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At Stone, Vine & Sun we are committed to sourcing fine wines that truly reflect the land they are grown on.

Stone, Vine & Sun was named after the three most important influences on a bunch of grapes, and therefore wine: the earth, the plant and the weather. It reflects our belief that wines should have a sense of place. As a result we strive to buy from independent, family-owned producers, whose husbandry of their land increasingly encourages the adoption of sustainable, organic or bio-dynamic methods of cultivation.

We specialise in the Rhône, Burgundy, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the Loire Valley, plus South Africa and South America; as well as having an extensive range of wines from other regions of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, New Zealand and the US. You are sure to find the perfect bottle or case here. Try one of our mixed cases, our range of fine wine, or simply browse among our wine gifts, services and opinionated comment.

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Our Favourite Selection

  • IWC Chile Winner's Dozen

    Product Code: IWC15DOZ

    IWC Chile Winner's Dozen

    “IWC Chile Winner’s...”

    2 bottles of each of the six wines, with a discount of over 10% to our usual bottle prices

    More Info
  • Mas d’Amile, Languedoc-Montpeyroux, 2013

    Product Code: MDA313

    Mas d’Amile, Languedoc-Montpeyroux, 2013

    “"Languedoc is slowly discovering and registering its best vineyards. This pretty spot, with extraordinarily low-yielding 40 to 60-year grenache, syrah and carignan vines, has produced this stunning, exotic, smoky, church-incense and black fruit-scented red." Jane MacQuitty, The Times Top 50 Summer Reds Saturday 18th July...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Languedoc
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75CL
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Segares, Rioja Tempranillo, 2013

    Product Code: NES113

    Segares, Rioja Tempranillo, 2013

    “Unoaked Tempranillo, from 30 year old vines which deliver excellent concentration for an example of the joven style. Vibrant purple. Lifted scent. Very ripe, pulpy and strawberryish. Very soft and juicy. Fresh finish. What a delicious simple pleasure. Now-2016”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Light Medium Bodied

    Rated 2 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Spain
    • Region: Rioja
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info
  • BBQ Mixed Case

    Product Code: BBQDOZ

    BBQ Mixed Case

    “Barbecues are all about grilled meat and tasty char-grilled flavours call for bold and showy wines - but without too much oak. This week we recommend two perfect and award winning...”

    Buy these and start marinading!

    More Info
  • Badenhorst, Secateurs Red, Coastal Region, 2012

    Product Code: BAD612

    Badenhorst, Secateurs Red, Coastal Region, 2012

    “A very lightly oaked blend of 55% Shiraz, with 33% Cinsault, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Tinta Barocca, 2% Pinotage and 1% Mourvèdre. This has so much more suavity and perfume than most Cape reds, the Cinsault and Grenache bringing some freshness and grace. It offers smooth red fruit, a bit of spice and all just rounded by big old oak vats. Applauded everywhere. Now-2016”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: South Africa
    • Region: Coastal
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Volcanes de Chile, Tectonia Grenache - Petite Sirah - Mourvèdre, Central Valley, 2012

    Product Code: VOL212

    Volcanes de Chile, Tectonia Grenache - Petite Sirah - Mourvèdre, Central Valley, 2012

    “This is a blend of grapes sourced from Rapel, Maipo and Maule respectively, so just Central Valley on the label. Inky deep purple. Liqueur cherry and blackcurrant aroma. Very ripe and very concentrated indeed: one for lovers of old fashioned Aussie blockbusters. Cassis and brambly fruit with a liqueur richness. Woodsmoke and forest floor notes. Some would say this is over the top: others will love it! Now-2017”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Central Valley
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Les Quatre Tours, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé, Signature, 2014

    Product Code: QUA514

    Les Quatre Tours, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé, Signature, 2014

    “This fairly-priced Provençale blend (35% Grenache, 25% of each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with some Grenache Blanc) has become a firm favourite - with a lot of loyal followers - among those who like the characteristic Riviera style: pale colour, generous fruit and restrained elegance.”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Dry

    Rated 1 out of 5
    Dry > Sweet
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Provence
    • Colour: Rosé
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info
  • Apaltagua, Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, San Antonio Valley, 2014

    Product Code: APA614

    Apaltagua, Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, San Antonio Valley, 2014

    “This successfully combines a cool climate grassiness and sense of nettles with elderfl ower aromatics and that characteristically ripe, almost tropical, Chilean SB fruit. Very good value for the punch it delivers.”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Dry

    Rated 1 out of 5
    Dry > Sweet
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: San Antonio
    • Colour: White
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Cottonworth, Classic Cuvee, English Sparkling Wine, NV

    Product Code: COT1NV

    Cottonworth, Classic Cuvee, English Sparkling Wine, NV

    “Perfectly planted vineyards in the Test Valley facing south and east. Awarded two gold medals and made from the classic varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Dry

    Rated 1 out of 5
    Dry > Sweet
    • Origin: UK
    • Region: Hampshire
    • Colour: White
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 12%
    More Info
  • Montiero, Barbera,  Piemonte, 2013

