Review: Cricketer Phil Tufnell's Tuffer's Tipple wines - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Former English cricketer Phil Tufnell, or Tuffers as he is also known, has launched his own range of six wines in conjunction with Virgin Wines. The three whites and three reds range in price from £11.99 to £18.99 and can be bought singularly, in cases of 12, or as mixed cases direct from Virgin Wines.

tufferstippleenglishbacchusThe whites consist of two Sauvignon Blancs, one from the Cotes de Gascogne region in France and the other from the the cool climate region of Margaret River in Western Australia, plus an English Bacchus made at New Hall vineyards in Essex. All have the  flavour of gooseberry as their main characteristic but it's fun to taste them all side by side to reveal the differences too: the Cotes de Gascogne is the easiest to quaff with added melon flavours, the Margaret River version gets a bit tropical with peach while the English 'Sauvignon Blanc' is all about sharp lime flavours.

Phil Tufnell particularly likes the Bacchus and matches it to "spicy, Thai food, and it went well with that. Very moreish". He carries on in his interview for the FoodFM A View from the Vineyard podcast with Charlotte Kristensen, that he "found it a great honour to have my own range of wines."

Cricketers wines

Cricket and wine has a long history with many past and present international cricketers having their own ranges. The English cricket team features prominently with Sir Ian Botham (his own range plus jointly with English Hush Heath vineyards making a rosé and a sparkling and earlier with the BMW range with former captain Bob Merrill), fast bowler Jimmy Anderson has his French The Numbers Collection (red, white and rosé), Graham Gooch has his Three Thirty Three collection (a white Viognier, a red Shiraz and a pale rosé), cricketer and commentator David Gower launched My Perfect 6 in 2016 (lengendary commentator Henry Blofeld also had two wines), while Stuart Broad became ambassador for Australian wine brand Hardys in 2015 and Darren Gough has linked up with animal charity Care for Wild with their range of wines. Some ex-cricketers even have their own wine shops - Bradmans in Duffield, Derbyshire is run be ex-county and English cricketer John Morris while Quaff in Hove is run by ex-Sussex play Toby Peirce. You'll also find plenty of pubs called The Cricketers but Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney actually own one - The Tap and Run. I am also reliably informed that David East, former Essex wicketkeeper, works at the Colchester branch of Majestic. And let's not forget the Australians and Ricky Ponting with Ponting Wines plus South African Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher and The Innings range launched in 2012.

Tuffer's Reds

tufferstippleshirazPhil Tufnell has quite a bit of catching up to do in the wine world. But the addition of three reds to the range - a Spanish Tempranillo, an Australian Shiraz and a French blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvedre known as a 'GSM' - add a layer of sophistication. Try finding the spicy flavours in all three - the Shiraz has black pepper which is also found in the GSM, while the Tempranillo has softer cinnamon.

But where did Tuffers love of wine come from? It's all down to holidays in the south of France plus his parents' retirement to Spain which brought new foods and wines to try. His cricket tours of Australia ("on our days off we always found ourselves at a winery" he tells A View from the Vineyard podcast) were formative along with a visit to a winery in the Barossa Valley where he tasted a wine from the year of his birth (1966) - "it tasted a bit like Sticky Toffee Pudding" he recalls.

Tuffers views on wine can be summed up in one overarching philosophy: "Keep your options open. Try different wines, different smells, different tastes.You might surprise yourself and change the way you think about wine."

 

Phil Tufnell's interview with Charlotte Kristensen for FoodFM can be found here.

Tuffer's Tipple range at Virgin Wines with all purchase options can found here.

Wineuncorked.co.uk review of Tuffer's Tipple wines

Tuffer’s Tipple Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2021

£18.99 Virgin Wines, or 12 bottle case £125.88 (equivalent to £10.49 each), or part of the 12 bottle White Showcase containing the 3 white wines in the range at £149.88 (equivalent to £12.49 each)

three stars

 

A nice Aussie Sauvignon Blanc from the cool climate region of Margaret River in Western Australia. Gooseberry, apple, peach and elderflower – a nice set of flavours. But why is it almost £20? Rather expensive.

 

Tuffer’s Tipple English Bacchus 2020

£15.99 Virgin Wines, or 12 bottle case £191.88 (equivalent to same £15.99 each)

three stars

 

English Bacchus is often touted as the English version of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with similar gooseberry flavours. Well this wine has that plus bags of lime flavours too – if you remember the green one in a packet of Opal Fruits (later known as Starburst) or Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial then you’ll get the flavour. But there is a sweet orange and lemon tinge to slightly balance things. As it’s an English wine then expect sharp flavours.

 

Tuffer’s Tipple Sauvignon Blanc 2020

£11.99 Virgin Wines, or 12 bottle case £125.88 (equivalent to £10.49 each)

three stars

 

The French region of Cotes de Gascogne provides plenty of examples of quaffable fruity Sauvignon Blancs – the French hypermarkets near the Channel ports are stocked with great value 3-litre winebox versions of this wine and media personalities like to choose it for their ranges too. Singer Kylie Minogue’s version at £9 from Morrisons is £3 cheaper and similar style with lemon freshness plus apple and melon fruitiness. But then her version only has her signature on the bottle label while Tuffer’s (or should that be Tuffers’? Even sellers Virgin Wines isn’t sure) version has stylised pictures of the cricketer on the label. The choice is yours.

 

Tuffer’s Tipple Margaret River Shiraz 2019

£18.99 Virgin Wines, or 12 bottle case £149.88 (equivalent to £12.49 each)

three stars

 

The best of the six wines in the range, this Australian Shiraz is complex with fruits, flowers and spice. But it is expensive – even for a branded wine backed by a famous personality. Plums and cherries on the aroma have the added sweetness of Szechuan pepper – there’s even some violets too. The taste is easy to get into with up front milk chocolate then redcurrant sharpness. A nice example from the cool climate region of Margaret River in Western Australia.

 

Tuffer’s Tipple GSM 2020

£12.99 Virgin Wines or 12 bottle case £125.88 (equivalent to £10.49 each)

three stars

 

GSM stands for Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvedre – the three red grape varieties that make up this blend and famous as the type of wine from the French Cote du Rhone, in particular Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But this wine comes from slightly further south in the large Pays D’Oc region from where many great tasting, but ultimately cheaper wines, originate. The Shiraz adds spicy cinnamon and blackcurrant flavours, the Grenache adds plum and violet perfume while the Mouvedre adds a hearty Marmite-tasting backbone. There was a touch of rubber on the aroma (associated with too much preservative added, also called ‘bottle stink’) which didn’t go away even with the usual trick of decanting the wine into a jug. Still very drinkable even so.

 

Tuffer’s Tipple Tempranillo 2020

£12.99 Virgin Wines, or 12 bottle case £125.88 (equivalent to £10.49 each), or part of the 12 bottle Mixed Showcase containing all 6 wines in the range at £131.88 (equivalent to £10.99 each)

three stars

 

This easy to like Spanish Tempranillo is a red wine for any occasion – whether that’s quaffing while watching tele or matching to your favourite pizza or paella. Plums, redcurrants, spicy cinnamon and chocolate raisins – this wine tastes like spicy Christmas cookies dipped in jam.

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