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,  Lots of dark fruits with a hint of spice and vanilla from 18 months maturing in oak.

Skinny Love Viognier 2016 (£12.50, 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, 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, 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,  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, 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 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

Basic wine grapes: Facts about six of the best

basic wine grapes

I WATCHED a lovely couple – well I’m sure they were lovely – looking totally bemused in a wine shop the other day.

They were walking up and down the reds baffled, nay, befuddled, by the choices in front of them.

So here’s some simple guidance on six basic wine grapes. You’ll see them all the time… but do you know if you’ll like them?

Chardonnay: ABC as some people like to say… Anything But Chardonnay.

It’s like a blank canvas which can grow in both cool and warm climates; which in turn affects its flavours. Many winemakers love to tamper with it as chardonnay is willing and able to be moulded in many ways. My favourite is unoaked Chablis; crisp and clean with biting green apples.


Sauvignon Blanc: Packs a punch of gooseberries on the nose and a dry squeaky-cheek pinch of acidity.
It’s rarely oaked as winemakers want to keep the grape’s natural fruity freshness. You may be familiar with intense New Zealand sauvignon blanc … but Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume in the Loire are the grape’s natural home and those wines are a little more backward in coming forward but nonetheless grassy green and fruity. Ones from Chile have green pepper edges.
Riesling (say it as in rees, not in rice): Such a delight.
Far too complicated to explain the German styles; riesling can range from crisp and green with citrus notes, or peachy-packed and tropical. Look out for riesling from the Clare Valley in Australia which have high acidity and knife-edge lemon and lime citrus.
Merlot: Gentle tannins tease in this Velvet Prince.
Merlot is the blending sister of cabernet sauvignon in Bordeaux, but it is now grown throughout the world as a consumer-friendly wine. Strawberries and plums in cooler climates and black fruits with some chocolate in hotter ones.
Cabernet Sauvignon: If Merlot is the Prince, Cab Sav is the King.
An intriguing grape which can be harsh when young. The thick skin of cabernet sauvignon makes for high tannin. It ages well. Merlot adds the softness in its Bordeaux homeland blends. Flavours include black fruits – blackcurrant and cherries – with occasional cedar, green pepper and herbs.
Pinot Noir: A gentle little thing, the pinot noir grape.
The thin skins of pinot noir grapes lead to low or medium tannins but make it difficult to grow … but it is really easy to drink! If you see a red from Burgundy, this will be pinot noir. You’ll find strawberries, raspberries and cherries, and also savoury notes such as wet leaves, wood and meat. That might sound odd but go with it. Other than France, pick out a German pinot noir and in the New World, New  Zealand.


Breaking news

If you like your sparkles, some breaking news this week from the Co-op. The retailer’s Les Pionniers Vintage Champagne 2004, (£24.99) won three World Champion titles at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2014.

Co-op Les Pionniers Vintage 2004 champagne review

The Champagne is created through an exclusive long-standing partnership between Piper and Charles Heidseick. It has already picked up a Silver at this year’s International Wine Challenge and a Bronze medal at the Decanter awards.

Also in my glass

A couple of lovelies from Aldi wines.

The Exquisite Collection  Picpoul de Pinet (£5.99) and The Exquisite Collection Mendoza Rosé (£5.99) were new to Aldi’s range this summer. From the south of France, Picpoul de Pinet has a mouth-watering zing of lemon, lime and gentle peach, which follow the soft aromas of stone fruits and bright citrus.

To the Mendoza from Argentina, a rosé made from 100% malbec. A deep strawberry pink; fresh and dried strawberries on the nose with red fruits taste  with a mouth-bursting bite, but the flavours disappear quite quickly.