Everything you need to know about wine classifications.

New Products 2021

Introducing our brand new heavyweights….

We’re absolutely delighted to introduce you to our new offerings. We’ve worked hard with our incredible suppliers, to bring you two brand new wines and, in an expansion to our range, our first whisky.

In the red corner, we have Rioja Santiago which is produced by the second oldest winery in La Rioja. By way of emphasis, this 150 year old winery, is one of only three wineries in the world that is permitted to use the word ‘Rioja’ on the label. Rioja Santiago is carefully aged in American oak barrels for 24 months followed by 12 months in bottle before release.  The result is an intense ruby red wine with a long and pleasant finish.

In the white corner, we bring you the Caracara Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. Produced by one of Chile’s leading wineries, Vina Luis Felipe Edwards, this expertly blended wine is made from premium grapes grown in Chile’s Valle Central. A dry and crisp white wine this is an elegant and well balanced wine.

For the knockout though, we recommend Forest Whisky, Blend Number 8. An exceptional blend made in small batches by husband and wife team, Lindsay & Karl Bond, at their distillery in Macclesfield. The 8th batch is made entirely of malt whiskies finished in 50 year old, second-fill Oloroso sherry casks for 12 months before being bottled. Only 450 bottles of this blend were ever produced, so catch it while you can. The whisky comes in a beautiful bottle finished (real!) gold and designed by Papercuts artist Georgia Lowe. 

As always, every product we sell has been carefully selected to offer excellent value and to continue our quest to find restaurant quality wines and spirits for you to enjoy at home.

New Year, New Decade, New Products!

As we usher in a new year (and the start of a new decade!) we thought we’d take this opportunity to update our offerings. 

Having worked extensively with our incredible suppliers, we are delighted to offer 6 new wines. Each wine has been carefully selected to offer excellent value and to continue our quest to find restaurant quality wines for you to enjoy at home.

So whether you blush over rose (in which case we recommend the Re Paolo Primitivo Rose Salento and Ca Montebelo Pinot Nero Rosato), wonder about whites (give the Pecking Order Chenin Blanc a try) or rave reds (in which case you’ll be spoilt for choice between the Sentina Merlot, Pecking Order Merlot or Araia Valpolicella Superiore) we have the wine for you.

We also have a fantastic new gin botanicals tin from our friends at the Spice Kitchen. This gorgeous gift tin comes wrapped in a stunning handmade silk sari and contains 7 of the finest quality whole spices including coriander seeds, rose petals, juniper berries, citrus peel, pink peppercorns and star anise. Perfect for garnishing your drinks, creating infusions and cordials or even for making your own gin! Alternatively, you can check out our gin offerings to make a fantastic gift for the gin lover in your life.

New Products Launched!

At Charles Rose we work hard to bring you top quality wines at fantastic prices and, even if we do say so, we’ve done it again!

We are extremely proud to announce a whole range of fantastic new products. Please allow us to introduce you to them…

Oro Gin


Created at the Distillery at Dalton in Dumfries and Galloway, this premium Scottish gin combines classical gin botanicals (such as juniper, coriander, orris root, lemon and orange peels) with more unusual additions such as cassia bark, malabar cardamom, pink peppercorns and lemongrass. There’s also one other secret signature botanical, which despite extensive testing – we are yet to discern – still, no harm in continuing to try to figure it out!

Plus, we’re not the only ones to fall in love with this wonderful gin; it recently qualified as a finalist for London Dry Gin of the Year and Best Newcomer at the Scottish Gin awards 2018. The winners will be announced in September 2018.

Roos Estate

Roos Estate wines are famed as great value South African wines. Each wine in the Roos Estate range comes with a unique label reflecting the fact that The Cape has the richest flora on the planet with biodiversity and sustainability at the heart of South African wine production. So good are the wines that rather than choose one or two wines to offer to our fantastic customers, we went with four!

Choose between Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Shiraz.

For more details about these, and our other fantastic wines and spirits, please see our website.

Best Seller Back in Stock!

We love it and so do you it seems!

CantinaZaccagniniTralcettoMontepulcianoDAbruzzo-2000x2000Our best selling wine (by far) – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is back in stock.

