Auslese wines are sweeter still, made with late-picked grapes and maybe some botrytized grapes. Sweeter still is Beerenauslese, made entirely from botrytized grapes and with impressive potential alcohol levels ol 15.3% to 18.1%. The last category is Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) amber-coloured, powerful, and very complex. This intensely powerfully sweet wine is made from individually picked, botrytized grapes that have been left on the vine until they have almost completely shrivelled.
All German wines classified as QbA or QmP also have on their label an AP (Amtliche Prufnummer) number. This proves that the wine has passed analytical and tasting tests and that the origin of the grapes is genuine. The number is divided into five sections, and you can use the last two of these to play a fascinating tasting game. The second to last number is the application number and the last number is the year in which that application was made. If you have two bottles of the same wine with exactly the same AP numbers then you can be sure that the wine inside came from the same cask. But if the application number is different then the two wines may taste Subtly different, being from the same cask but bottled on a different date, or they could taste very different, being from grapes grown miles apart, picked on different days, and vinified in different tanks and with different sweetness levels.
- The new world: Labels on New World wines tend to emphasize the grape variety and brand name over the region. The label on the back of the bottle also gives much more information than appears on wines from Europe, the precise location of the vineyard, and a description of how the wine has been aged, for example. However, the lack of independent quality standards means that knowledge of good producers is even more important than for European wines. You may see terms like “Reserve” and “Estate”, which mean respectively that the wine is the highest quality from that particular vineyard, and that it is bottled on the same estate where it is grown. However, these terms are often used loosely, and are far from a guarantee of quality.
- North America: There is a voluntary appellation system in the US. Each individual state is recognized as its own appellation of origin, as are the smaller counties within it. So, although the label may state an appellation name, there is no guarantee that the district named has met any quality standards. The only rule is that at least 85% of the wine in the bottle is actually from where the label says it’s from. American law also requires that the producer’s name and address be on the label. In general, the brand name and the style or grape variety will be the most prominent words on the label. In the case of higher quality wines, the label will state a year, but if the word “vintage” does not precede this year then it indicates only that the wine was bottled in that year. If the word “Reserve” appears on the label, you may expect it to indicate that the wine is the best from that particular vineyard. However, my advice would be not to place too much credence in this: less scrupulous producers use it as a marketing tool rather than a real indication of higher quality. Many wines may also be labelled as “Estate” or “Estate bottled”, meaning that the grapes were grown on the same estate as that in which the wine was made and bottled, rather than either grapes or wine being driven for miles across the country to be bottled.
- Australia: Australia's appellation system, which was enacted only in 2001, does nothing more than define boundaries within a set of Geographical Indications (Gift). Each State is divided into regions, which are then further split into sub-regions. There is also a simple and straightforward "Label Integrity Program", which rules that if the label states Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, then at least H5 cent of the wine must be Chardonnay grown in the GI-defmed Adelaide Hills district.
Australian wine labels also tend to have the vineyard name and the grape variety prominently displayed and sometimes, but not always, a vintage. There is also often a good deal of helpful information on the back label, such as the precise location of the vineyard, whether the wine was aged in oak barrels, and sometimes even tasting notes.
- South Africa: South African labels follow similar patterns to those of Australian and American wines. There is no strict appellation system as the wine industry is still relatively young and undeveloped and new geographical areas for wine production are still opening up. The vineyard name, as well as grape variety, region, and vintage are all displayed on the label, but successfully choosing a good South African wine necessitates knowing something of the winemaker or vineyard.