    Product Code: MNT113

    Montiero, Barbera, Piemonte, 2013

    “Good vibrant hue. Scent of ripe cherries and rosehip. Crunchy plum and brambly flavours. Gently savoury. Just a little substance. Very successful at this price. Now-2016”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Italy
    • Region: Piemonte
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 12%
    More Info
  • Mas du Canal Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc, 2014

    Product Code: VIC514

    Mas du Canal Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc, 2014

    “From Grenache and Cinsaut, crafted in the Provençale style, pale coloured, light and refreshing. Pale clear pink with a hint of onion skin. Light scent of berries. A refreshing mouthful of strawberry and cranberry. Nothing complicated, just a well-made, dry rosé perfect for parties or daily consumption anytime of the year.”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Dry

    Rated 2 out of 5
    Dry > Sweet
    • Origin: France
    • Region: Languedoc
    • Colour: Rosé
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 12.5%
    More Info
  • Nitida, Riesling, Durbanville, 2014

    Product Code: NIT414

    Nitida, Riesling, Durbanville, 2014

    “Wow - this Riesling is a new wine for us, but we were knocked out by this example: if it came from Alsace or Germany it would be £14-17.00 a bottle.”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Dry

    Rated 1 out of 5
    Dry > Sweet
    • Origin: South Africa
    • Region: Durbanville
    • Colour: White
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info

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  • Wine Blog by Simon Taylor

  • Monday 10th August 2015 10:02am

    Laithwaite’s – Boutique Wines at everyday prices ?

    It’s a quiet Saturday in August, the sun is shining, few will come to the shop, so there’s time for a meditative review of one of the UK’s largest wine businesses, Laithwaites (and for those who don’t know already, Laithwaite’s also owns Avery’s and runs just about every wine club you might have heard of, e.g. Sunday Times, British Airways, National Trust, etc. etc.). Laithwaite’s tale of growth - from Tony Laithwaite bringing back a van load of wine from France in 1969 to a huge wine business operating in several countries today - is amazing.  One should be proud of this great British success story….

    ….BUT (there’s often a large BUT in an SVS blog) this blog was prompted solely by the appearance through my letter box at home of their latest offer trumpeting “Boutique Wines at everyday prices” (and everything in quotation marks below comes from this brochure or their website). I was piqued. Leaving aside the actual desirability of “boutique” wines – as so many tend to be over-made, over-priced wines owing more to the pretensions of some rich owner than the land on which the vines are grown - this is an absurd claim.   “Boutique” has no legal status in the world of wine but it does imply small-scale and precious. In Australia the rules of the Association of Boutique Winemakers are clear: “A Boutique wine company is one which crushes and bottles 250 ton or less annually under its own label and is owned independently, i.e., not owned by a larger wine company”.  Well, as to the precious idea, ignoring the discount in the Laithwaite’s brochure, the average bottle price of the wines featured, is, in theory (for more of the “in theory” part, please see below) over £9.00 a bottle, not really boutique territory when it comes to wine.  

    Anyway, investigation followed, and as I researched more, I got tetchier…

    First, the selling pitch is based on claims that “boutique” wineries are “queuing” to work “so closely with wine drinkers”, with, wait for it, “no middlemen, no money wasted on expensive marketing”.  Umm, what exactly is Laithwaite’s but a middle man? And whilst it’s good news of course, that these humble peasants are spared all this marketing effort, it’s bit rich to imply this cost has vanished given that Laithwaite’s spends squillions every year on marketing in advertising and sponsorship!  Incidentally the idea that the Laithwaite’s customers are “helping…wineries to keep costs down by ordering together” is a shameless rip-off of the more innovative Naked Wines philosophy (and it does seem a bit unfair to steal Naked’s clothes!).

    So who exactly are these “talented winemakers struggling along selling a few cases at a time to restaurants and private clients”, these guys who are making “handcrafted wines at remarkable prices”, pathetically grateful to Laithwaites for so graciously taking “the lot in one go”, thus enabling them to have “more time to make great wine”? The briefest perusal of the brochure comes up with these: Vina Tarapaca in Chile, part of the VSPT wine group, Chile’s second largest wine exporter; Franschhoek Cellars, a former co-operative and now part of DGB (which was Douglas Green Bellingham) in the Cape, producing a very unboutique 8,000 tons, equal to 560,000 cases a year; Martinez Bujanda in Rioja, with over 200 hectares of vineyards; Mcpherson wine with 225 hectares in Australia; and Luis Felipe Edwards, the largest family owned winery in Chile, who somehow make ends meet by picking every last grape on their 1850 hectares and exporting to 70 countries.  (Just to put this in perspective, many of the growers we buy from in France and Italy make wine from less than 10 hectares of vines, and Frank Balthazar in Cornas has just 2.25!). Doesn’t one’s heart bleed for these impoverished, time-poor souls, and applaud Laithwaite’s philanthropy in saving them. Laithwaite’s say they are selling wines “made in quantities too small for the supermarkets”, but when you claim to have 100,000 thirsty customers and a turnover of £300m it’s quite hard to supply them without going to the big boys of the wine world.