This fantastic wine is produced by Cantina Zaccagnini. Each bottle is carefully tied with a short stick of grape vine (tralcetto) to the neck – which explains why a number of our customers simply refer to it as ‘twig wine’.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is located on the Adriatic about mid-way down the boot, and the grapes for this wine share that name, too. The wine itself is medium bodied with lots of red cherry fruit and soft supple tannins. The ripeness of the fruit make this the perfect party wine.

Plus at £14.99 per bottle (with free delivery of orders over £75 and up to 12 bottles) it really is a bargain.

Now we know why it’s our best seller.

Wine Recession

While we’re all familiar with the worldwide financial recession, did you know we’ve also been experiencing a wine recession? Well, fear not, apparently the wine recession is set to end this year.

Back in 2008, consumption of wine peaked at a level of 25 litres per person – the equivalent of 1.61 billion bottles of wine! However, since that time, wine consumption has fallen by around 10.5% per capita.

Vinexpo and the International Wine and Spirits Record have now predicted that wine consumption will start to increase over the next five years. However, consumption is not set to reach the 2008 levels ‘in the foreseeable future’. Instead, a slow recovery over the next 5 years is expected.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of VINEXPO, says, “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over. While the UK market shed 9.6m cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.

It is noteworthy that the outstanding success since 2008 is sparkling wine. A large proportion of that success is down to Prosecco, which has seen a growth of 43% of UK imports. Between 2008 and 2018 UK drinkers are forecast to increase consumption of Prosecco to 2.2 litres per person, per annum.

So let’s raise a glass (of Prosecco) to the end of the wine recession!

Image is “Prosecco sparkling wine” by tracy ducasseFlickr: [1]. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Italian Sparkling Wine On Tap, Is It Prosecco?

Prosecco, the Italian cousin to France’s champagne, has quickly been gaining in popularity in the UK, but are you enjoying the real thing? Not if your prosecco is served on tap apparently.

Last year global sales of Prosecco overtook Champagne for the first time. In the UK, Prosecco achieved a 74.6% uplift in sales in the year to 20th July 2014 according to Kantar Worldpanel. There was similar staggering double-digit growth in 2013 with an increase in sales of £70 million.

Such is the staggering popularity of this sparkling gem that many eateries and pubs in the UK have started to sell it on tap. The advantage being a super sparkly glass of fizz without having to order a full bottle. However, according to EU Regulations, Prosecco must be produced in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area of north-east Italy (just as champagne must come from the Champagne region of France) and must be marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles. So if it arrives on tap, it is not Prosecco.

The trend of pubs selling Prosecco from barrels so alarmed Italian producers that they contacted the Food Standards Agency asking them to stop the sale of prosecco on tap. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that it is not an acceptable practice to sell prosecco in this way. As such, it is perfectly permissible to serve Italian sparkling wine on tap, but it cannot be called Prosecco.

So if you simply want a glass of Italian sparkling wine, by all means order from the tap, but if you want the real thing, buy a bottle!

Image is “Prosecco vineyards” by John W. Schulze is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wine Based Drinks: 75% Wine, 25% Egg And Milk?

We aren’t fans of buying wine in supermarkets. It’s a bit of a minefield as we wrote about recently. Now the consumer has another complication to deal with.

A few of the big supermarkets are now stocking wine based drinks. They come in wine bottles. They are in the wine aisle. But are they wine? I guess that depends on your definition of wine.

Wine based drinks are defined by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) as products consisting of at least 75% wine. What’s the other 25% then? Well, you might hope it is water however the photos supplied by The Daily Mail suggest otherwise, namely milk and eggs… honest, take a look!

As a totally irrelevant aside, The Daily Mail article lists the OIV as the European industry body, which isn’t quite right. Various European member states are part of the OIV. However, the European Union itself is an observer of work from the OIV through participating organisations such as the International Federation of Wines and Spirits (FIVS)… aside complete!

Let us pretend that we can live with the fact that if we buy one of these drinks and drink it, we are drinking something that is 75% wine and 25%… well we aren’t sure. Let us also pretend we don’t care if that 25% is water, or eggs or milk… Wouldn’t you be ever so slightly annoyed if, in an impulse purchase you picked up a bottle of wine on an aisle end, took it to a party and someone noticed that in tiny print on the back of the bottle it says “wine based drink”?

