Please remember to approach the world of wine responsibly
Inglenook 2013 - Blancaneaux
Vivino tells me this is a Chablis, but I'm not getting the typical Chablis notes, except for a crispness. It has a youthful colour along with hay, nettles and gooseberry in the mouth. I really enjoyed this but feel it's still a bit young and was in need of a few more lines on its face. 4/7
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Now it's the turn of the whites
Get them down your neck
Mount Rosier Estate 2018 - The Weather Man Sauvignon Blanc
Through a variety of reasons I've lost my way with Sauvignon Blanc and this has not made me regret that decision. The label is excellent and draws you towards it, but that is as far as the excitement goes. There are odours of straw and grass that raise a mild interest, but I might be overusing the word mild here. The taste reveals a little bit of hay and spice in the mix. It's really average and gives you nothing much to ponder. 2/7
Ikon of London 2018 - Dry English Sparkling
Actually made by Denbies. Ikon of London is a newcomer to the sparkling wine arena. On the nose it's light bread and almond with additions of creamy pastry. When I taste it, it's syrupy and seems to lack bubbles. I actually find that this is more like a Prosecco than anything else. I want to like it but feel it needs a little bit more backbone. Perhaps that's due to the fact that there's no Pinot Meunier. 2/7
Leeuwin Estate 2014 - Art Series Riesling
Haven't tried too many Australian Rieslings but this was interesting. The colour was so pale that it could be ill. It smells of a fruity perfume mixed with a walk through a floral meadow. Green fruit and high acidity are in the mix with a real dryness. Then along comes the citrus, with grapefruit leading the charge. At the end there's straw and a rewarding subtlety. 4/7
Wine Web Review
How often do you glance at the websites of the wine producers of the world? If you don't know where to start, haven't got the time or want somebody else to put in the legwork then you've come to the right place. In each edition I pick a variety of sites, give them a brief passer-by stare, and then tell you which ones are putting in the effort and which are putting me off. In this edition it's...
With the growth of Chile as a world wine power, and because of the recent tasting I attended, it feels that it's only natural ot see how the wine websites over there are dealing with all the attention they're starting to arouse. Are they going to look basic and in need of work, or are they trying to promote what they are about? It's time to take a look.
My first stop is the website of VIK because at the recent tasting I found their wines to be expensive, but also trying to reach for something that I found ambitious and exciting.
Type in the address (www.vikwine.com) and the first thing you see is a set of revolving images that highlight a sense of modernity existing at one with its surroundings. These are accompanied by a small paragraph that quotes people who have stayed in one of their guest suites.
I love the photography but am a little confused. I'm looking for a wine website and not a hotel promotion. It's time to explore further.
At the top of the page are a variety of straplines where the visitor can search for what they want, and looking over the titles it seems that most people either want to stay or eat because this dominates more than a history of winemaking or varieties on offer. There is one title named 'Experience' and I guess this is what VIK is selling.
Tapping on this I see more images of what VIK are offering, and finally between pictures of people contemplating yoga, a band playing and a balloon flight is my first real site of the odd vine or tasting experience. As a wine website I don't find much of interest here so let's move on.
I drop in on the 'Wine Spa' page and I'm once again looking over beautiful photography. Thankfully, the word 'wine' is now starting to seep into the vocabulary and while I'm still missing pictures of bottles and discussions about vintages, I like the sound of the VIK Vineyard Recovery and VIK Wine Bath (very exotic, very Cleopatra!). The shame is that as I read carefully, I'm not being given enough information to make an informed choice.
Under the title Viña VIK I think I've found what I'm looking for because the page opens and is now titled VIK Winery with accompanying film. It is once again opulence for the eyes and you're taken on a trip through the winemaking process, accompanied by shots of a couple (I know the man is the winemaker, but I've not a clue about the woman in the hat!) touring the wonderful grounds.
Below this are the first hints that VIK is more than a destination hotel as an area entitled 'Wine Shop' appears, and you get your first view of the product they sell.
