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

Wines of Australia: Five wines you might not expect to see from Down Under!

Those of you with long memories might recall that months ago my clumsiness got the better of me at a Wines of Australia tasting. Within minutes of arriving I broke my phone and I later left my tasting notes on the train. I promised to bring you some Australian wines another time; this is that time.

The most widely planted varieties in Australia are shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which account for almost 70 per cent of the vines; but there has been a steady increase in the planting of alternative grape varieties, especially those traditionally from Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Here’s five different Australian wines 

Chalmers Vermentino wines of australia
Chalmers Vermentino

Chalmers Vermentino Heathcote 2016 (RRP £17.50, greatwesternwine.co.uk, qwines.co.uk, thefinewinecompany.co.uk, 12% abv) The Chalmers family was one of the first to plant alternative varieties and is at the forefront of developing them even further. Chalmers produced the first Australian vermentino in 2004 and I’m glad they did. The grapes for this white are grown in the Heathcote Vineyard on the famous red Cambrian soils of the area in Victoria. It is has a clean, fresh, floral nose with hints of lemon, and to taste it has stone fruits, citrus, apple, and an interesting delicate creaminess.

Berton Vineyards Moscato Frizzante Metal Label 2015 (£10.50, or £9.50 if you buy two or  more, at wine.next.co.uk, or £31.47 for three at Amazon, 7% abv) This is such a pretty white, sweet and delicate with a slight fizz that tickles the palate. It would be a perfect outdoor wine for sunny days, to enjoy with a bowl of sorbet, a fruit flan, or on its own. It has aromas of lychee, orange blossom and a hint of ginger, and a mystery of musky perfume.

De Bortoli Deen Vat Riverina Durif 2014 (£7.99, brayvalleywines.co.uk, 14.5% abv) The durif grape is also known as petite syrah and this red wine is deep and intense, not quite brooding, but getting there. The wine has aromas of plums, bramble fruits and liquorice with chocolate teasing in the background. Those same notes can be found when you taste it. It is a rich and autumnal wine for colder days.

Wines of Australia Felix Swan Hill Victoria Shiraz-Sagrantino
Australia Felix Swan Hill Victoria Shiraz-Sagrantino

Australia Felix Swan Hill Victoria Shiraz-Sagrantino 2016 (£8.95, thewinesociety.com, 14% abv) An easy-drinking red, but complex too. Picture the scene. My nephew-in-law in the rain tending his day-long slow-barbecued ribs and a wonderful beef brisket; me and my niece watching him from the warm and sipping this wine. When the spicy, barbecued, fall-apart meat was served, this wine was a perfect match. It has blackberry and plum notes, a flash of spice, a chirrup of cherry, and an edge of savoury.  

First Drop The Big Blind Nebbiolo Barbera 2012 (RRP £20.99, oldbutcherswinecellar.co.uk, shop.vinoteca.co.uk, thesecretcellar.co.uk and others, 14% abv) We also had a glass of this with the brisket and crunchy oven-baked potato slithers, pecked with pepper and salt. The nebbiola (65%) and barbera wines were aged in oak, some French new oak too, and matured on the lees for 15 months before blended. The wine has a sweet spice on the nose, which mingled with the barbecue spices; there’s vanilla, with a playfulness of mocha; it is a wow of red fruit and cherry.


Follow the hashtag #AussieWine on social media, @Wine_Australia on Twitter and WineAustralia on Facebook, or go to the Wines of Australia website   


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