#WineSwap – Are you the missing link?

Last weekend I took part in a fun project called #WineSwap. The idea is the brainchild of James Carey and Matt Orton, who hail from the Midlands and both work in the wine trade. The guys explain the idea very simply on their website www.hashtagwineswap.co.uk:

“A new way to find, share and experience wine! It’s simple; swap bottles of wine with your friends and use the hash-tag to tweet about it.”

I provided a link to an article in the Newsletter this week, which included the (shocking?) fact that 43% of UK consumers go for the same bottle of wine every time. I find this amazing given my own thirst for wine discovery but it also provides a huge opportunity. If you’re one of the population who buy wine in this way then why not ask your friends what they drink… and do a #WineSwap?

If you’re more of a wine connoisseur then maybe you have a stash of Bordeaux and want to make space for a couple of bottles of Burgundy; perhaps you bought a case of 12 to secure good deal and are just a bit bored of it. Maybe your wine racks are fully stocked with reds but you fancy experimenting with some new whites – offer them up for a #WineSwap and see where it takes you.

But the most exciting aspect of the #WineSwap is “The Quest” – which at first glance seems ridiculous; to start with a £5 bottle of wine and end up with a truly great bottle through nothing more than a series of swaps. And the guys have set their sights on a bottle from one of the greatest estates, and from one of the greatest vintages; a bottle of Chateau Latour 1982, currently available at Roberson Wine for a mere £2,035!

The quest is going well; here’s the chain to date:

  1. Piccini Memoro NV (bought from Tesco for £5.00, reduced from £9.49)
  2. Santa Rita ‘Medalla Real’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Chile
  3. Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, McLaren Vale, South Australia
  4. Domaine Jones Fitou 2011, Languedoc, France
  5. Rustenberg John X Merriman 2001, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  6. 10 Minutes by Tractor ‘Estate’ Chardonnay 2010, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
  7. Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2003, South Australia

I got involved in “The Quest” due to a couple of coincidences one weekend. On a visit to Hedonism I tried the Penfolds St Henri 2009 and was smitten. That evening I got in a Twitter conversation about something wine related with James and had a read through the articles on the WineSwap website. In one of the posts, Matt got quite emotional about a wine I know something about at a tasting he attended:

Pichon–Longueville, Pauillac, 2006

“Just entering the, albeit early, stages of its drinking window. A dazzling array of aromas on the nose berries, fresh flowers, spices and Crème brûlée. Palate is lush and full; elegantly coating every inch of your mouth in satisfying tannins that are soaked in warm, yet fresh fruits. Finish is long, focussed and un-earthing of yet more flavours. Undoubtedly the finest wine of the evening.”

This got me thinking. As well as attending a wonderful Pichon tasting earlier in the year, I also visited the property on our tour of Bordeaux in the summer. I must admit that the 2006 isn’t amongst my favourite Pichon vintages but I did buy a couple while I was there at a very decent price… So I made the #WineSwap team an offer to exchange one of my Pichon 2006’s for their St Henri 2003… And a deal was struck!

The Fish & I in front of the delightful chateau of Pichon-Baron

It turned out we were all going to the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter last weekend; the problem was we were going on different days! But earlier swaps have take place as far away as Newcastle and even South Africa, so another trip to London wasn’t going to stop this exchange from happening! We all met up at Marylebone station and an another successful #WineSwap took place:

The swap takes place!

If you want to make an offer for the Pichon Longueville-Baron 2006 or just want some more information to set up your own #WineSwap, then visit James and Matt’s website and get swapping!

About Confessions of a Wine Geek


Posted on November 23, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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