Claymore Wines: I take a deep breath and mix Liverpool Football Club with pleasure

Claymore Wines Liverpool Football CLub

Many moons ago, when Twitter was just invented, there used to be loads of social gatherings called “tweet ups”. I don’t know if they still exist, but essentially people who often tweeted each other would meet in person.

I remember meeting a chap who was clearly disappointed that he was following me under false pretences. It was in the days before I “discovered” wine and I was on Twitter wearing a football hat. The hat being @claretsgirl. He’d followed me thinking “clarets” = “wine”.

I can still remember his face. I think he’d expected wine recommendations but what he got was a Lancashire lass who could explain the off-side rule.

I hadn’t thought of the association before – wine and football –  and perhaps it was a one-off. But no my friends, it appears there IS a connection between football and wine and it rests firmly with Claymore Wines from Australia.

Liverpool football club Claymore Wine
Anfield … I’ve been before as a football fan but never as a wine writer!

Wines of Australia  told me a Claymore tasting was in my neck of the woods so to discover more, I took a deep breath,  donned my Twitter wine hat @JaneClareWine, and  headed off to Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club. 

I needed the deep breath because my Twitter football hat – @claretsgirl – was feeling disloyal. On the day, LFC were above us in the Premier League separated only by goal difference. I made a point of mentioning it once or twice while I was there.

What’s the connection between football and a winery in the Clare Valley?  Anura Whittingham, the founder of the winery, spent many years in Liverpool and his love of the football club has shown itself in football-inspired wine names. In Australia, Claymore and the club began a three-year commercial relationship after the pre-season tour in 2015.

Oh, Anura  loves music too, which is revealed in music-themed wines.

Carissa Major Claymore Wines Liverpool Football CLub
Carissa Major with some of Claymore’s football and music-themed wines

Here’s some of the wines I tried under the guidance of Carissa Major, Claymore’s general manager, who was finishing a visit to the UK with Claymore. The link with LFC was saved for the final day of the trip.


Claymore Wines: A selection

You’ll Never Walk Alone GSM (£15.95, Whitmore & White) GSM indicates a blend of grenache,  shiraz and mourvedre. There’s herbs, violets, eucalyptus and big bouncy black fruits in this wine.

You’ll Never Walk Alone The Boot Room Shiraz 2013 (£18.50, tilleys-wines.com)  Lots of dark fruits with a hint of spice and vanilla from 18 months maturing in oak.

Skinny Love Viognier 2016 (£12.50, tilleys-wines.com) Grapes are grown on the Shankley plot. It is a low-alcohol fresh white with a green apple crunch, peach and a touch of sherbert.

God is a DJ Riesling 2016 (£13.95, tilleys-wines.com) Grapes grow on vines up to 100 years old. It has notes of citrus (lemon and lime) and a playfulness with stone fruits.

Superstition Riesling 2016 (£17.95,  tilleys-wines.com) Yay the eyes have it.  I love the label here, a bit scary. Carissa explained the wine is a perfect balance of flavour, acid and sugar. The wine is made from free run juices and the notes of lemon, lime and peach are restrained.

Voodoo Child Chardonnay 2015 (£14.50,  tilleys-wines.com)  It has texture from some lees contact and hint of spice from French oak. A complex wine but structured, with citrus, stone fruit and vanilla.

London Calling Cabernet Malbec 2015 (£13.95, slurp.co.uk) A delightful wine which has brought Claymore their first Decanter Platinum medal.  Flavour notes include black fruits, raspberry, vanilla and black pepper. A bright fruit profile with oak influence.

Dark Side of the Moon Shiraz 2015 (£16.95 tilleys-wines.com or £68.97 for three at Amazon)  Rich black cherries and plums, with vanilla and spice from oak, and a smooth finish.

The Joshua Tree Riesling (I can’t find a  UK retailer) Grapes are grown on the Watervale vineyard. It is finely structured, with good acidity, lemon and lime citrus, a delicate minerality and some floral notes.


PS – as I write, we’re still only separated by goal difference. Ha ha. xx

Rías Baixas wine region: Home of the albariño grape and amazing seafood!

Rías Baixas wine One Foot in the Grapes

I put myself through some challenges my friends. In the home of the albariño grape in Rías Baixas I ate the weirdest little barnacles called percebes which cling to wave-battered rocks in the Atlantic Ocean. I ate several. Google them and know I did this for you so I could sample native albariño wines alongside.

I absolutely loved my visit to Rías Baixas in Galicia, north west Spain. More than anything I’ll remember the amazing seafood of octopus, delicate prawns, oysters, lobster and razor clams served with chilled, fruity, dynamic white wines from the region.

I don’t expect you to eat barnacles but you can plan more normal food and wine pairings. Albariño is perfect for a Christmas Day seafood starter as you can’t go wrong with this grape which grows in a region influenced by the Atlantic. I was told that albariño is also spot-on with Asian and Mexican food. Who’d have thought. 

I was pretty giddy to go to Rías Baixas. I can’t put my finger on when I first noticed albariño wines, but I love the back story that the grapes are grown under the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.  It just feels romantic somehow, windswept, defiant, rugged and carefree.  I make these things up in my head.

Rías Baixas wine: Here’s some quick facts

  • The region is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Picture a map of Spain and Galicia is in the top left-hand corner ….  Rías Baixas is on its south western coast
  • The temperatures are mild and there are high levels of rainfall during the year (it rained alot when I was there!!)
  • There are five sub-zones: Ribiera da Ulla in the furthest north;  Val do Salnés;  Soutomaior;  Condado do Tea and O Rosal which both hug the border with Portugal. I visited the Salnés and O Rosal areas
  • The Rías Baixas D.0 has 181 wineries and 5,787 growers  – at its heart are minifundismo – farmers who own small plots and grow grapes
  • Albariño represents 95% of the vineyards in the region but other white varieties are also grown, including treixadura, loureiro, caiño blanco, torrontes and godello. There are some red varieties including caiño tinto and loureiro tinto.
  • Over 99% of all Rías Baixas wine is white and the sub-zones all have subtle differences from crisp and aromatic in Val do Salnés, to a more tropical, softer style in O Rosal.
  • The US was the biggest export market for Rías Baixas wine in 2016 (36%) then the UK (17%) followed by Germany, Puerto Rico and Mexico
rias baixas Jane Clare One Foot in the Grapes
I take a rest from sipping wines and enjoy the bracing air on the Atlantic coast in Rias Baixas

Next time:
Bodega Santiago Ruiz: The story, pictures, and wine

 


I travelled to Rías Baixas as a guest of the Consejo Regulador of Rías Baixas.

 rías baixas regulatory council logo Follow the Twitter accounts @AlbarinoUK  @riasbaixaswines @rias_baixas or search for the hashtags #riasbaixas and #albariño. There’s some terrific food pairing ideas at www.riasbaixaswines.com