    Next, the pricing: I examined one case of the twelve on offer in the brochure, no. 9, Pinot Grigio and Friends. This cases includes two bottles of each of four Pinot Grigios - from Romania, Hungary, Australia and Italy - plus a Chenin Blanc (from the Franschhoek Cellars mentioned above) and an Italian blend. The headline printed price is £105.49. (I accept the brochure is three weeks old, but when I totted up the bottle prices of the wines on their website in the case I came to £101.88). But the idea that these particular bottles are worth an average of £8.79 is ludicrous. C’mon guys…. eastern European Pinot Grigio, making up a third of the case, is just NOT boutique wine in either style or price!

    Then there’s the exclusivity claim - your chance to taste “wines not otherwise seen in the UK!”.  Wow, lucky you. The reason these wines are not otherwise seen in the UK is that they are specially made, in some cases in Laithwaite’s own winemaking facilities in France and Australia, and labelled solely for Laithwaite’s (and their numerous affiliate clubs). This is very bad for two reasons: the obvious downside is that they can control pricing and make sure price comparison is impossible. (When you do find a wine on their website which is available elsewhere Laithwaite’s look expensive. For example Guigal’s white Cotes de Rhone is £13.99 on their site, but available from the Wine Society at £9.95 or widely available from independents at £11.95).  But, far more serious, if Laithwaite’s are controlling what goes in the bottle, you aren’t necessarily getting a wine with authenticity and local character (god forbid it should be unfiltered and have sediment in it, as that might lead to complaints and refunds): you will be getting a safe, boring bottle for MOR taste.

    Then there are the names and brands. I am all for making wine names accessible and demystifying wine, but is it helpful to have Romanian wines branded Paris Street? Surely someone casually looking at the bottle might just think it was from France - or is that the idea, duh?  Or Spanish wines sold under Lime Leaf, Silver Route and Cherry Orchard?  When it comes to Italy the highly paid branding team at Laithwaite’s must have been giggling as they dreamed up catchy names. Basically they like to add an O to the end of english words - so Laithwaite’s purvey wines called Massivo, Il Bruto and Visionario.  Can anyone take this seriously? Somehow I just can’t see someone with boutique wine aspirations naming their wine Massivo.  Why stop there – may I propose Diluto for a light dry white, and Ruffo for a rustic red?  

    Then there’s the hyperbole. Do their copywriters really believe that the 2013 Orange Grove Chardonnay from Spain at £5.99 is “world class Chardonnay”? Do they get out much?  Do they actually drink wine at all?

    Then there are the introductory discounts - £50 in the case of the brochure I received.  This would enable me to buy a case of wine with free delivery at £4.39 a bottle, with two free glasses thrown in. It’s a great deal by any standards, but if I send that siren coupon in there are consequences. I will get another case 12 weeks later, if I forget to cancel, without that great discount; and I will be subject to warm-calling if I don’t order more, by a huge team of client advisers trained to push particular wines; and if I still don’t order my name will be transferred to another branch of their organisation who will also send me their lists. Finally, if you do give them the feedback they request, then, google-like, their algorithms will ensure you are pushed more and more of the same. Returning that coupon is like signing your palate away to the vinous devil.

    Laithwaite’s is a great business, with thousands of happy customers. I have tasted lots of perfectly good (if often unexciting) wines from them, and they work with plenty of excellent partners – Luis Felipe Edwards in Chile being a good example. But if the gap between the claims made in the “Boutique wines at everyday prices” brochure and the reality of their business can’t be investigated under the Trade Descriptions Act, at least it can be challenged by someone who genuinely does work with small growers.  Just as they have cynically adapted their marketing spiel to make Laithwaite’s look more like Naked Wines, their fast growing challenger - “Together it’s easy” it says on the front of their brochure - so they shamelessly continue to pretend that they are supplying small production wines from artisanal growers. When we started SVS over a decade ago, one customer was kind enough to describe us as the “the new Adnam's”. I took that a compliment, given Simon Loftus’s great ability to seek out interesting wines. I am glad to say no-one has ever called us the new Laithwaite’s. But then I could just be jealous of that £300m turnover….

  • Monday 20th July 2015 11:48am

    IWC Dinner, 16th July 2015

    As promised, more on the IWC dinner where SVS was awarded the Specialist Wine Merchant for Chile award. It was quite an evening. Much as I don't want to bite the hand that awards me, the inner old fart in me had some issues. OK, I can just about cope with the disco lights and the incessant, pounding pop music (does this have to punctuate everything now, from international cricket downwards?). BUT... the dinner. If you are going to charge 200 quid a ticket, and put bottles of trophy or gold medal-winning wines on each table, you must serve decent food. But what did we get? OK, I didn't see the crib sheet, but what I appeared to be served was a roundel of Shippam's meat paste with pickled vegetables; followed by some dark-skinned fish in sweetish teriyaki sauce. So the august organisers of an event celebrating the world's wines managed to come up with one course dominated by vinegar and one by sugar...both well-known wine-destroyers. No red meat,  aaargh....A real shame, as it was in many ways a jolly occasion with some top merchants and producers there. The best dressed group were the Japanese, there in force for sake awards, but I also loved coming across the couple in the photo, winner of the Taiwan Fortified Trophy (yes, there's a big world out there....)

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