Monday, 17 February 2014

Shops We Love: Hattie's Wines

 You may have noticed the Hattie's Wines logo on our sidebar over the last few months (they're one of our lovely advertisers) but this is far from a sponsored post - I am genuinely in love with what they're doing and thought it was about time we shouted about it!

We only work with companies and brands that we think are genuinely talented, different, and special, as well as being relevant to all of you lovely readers, so when I stumbled upon this glamourous, kick-arse wine shop for women I was super pleased.

I first discovered them when I realised they stocked Domaine Jones wines (we've long been a fan of Katie's work) and I was instantly attracted by their chosen tagline for the wine. No 'aromas of blah blah blah' or 'From the XYZ appellation', but simply: "For when you (or your tastebuds) need a cuddle."

That's the key to Hattie's wines: no-fuss, says-it-like-it-is tasting notes that give practical advice (there are plenty of 'drink it with bangers and mash', 'for nights on the sofa and plates of pasta' and 'for when you plan to sit in the garden and not do much else' type descriptions) that can appeal to anyone, but especially to your average Joe (or Joanne) that just wants something they know they'll like.

For such an accessible, crowd-pleasing store, you'd be surprised by the petiteness of their range: there's actually just 49 wines on their list at the moment. Crucially, however, there's an awful lot of diversity, and each wine seems chosen with love, the passion and sincerity of Hattie's owners shining through with each description. Also worth noting is Hattie's pricing: not one wine is over £20, with only two of the range over £15, and just 12 wines in total over a tenner, so they really do appeal to all budgets.

I was eager to see if their wines lived up to the promising nature of their website and company ethos, so I was thrilled when they sent the Vinspire team a few bottles to try. Here are our thoughts:

1. 2011 Naudin Tiercin Macon Villages, £9.99

Drew tasted this, and thought it showed value for money if you're after a white Burg:
"A light, easy drinking Chardonnay from the Macon. It’s fresh and pleasantly zingy with citrus notes
and a splash of cream in the finish. It’s a garden party wine to be enjoyed with your friends of with light white fish or shellfish. Lovely."

2. 2011 Land's End Syrah, £12.99

Hugo tried this South African red with a super-cute lighthouse label:
"This has a really tasty black, berry fruit and brambly flavour. There is spice too, and it's very smooth and not too jammy - definite cold climate influences. It's light on the tannins, making it a nicely quaffable wine, but has a decent alcohol kick. There are also the slightest chocolatey notes in the background but only a touch. It does linger, if not quite as long as I'd like, and is wonderfully rounded. Also a nice touch is the red and white banded foil to match the lighthouse on the label. All in all a really nice bottle."

3. 2012 Chateau l'Arnaude Cotes de Provence rose, £11.99

Freddy tried this, and is unashamedly fond of this pink beauty (just LOOK at the gorgeous label!):
"I've always been a fan of funky labels, providing the wine in the bottle is up to scratch. This really is a funky label that will definitely divide people, but if you like rosé, this is a cracker. Light, fresh fruit flavours and a really crisp and refreshing acidity make this an excellent wine for a summers day. My only warning is that it will disappear before you know it! (I accidentally drank the whole bottle...)"

4. Borsao Garnacha, £6.99

It was down to me to try the cheapest of the bunch, but I totally didn't regret my choice:
"You know those wines you just always want to have a few bottles of in the rack? The kind you can sip on an idle Thursday in front of Silent Witness, or pour out when someone unexpected turns up for a chat, and the kind you can sip with some hearty winter food OR over a barbecue? This is it. The right balance between fruit and spice, simple and stylish, food-friendly and sippable.

Southern French viognier is way over-rated, so Sam was excited to try this, even though he wasn't mad keen on the high-heel label (I TOTALLY WAS):
"A real mouth-filler of a white, packed full of pear and pineapple, with hints of floral spiciness too. Not as weighty as other viogniers, but it's still a punchy number, and something I enjoyed drinking on a weeknight when some friends came over for a relaxed, chatty supper. It suited the mood perfectly."

6. Septima Malbec, £8.49

Matt tried this and is now hungry for more:
"This wine ticks all the boxes when it comes to reasonably priced Argentine Malbec. Packed with ripe fruit, smooth tannins and a beautifully soft, smokey character underlined with a kiss of vanilla. Classy and elegant for the price it would be a perfect match for the Argentinian diet of meat, meat and more meat. That being said this wine goes very well with itself and is certainly fantastic value for money. Paola Borgo is one to watch."

My advice is to have a browse and put a little case together, but if you're having problems deciding, Hattie's has a cure for that too: the Hattie Shuffle. It's a super-cute little tool - you just select the type of case, colour(s) and style you're looking for and Hattie's 'wheel of fortune' spins and picks a mixed case to suit your tastes. 

They also have a 'wine tube map' and wedding planner, which I love, but the first thing I'd recommend is liking their mega-helpful Facebook page.

What's more - they have a loyalty scheme so the more you buy, you more you get for free - that's not something you get at every wine shop!

Who here has used Hattie's before? What did you think? And what's catching your eye from the range? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter and Facebook pages...

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