A wine's presentation should make a promise that the liquid in the bottle keeps.
Tuffers' Tipples do exactly that.
You will probably be able to decide everything you need to know about the wines from how you feel about the presentation - in the most general sense.
If you like the look and sound of them, you will, on balance, probably enjoy them - and vice versa.
The wines come as a range of six from different countries: the whites are two Sauvignons and an English Bacchus; the reds include a French GSM blend, Spanish Tempranillo and an Aussie Shiraz.
Each bottle has a different picture of Phil and you'll pay quite a premium for the celebrity association.
The basics are mostly present and correct; freshness, aroma, fruit and a bit of savouriness. The whites have some lees aging to make them more food-friendly so they generally score better for winemaking effort than for the underlying quality of the fruit.
They are probably best served to a general audience with the whites well chilled; they will match with party foods, such as pizzas, barbecues with plenty of strong sauces or chips-and-dips.
Detailed tasting notes are below; for my money the Bacchus is the most interesting of the lot.
Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne, France (£11.99)
zesty and aromatic; fresh white stone fruits, melon and pineapple with pea shoots and zippy lime, some savoury leesiness.
Match with lighter curries, such as prawns with red lentils.
Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, Australia (£18.99)
floral and tropical with white peppery spice; melon, tropical fruits and stone fruit with citrus and zippy lime zest, gooseberry and grapefruit; savoury, leesy underpinnings.
Match with white meat and herbs, such as roast pork with sage or monkfish with a herby broth.
Bacchus, Essex, England (£15.99)
floral hedgerow and delicate aromatics; citrussy sherbet, lemongrass and fresh green herbs with some complex savoury leesiness; light and fresh with some persistence.
Match with light, aromatic starters, such as mozzarella with parsley or herby cream cheese on ciabatta.
All three reds would work well at an outdoor summer party; match with smoky grilled meats and plenty of barbecue relish. The Shiraz demands robust and strong-flavoured foods.
GSM, Pays d'Oc, France, 2020 (£12.99)
overripe plums, figs and prunes with spice and menthol; freshness with baked bramble fruits, raisins and coconut-caramel.
Tempranillo, Castilla-la-Mancha, Spain, 2019 (£12.99)
spice, bramble fruits, dried herbs and damp earth; mouthwatering freshness with pastille fruits and dusty, dried cherries.
Shiraz, Margaret River, Australia, 2019 (£18.99)
spicy dark berry fruit with inky graphite; fresh and generously extracted with blueberries, milk chocolate, oaky vanilla and caramel.
Notes from Phil Tufnell and Virgin Wines:
Phil Tufnell fell in love with wine over 30 years ago, on his first Ashes trip to Australia with England and has delighted in creating his own collection of bespoke tipples.
His aim? To produce game-changing wines, that leave even the most discerning of wine drinkers stumped for choice.
Phil says: “I’ve always loved wine, with a passion that goes beyond just drinking it! The whole winemaking process fascinates me, and I’ve been privileged enough to learn about everything from provenance to pressing to most importantly tasting, while working on this collection. It’s been incredibly exciting to get to know the winemakers involved, I can’t wait to continue on this journey with Virgin Wines and have everyone try this cracking selection of wines. Happy Days.”
To start the collection, a delectable Tempranillo from Castilla-la-Mancha in Spain is joined by a flavourful French duo of a Sauvignon Blanc and GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) blend.
These premium-level editions are perfect for everyday drinking and work nicely alongside the collection’s super-premium bottles: a new world Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.
Carefully selected from Australia; these special tipples are a nod to Phil’s cricketing heritage and 2003 I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here win.
Topping off the range is something a little closer to home; a luxurious English Bacchus expertly made in New Hall Vineyard in Chelmsford.
Echoing the same sentiments as Phil, the team at Virgin Wines are delighted to be bringing out this strong portfolio of wines with ties to Phil’s remarkable playing career.
Virgin Wines’ Head Buyer and all-round wine guru Andrew Baker says: “Phil is a cricketing legend who has genuine interest in wonderful wines but wants to have fun along the way, which is what we’re all about.
The wines we’ve sourced for this collection are made in collaboration with extremely talented, independent winemakers across the globe who have absolutely mastered their craft. We cannot wait for our customers to try them.”