At the edge of this area are two inviting columns that mention 'Limited Editions' and 'The Collection Box'. Of course I'm going to explore. The 'Limited Editions' section is almost a backdoor into the wineshop, as is 'The Collections Box'. Take the cursor downwwards and the wine enthusiast is rewarded, because beyond the hyperbole and about the 'VIK' experience, you actually get areas where you can book tastings or learn about the vineyard. There's also areas that once again discuss the hotel side of the business. Looking at the 'VIK Tasting' area I'm a little disappointed because detail is lacking. Perhaps the 'Wine Shop' can save the day.
It's a lovely area, and no doubt has the same expense that has been lavished on VIK (hotel and wine) is demonstrated here. Photography is easy on the eye and fonts that never prove challenging are never far away. What I'm missing is that level of detail that the average wine enthusiast craves. For example, the entry for one of their wines is so brief that it could be the hurried notes on a winetaster speeding through a large selection (see the UGCB tasting).
The shame here is that I want to be satisfied, and I'm searching for substance, but it's taking more effort than most 'average' wine websites. I finally bring up the menu and pin my hopes that 'Our Winery' will bring relief.
Once again, I feel a sense that this is a missed opportunity, because the detail is mostly brief and seems geared towards promoting tours and tastings. Perhaps VIK's youth might be the reason for the lack of information. It appears to have been founded in 2004 (with a sumptuous wine cellar being added in 2007) and this makes it a baby. I give the site another once over and feel that it's the sort of baby that hasn't quite discovered what it wants to be.
Heading back to the home page I feel a little let down because if I'd have been reviewing the hotel/restaurant side of this business I would have been raving and encouraging you all to get yourselves over to Chile, but this page of Winefullness Magazine is for reviewing wine websites and VIK still has a long way to go. It's such a shame because the wines are excellent.
2 Out of 7
I'm right! The page is block paragraphs that talk about members of the family, and while Château Margaux didn't need too many photographs this site is begging for them. Time to look at the other entries.
Even I can see that this is a site laden with detail (despite my lack of French) but the whole feel is as lifeless as a dusty book hidden away in a forgotten library!
There is not one single picture to be seen anywhere, no video of beautiful vineyards shot from a swooping drone, and you can forget about building any sort of relationship with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti through its website. It feels as distant as writing to a popular rock star!
This feels like a business that doesn't really care for the casual visitor, and the website seems to reinforce this notion! It has that air of confidence in the knowledge that its wines sell to sorts who don't need to patronise a website. This Domaine needs to remember that today's casual buyer can become tomorrow's serious buyer.
I'm very disappointed by this site and think that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti really needs to take a look at its relationship with the outside world. This is the worst site I've seen since Screaming Eagle!
There are big boys with long traditions in Chile. Wineries and vineyards that have survived through difficult times and are known by the average wine drinker outside of their country of origin. Errazuriz come to mind, but so does the name of Cono Sur. If I was eager to look at VIK because they are the new kids on the block, and Tayu 1865 because they appeared to link the traditions of winemaking to the local traditions of the community, then it seems only reasonable to give a producer like Cono Sur a look.
My first sight is of wine being poured and bottles of wine being clearly shown. This feels like the sort of familiar wine website territory I'm used to. I could play the video, but think it might be worth saving if there's not much more to look at (see Tayu 1865) and so I take the cursor downwards.
The wines of Cono Sur appear very quickly and with a haste that makes me feel there's product confidence in play here. I decide to take a detour and view. Tap on one of the bottles and you're given a technical sheet that is similar to those that are handed out at tastings. There's not too much detail but enough to let you know what I might be in for if I buy a bottle (I've tasted them and have no problem in this area). While the opening page is dark, there is a sharp cleanliness to this page that makes it easy to read and navigate. I know this is supposed to be a speedy visit but I've already passed five minutes pouring over wine factsheets. Time to be moving on.
'I love the photography but am a little confused.'
`Shame on you Screaming Eagle!!!'
'The video wetted my appetite but the site doesn't quench the thirst.'
'The drawing have a warmth to them that reminds one of a pleasant childhood.'
'I feel that it's the sort of baby that hasn't quite discovered what it wants to be.'
