Half Bottles of Wine – A Great Way to Explore New Drops
Australians love to drink, but most of us aren’t very adventurous when it comes to our choice of beverage. Most of us will generally drink whatever is put in front of us, but when we’re buying we tend to stick to the same thing.
Many of us won’t buy bubbles or dessert wine, for example, except for special occasions – maybe it’s because the bubbles go flat, or because too much sweetness takes some drinking.
I think we’re missing out, so how can we possibly try more of these wines without waste?
The answer: half bottles! And right here in our very own Eastern Suburbs, you will find that the Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop has a little business going called Half Bottles (www.halfbottles.com.au).
Normally half bottles aren’t great value compared to full bottles. They’re produced in smaller quantities, and retailers also buy them in smaller quantities, so they don’t receive the discounts that they get on full bottles. But Half Bottles specialises in them, so they do get discounts, which means great value for you.
Looking through the sparkling wines on the site while I’m penning this piece, I see Astoria Caresa Prosecco for only $12. And if you want to get adventurous, there’s a Bleasdale sparkling shiraz for $11 – you can count me in!
Want to move into proper Champagnes? No problem. They have piccolos (200ml) starting at $17 and half bottles starting at $25. These are great value, and it means you can open these smaller bottles, enjoy some quality booze, and not have to worry about it going flat.
Let’s move onto dessert wines. Most shops don’t have anywhere near the range that Half Bottles have. A favourite of mine is Joseph “La Magia” (The Magic) for $29.
Still worried about drinking a 375ml dessert wine that will go off in a few days once it’s been opened? No problem, there’s also an extensive range of fortifieds that will be fine for a couple of months after opening – a great thing to keep in mind for the cooler winter months.
There’s a cracking range of reds and whites too. I’m constantly trying to get people to try new styles of wines, but people often baulk at buying a 750ml bottle in case they don’t like it. You’ve got a lot less to lose if you buy a 375ml bottle and there really is some great stuff available: Burgundy, Bordeaux, top shelf Italians and the best from New Zealand and Australia. You’ll find labels like Cullen, Yarra Yering, GAJA and more.
I’ve bought a few cases from Half Bottles now and I recommend trying them out and exploring some new drops. If you want to put on a great Valentine’s Day dinner at home, may I suggest:
• Pol Roger bubbles ($42) with oysters
• William Fevre Montmains Premier Cru Chablis ($35) with garlic prawns
• Mount Difficult Pinot Noir ($31) with duck pancakes
• Chateau D’Arche Sauternes 1998 ($28) with whatever turns you on.
Please note: Prices are by the dozen, straight or mixed, and may change.