A few months back I reviewed the Domaine Gueguen Chablis from London-based online indie wine merchant The Vino Beano. Out came the inevitable Beano-comic gags, including a namecheck for Lord Snooty. Characters of refinement and breeding, Snooty and Pals would surely have approved of the Vino Beano’s latest venture: a high-end subscription service called The Grand Cru Club.
What’s A Grand Cru Club? It All Sounds Very Exclusive. But What’s In It For Me?
“Exclusive” is a vastly overused word these days, isn’t it. So much so that it’s almost lost its original meaning. But with a membership ceiling of 100, the Grand Cru Club is genuinely aimed at a limited number of clientele.
And one glance at the stationery reveals the niche they’re going for. It’s very… five star. The sort of graphic design you’d expect to find on the menu at a posh art deco hotel.
But such exclusivity doesn’t come cheap: the annual subscription is £1,500 plus VAT, so that’s £1,800 to all you VAT payers, the equivalent of £150 per month.
You can read the full list of members’ benefits here, but they include free access to 15-20 wine tastings per year; tailored vineyard tours; seasonal events; and discounts on all the website’s wines. Plus, you get an introductory “taster case”…
The Introductory Wine Case
The Grand Cru Club’s introductory case comes with tasting notes/notebook, a corkscrew, some personalised chocolates and, of course, half a dozen wines: half of which I’ve tried myself.
While the Champagne, Malbec and Chianti have so far eluded me, I have sampled the aforementioned Domaine Gueguen Chablis; a succulent Domaine Vincent Ledy Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Côtes de Nuits, and a refreshing O Do Avó Marcelo Albariño from Galicia in north-western Spain.
Perhaps surprisingly, my favourite of the three was the Albariño: and not just because of its stylish, if illegible, newspaper-print label. Its pale straw colour belies its intense white-fruit flavours of creamy pear and peach, with honeysuckle notes. It’s not hugely dissimilar to a light white Burgundy from Mâcon-Villages. On the tongue, it’s lemon, a touch of lime and a lingering finish.
If you’d like to know more about the Grand Cru Club, see the Vino Beano website for full details.