The minimal nature of Tayu 1865 is so different that it begs you to look closer, and you see the slight face of an indiginous person. Let's go explore.
Unlike VIK, where film and photography are constantly on the move, this site offers you a brief YouTube piece if you want. It's only just over a minute and I take a look. It is obvious that the winery sees itself as being alligned to the history of the local community with shots of vineyards being tended by locals and phrases about history imposed upon them never being far. This all ends with a shot of that same indiginous face that adorns the bottle. One feels a sense of flow.
The music that accompanied the video continues to accompany me as I get my first look at the Tayu 1865 site.
Tayu is situated in southern Chile, in the region of Malleco, and as I read the information the wineries allignment towards the local community constantly appears. If this is their U.S.P. then it's got a lot of weight.
Remembering that I'm supposed to be acting like a visitor who is quickly scanning the site I nose about, but that doesn't take too long because there's not much more than that opening page.
Finally, in small lettering I spot an entry entitled 'Technical Sheet', and following this path I'm taken to a rather interesting piece about the backbone of their wonderful Pinot Noir with it's origins and the winemaking principles being explained.
There's not much but it's informative and reminds me of an area I found on the Domaine de la Romanee Conti site, but where I found their page seeped in arrogance, this page feels natural.
I look over the six photographs the site offers, decide against watching the video once more and finally request more information. Once again I feel a little disappointed. Where VIK offered a ton of information, but very little of it about wine, this site seems to offer just enough. The video wetted my appetite but the site doesn't quench the thirst.
3 out of 7
'While the opening page is dark, there is a sharp cleanliness to this page.'
I click on a picture of the vineyard and winery but it won't load and I wonder if there's anything more to see. The 'Valleys' & Winery' section are quite satisfying and offer maps and photography that is helped by the briefest of descriptions. I'm not complaining because I wasn't expecting any text.
In most of the wine websites I visit there is usually a couple of regulars like 'News' but a newer area is the sustainability that is being practiced by the producer, and Cono Sur is no different. Once again those clean lines and fonts are used so that information can be easily grasped. All is accompanied by two or three videos that demonstrate that Cono Sur is fully committed (aren't they all?). I was only going to scan this area but before I know it I'm watching a video that features predator geese dealing with bugs. While I enjoyed watching it, I did find it like the sort of public information film I remember watching as a child.
While I'm in the mood for a video I play the opening offering and find it is only forty-seven seconds. Can I recommend that if winemakers want to make a promotional video they look at the Colgin offering. It's inventive and different!
As I return to the beginning and look at the home page I do feel that Cono Sur have produced a wine website that is visually strong but lacking the warmth that would make it more than just a promotional tool. I did enjoy it, but I'm still wondering if that is only because I found something missing in the other two sites. All I can recommend is that you take a look and let me know what you think.
4 out of 7
'I do feel that Cono sur have produced a wine website that is visually strong, but lacking a warmth...'
So that is that! Iarision.
So that's three wine websites from Chile, and as I write this final piece I feel a mixture of interest, predictability and missed opportunity. VIK has a strong presence on the internet, but seems to be a confused site that wants to promote the hotel, the 'retreat', 'the experience' and the wine. If this was a review of hotel websites it would have been a glowing endorsement, but it's an article about wine websites and I found that area to be tokenistic and minimal, especially when you consider the amount that has been spent on VIK. I would recommend a visit to the site of 'The Vineyard' in Newbury where you can see how this all works well.
Tayu 1865 was another missed opportunity. The winery promotes itself as being in tune with the local community, of encouraging a sense of place but I just couldn't find the detail on their site. Perhaps if I'd have really explored their web presence. Unlike VIK, wine was the name of the game here and that should be celebrated.
This finally bring me to Cono Sur. They are a famous name in Chilean wine which means there is money to put together an effective website. The videos left me feeling cold though and without the warmth that a top wine film brings. As I wrote, they were more like old business promotional films than an invitation to share an experience. I do think they are on the right track and the clean lines and depth of information was so welcome after finding it lacking from the other two. In a future edition I will undoubtedly return to Chilean websites and I hope they will have upped their game a little.