WOTW: Château La Baronne Le Rosé

Wine of the week this week is our Château La Baronne Le Rosé. ROSÉ. RICH. SUPERB. Discounted from £22.50 to £20 for a month.

The label on this is everything. Who wouldn’t want a vintage truck to deliver them four barrels of delicious rosé from the south of France? We might not be able to deliver a barrel but we can send you this absolutely delicious wine from Corbiéres (a fabulous little appellation south of Toulouse near Limoux and Carcassonne).

La Baronne, meaning the baroness, is a sumptuous rosé, floral on the nose, stone fruit on the palate and a depth of flavour that is not only fitting of a baroness but more importantly means it pairs well with food. The wine is farmed biodynamically and the winemakers here prioritise the natural biodiversity of their surroundings meaning the vines show the purest expression of the terroir. If you like this as much as we do then we’ll see if a barrel can be arranged…

Corbieres is the largest appellation in Languedoc.

Corbieres is the largest appellation within the Languedoc region and is most famous for its rustic red wines. It’s terroir (see BOTTL Uncorked for more on this wonderful French word) changes dramatically due to it touching the foothills of the Pyrenees as well as having a Mediterranean climate influenced by the cooling winds coming in from the coast. It is that coastal breeze that gives this rosé a refreshing salinity and savoury quality. Keeping it refreshing whilst the blend of Grenache gris, Grenache blanc and Syrah provide the complexity that requires food to really pop.

We recommend anything from charcuterie to moules frites to accompany this wine but we have also rustled up a lovely tomato and pepper bruschetta for our recipe of the week that is utterly delicious with La Baronne!

Rosé only makes up 12% of wine production in Corbieres so here’s to finding small pockets of interesting wines from unexpected places.
We call that Drinking Differently.


Phil and Matt

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Tobacco Dock in London for the very first time. Descending between two ancient ships the arched entrance led into an underground stone piazza. A bustling array of barrels awaited me, each winemaker proudly presenting five of their finest wines.

I’m not sure if there is tension or rivalry between the North and South of Portugal much like the famed divide in the UK, but the distance between the southern and northern winemaker sections would suggest so… a whole 50m dividing the two areas. Perhaps this is also why the north and the south have different names for the same grapes, something that usually only happens country to country or language to language. Having said that, there was freedom of movement between the two enclaves, with most winemakers tucking in to their own wines and those of their compatriots with glee. Quite impressive given it was only 11am. Then again the Portuguese reportedly drink the majority of the wine they grow. If that isn’t a sign that their product is good, then what is?

Rather than wander and browse for a while, I dived straight in to the nearest barrel. Firstly, I had little to no knowledge of Portuguese wine before arriving except a very general sense that they do heavy reds and a light spritzy white called Vinho Verde. Secondly, I think serendipity at wine tastings and indeed when visiting wine regions is always the best approach. There is something magical about turning a corner on a dirt road in Europe and finding a vineyard. Something I did this summer with my wife and daughter in Bergerac where we met a wonderful old lady. An eco warrior winemaker who refused to give me anything to carry the wine in because of the damage it would cause to the environment. Of course she was organic and biodynamic certified and the wine was utterly delicious. An inspiration to us all! I digress but the point being that we should be open to spontaneity and more often than not it’ll deliver something wonderful, or at least interesting, so on I headed to begin my portuguese wine adventure.

Quinta do Mouro was the first barrel in my line of sight and immediately my preconceptions of Portuguese wines were firmly sunk under the dock we stood upon. João their sales manager introduced me to five of their wines explaining that their approach was focused on wines with great acidity. His range spanned from the fresh light expressions to more classic, oak aged reds but all had a zip and zing that made the flavours come alive. I’m not a huge fan of big reds unless on the right occasion (with a hearty meal or perhaps in the depths of winter) but these had subtle oak flavours and the red fruits were ripe and rewarding whilst the tannins were soft and smooth. João was the first of many winemakers I met to admit that experimentation was at the heart of their winemaking process. Having accidentally got their wine press stuck when producing a white wine the team had to think quickly and decided the prolonged skin contact meant that they would start making an orange wine (we don’t stock these at BOTTL yet but they are essentially white grapes that are left to macerate so the skins give more colour and flavour to the wine). The resulting orange wine was beautifully rich and pithy with good acidity meaning it didn’t fall flat in the mouth. In honour of the mistake that led to the wine, the team decided to give it an upside down label. A nice touch to convey the haphazard journey to the bottle.

Next up I met Pedro from Herdade do Rocim, quite a famous vineyard in Alentejo in the South. A tall skinny man with a huge passion for his wine, he has a line of his own wine called Bojador. Bojador is a cape in Africa that is historic in Portuguese myth and legend. It was said that if a sailor managed to navigate passed the Bojador they would be greeted by sea monsters and creatures of the deep. To pass the Bojador required great skill, great pain and great determination, and as Pedro explained, the same goes for winemaking. He has obviously put his heart and soul into his wine and is extremely proud of the result, made clear by the amount he imbibed during our chat. And why not? His amphorae red is an unbelievably light but expressive wine full of juicy blackcurrant flavours and as fresh as mountain stream. Amphorae are enormous clay pots that more and more winemakers are using to make wines. They lie somewhere between the more traditional stainless steel or oak barrels as a vessel for fermentation. Where stainless steel doesn’t allow any oxygen in, the slightly porous clay of amphorae lets it in gradually to give a lovely texture to the wine but unlike oak it doesn’t impart any tertiary flavours so the grape’s natural fruits are retained. Sometimes the wines from amphorae can fall a little flat and, although an ancient method, it is definitely still new in its resurgence, but Pedro knows what he’s doing. In fact the whole of Rocim are such fans they hold an amphorae festival at their vineyard in November every year with over 1500 people visiting in one day.

I could go on about all the wines I tried but this post would never end. In short, Portugal is changing its approach to wine. Their whites are still a little too reliant on oak for my tastes but their reds are calming down and with the reduction in alcohol, the use of amphorae and the more subtle influence of oak, red wines from the North and the South are really worth buying.

A final shout out to the winemakers for following a BOTTL trend…! I am claiming this because they are labelling their grapes much more clearly on their bottles in the same way we do on our handy BOTTL notes. Why? Well, one, because they insist on different names in the north and south, but, two, because they use so many varieties. Portugal is full of field blends, meaning winemakers have several different vines planted in one vineyard. Harvested all at the same time, the wine is an expression of an unknown percentage of many different grapes, sometimes up to six or seven. The result is, thankfully, delicious, a bit like a grape smoothie! But up until now it was impossible to tell what was actually in the bottle. Now lots of winemakers are writing them on and not just listing them but incorporating them into their design. We love to see it! Hopefully in time we’ll all be categorising our wine into FRESH. JUICY. RICH and GOOD. GREAT. SUPERB. and everyone will proudly proclaim to be drinking differently.

Felicidades (Cheers in Portuguese)!


Wine of the week this week is our Vouvray Chateau Moncontour. WHITE. RICH. GREAT. Discounted from £17.50 to £15.75 for a month.

This weekend marked Drink Chenin Blanc day so it seemed apt for this wine to step up as it’s an absolutely delightful Chenin Blanc. There’s a specified day for every grape now which to be fair is probably a good thing when our supermarkets lead you to believe that only Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec exist.

We genuinely love pretty much every wine grape on the planet so we won’t be disingenuous and say Chenin is our favourite because, like with kids, its extremely hard to choose, and ultimately your favourites will change throughout the year, but Chenin does occupy a unique space in our hearts and palates, somewhere between the ubiquitous sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, the eponymous divider of opinions. And that space is a beautiful one to be in. The grape is elegant but has real depth. We’ve never cracked a Chenin and had anyone displeased. It is a grape that provides fabulous acidity with the richness of pear, apricot and honey flavours making it a wonderful accompaniment to fresh summer salads, cheese and white meat dishes. It is the wine I flock to when it is presented on a list alongside the usual suspects because I know it will be met with oooohhhs and ahhhhhsss of ‘this is lovely’, ‘what is this?’, ‘this is different’.