The Daily Mail claims supermarkets stocking these products are misleading their customers and we would agree. If it isn’t wine, make it clear on the front of the bottle. Or, put it somewhere else more appropriate, perhaps the dairy section.

Image is “Wine” by Christine592 licensed under CC BY 2.0

Britons To Spend More On Wine Than The French

Since the credit crunch of 2008 we might be drinking less in Blighty but that hasn’t stopped the value of the UK wine market increasing by 15% to around £10.6 billion in 2014.

At this point, you could rightly conclude that if we are drinking less wine but spending more then its because of tax.

Tax on wine has gone up considerably in the UK since 2008, by almost 60% (£1.56 to £2.47 inc. VAT). Thats quite a lot, and the third highest in Europe behind Ireland and Finland (they have VAT at 23% and 24% respectively!) In France you’d pay just 3 pence in duty on a bottle of wine… sigh…

However, its not just tax, our spending habits have changed. Apparently the biggest growth is in the premium wines area for bottles costing between £7 and £14.

So we are drinking less but prepared to spend more to get a better product. If we continue to do that then by 2018 we will be spending £11.3 billion a year according to forecasts by Vinexpo, and we will have displaced France as the world’s second biggest still wine market. The US is the biggest and currently bigger than the French and British markets combined.

Full story in the FT.

Rioja Classifications: know Your Reserva From Your Crianza

Here at Charles Rose Wines we love Rioja. There a few different types when classified by age.

If you have ever wondered about the difference between Reserva and Crianza then let us fill you in!


There are four classifications of Rioja. The differences centre on how long they have been left to age in oak.

It is impossible to talk about Rioja without mentioning oak.

Oak has been a part of Rioja production for around three centuries and is key in producing a Rioja’s hallmark vanilla flavours.

Originally it was French oak barrels which were used. Increasingly, American oak is now a popular alternative. Many producers use both. How many oak barrels might a winery own? Probably around 10,000… at least!

So, the four classifications of Rioja are as follows.


Wines labelled as simply ‘Rioja’ have spent less than a year in an oak ageing barrel.


Red wines must have been aged for a minimum of two years.

White and rosé wines must have been aged for at least a year.

For all three types a minimum of six months must be spent ageing in oak.


Red wines must have been aged for a minimum of three years with at least a year in oak.

White and rosé wines must have been aged for at least two years with a minimum of six months in oak.

Gran Reserva

Red wines require a minimum of five years of ageing with at least 18 months in oak.

White and rosé wines require at least four years of ageing with a minimum off six months in the bottle.

What do we stock?

We carry our favourite Rioja, a Beronia Rioja Reserva because we believe it is offers the best balance between taste and price. This particular wine is aged in French and American oak for 20 months with a further 18 months in the bottle.

If you have a favourite Rioja then let us know! Get in contact by email or leave a comment.

The Benefits Of “Mushroom Management” For Wine

Mushroom Management is the last thing any organisation wants to be accused of practicing. However, being kept in the dark is great if you are a wine. For wine, light damage is a very real threat.

Premium wines, that are intended to be stored, are usually contained in tinted or coloured bottles. Darker coloured glass prevents light in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum from breaking down elements of the wine that are desirable. Wines that are intended to be consumed soon after bottling often go into clear glass bottles. After all, hopefully they won’t be around long enough to get light damaged!

Shockingly, the group that produce the Wotwine app are claiming that over a third of the wines stored in clear glass bottles, from some 6,000 wines they sampled in the last two years, had suffered light damage.

Remarkably, they also claimed that around 4% of the wine they purchased from supermarkets was light damaged. If true that would be far more prevalent than cork taint, which is thought to only affect around 1% of bottles.

Their reasonable theory is that the fluorescent lighting prevalent in supermarkets often is of a wavelength close to UV, and hence may damage wine within a few hours of it being on the shelf.

Their advice is to pick up a bottle from within the wine aisle and to avoid bottles on aisle ends as these are more likely to be light damaged.

Of course, once you have purchased your wine, no matter where you got it, keep it a cool dark place until you are ready to drink it.

Full story in Harpers.

Image by Philip Larson (originally posted to Flickr as DSC02022) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons