In order to be successful in business you need 'the idea'. You need to find something that no one else has thought of, perhaps rework an existing model. It's not easy! So when do you achieve that Archimedes moment when you stand up and scream 'eureka, I've got it?' Last year Kevin Dilton-Hill had his epiphany, the light bulb switched on and he created halfwine.com, an online wine retail site specialising in selling premium 37.5cl bottles of wine.
It's simple. Take a wander in to your nearest wine store, or supermarket, and have a wee peak at the range of quality half bottles on their shelves. Not too many eh! In my time as a retailer I have lost count the amount of times where someone asked me for a half bottle of wine. Not everybody wants to spend money on a full bottle, especially if they only fancy a tipple once a week.To some it is seen as a waste.
Starting at £4.95 a bottle, halfwine.com has put together a collection of nearly forty different wines from all around the world. Along with this you will find the odd guest producer, gift and tasting packs plus a monthly selection sent to wine club members. The service is currently only available in the UK.
I took a look at three wines from Dilton-Hill's range, Guy Charbaut Champagne, Craggy Range Pinot Noir and Domaine Masson Sancerre.
Guy Charbaut NV - Cuvée de Réserve Brut, 1er Cru is a grower Champagne from the small commune of Mareuil-sur-Ay, Marne, Champagne. Grower is a term for a single estate vineyard where the Champagne is produced from the same estate where the grapes come from, you may not know the names but they tend to be, for me, wines of top quality and finesse. The owners take more care and pride over their product. Not to dismiss Grandes Marque brands; big brands where the grapes come from around the region, but they do offer something different. This particular wine, pop it open and breathe it in. Rich stewed apples, brown sugar, cinnamon spice aromas. The palate initially delivers what you get on the nose but subsides to give a light freshness down the middle of the tongue. Dry with fresh soft bubbles and nice acid levels that carry with the fruit.
RRP - £13.20
Mike's rating, 8-10
New Zealand's Central Otago has a very good recent history with their Pinot Noir's. Sitting in the cooler regions of the South Island, Pinot Noir has the ability to express itself here. Craggy Range Zebra Vineyard 2007 Pinot definitely knows how to express itself. Dark, brooding black cherry, mint and vegetal notes, imagine walking through some woodland after the rain has fallen. Where to begin with the flavours? Black cherry, blackcurrant, white pepper, spice, huge juicy acidity, soft green tannins with some minerals and slight bitter notes at the end. This wine is a cross between an old and new world style Pinot. When left to breathe for a while those fruits begin to thicken up and concentrate. This wine is already five years old. I can't wait to see how this wine will be in another five years, it's superb!
RRP - £11.60
Mike's rating, 9-10
Finishing with a more classic French wine is the Domaine Masson-Blondelet, Thauvenay 2010 Sancerre. As with all Sancerre, it is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The nose emits very soft, delicate peach aromas. Peaches can be picked up on the palate too along with some bitter lemon, grapefruit and minerals. The acidity levels are crisp and a wee bit green but it does have a lovely steely finish, due to stainless steel fermentation. This wine has the potential to age; the youthful acidity levels tell me that. They will begin to smooth out over time allowing the fruit to come more to the fore. All in all, a pleasant wine!
RRP - £7.95
Mike's rating, 7.5-10
There is no doubt that what these guys are doing at halfwine.com is innovative. Coming up with fresh ideas can be difficult. This is simple in its approach. Sometimes that's all it takes. Picking the simplest idea and running with it. Maybe that's the key!
Prices correct at time of publication. Subject to availability.
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