For us at BOTTL it occupies the RICH category because it does have those rich flavours mentioned above. More specifically here you are getting ripe melon, yellow plum and a hint of ginger.

Chateau Moncontour, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France.

“Vouvray is Chenin Blanc, and to a certain extent, Chenin Blanc is Vouvray” –Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine

Vouvray is the name of the appellation in the Loire Valley just east of the beautiful town of Tours where this wine is made. This appellation is famed for planting 100% Chenin Blanc. Much of the Chenin produced here and shipped to the UK in the past would have been off-dry or demi-sec (French for off-dry) and so older drinkers may associate the word Vouvray with something slightly sweet, not akin to a dry white wine, but I assure you our Chateau Moncontour is as dry as they come and perfect for the patio in this fine summer weather we’re having.

I am yet to visit the Loire Valley myself with a trip thwarted by the pandemic but it is without doubt one of the most majestic wine regions in the world with glorious chateaus gracing the banks of the Loire river including Moncontour which dates back to the 15th Century. If you plan to visit, then you must head to Vouvray to sample the finest expressions of Chenin Blanc in the world but before that why not whack this bottle in your next BOTTL box and see what we mean about it being the subtle but oh so delightful alternative to your usual dry white.

Here’s to Drinking Differently.


Our brand new site is here! Now it is even easier to find the wine you love. 

At BOTTL our aim is to make the process of wine buying simple; the understanding of wine terminology easy; and the drinking of wine incredibly enjoyable. We believe we can do this, not by telling you what you should drink, but by helping you choose what you drink, all the joys of your local wine shop at your fingertips, giving you the tools to get to the wine you love, without the dread of our presence breathing down your neck to make a decision. 

So how does it work? There are three subscriptions you can choose from. They are each designed for a different type of drinker. Some of us love to choose our own wine, some love a quicker fix (just send me the wine already!) and others want to be led by the wine aficionados (that’s Matt and I when it comes to BOTTL). So quite naturally we have a Choose Your Own subscription allowing you to select colours and styles you wish to fill your box with and then browse at your heart’s content. We have Spin the Bottl for those wanting a quick fix and a budget specific random selection of our entire list. And finally we have What We’re Drinking where we choose the six wines in your BOTTL box based on what we are sipping at that time of year – the only choice here is whether you want it with fizz or without.

We also have a whole page dedicated to telling you every detailed step right here. And we’ve made a handy video here too!

After all this you might be wondering why you should trust this start up wine subscription service rather than the tried and tested giants such as Majestic, Naked, Virgin and Laithwaites. Firstly, they all started somewhere but secondly and most importantly, we’re not here trying to reinvent the wine wheel or tell you what to drink but just make it better and more tailored to you. To Drink Differently with BOTTL means to have a simplified choice rather than a never-ending wall of wine, top quality wines to choose from rather than hit and miss mass produced juice, unbeatable flexibility allowing you to choose how often your box is delivered rather than an arbitrary monthly subscription and finally to build your confidence in wine through simple terminology of style: FRESH. JUICY. RICH and quality: GOOD. GREAT. SUPERB. SENSATIONAL. We also have handy BOTTL Labels stuck to each bottle telling you all the key facts about the wine, what to pair it with and whether its a GOOD, GREAT, SUPERB or SENSATIONAL wine so you know when and who to open it with!

We’re the founders and you can check out our credentials as your new suppliers of wine here. We might not be masters of wine in the official sense but we feel we have pretty good palates so we take pride in curating a small but wide ranging list. Of course, you’ll just have to get cracking and start your subscription to be the judge! Remember to use code BOTTL20 for 20% off your first box.


Phil and Matt.

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