Having been the first member of the drinks press to taste Sir Ian Botham’s new wine range, db editor-in-chief, Patrick Schmitt MW, brings you his views on the famous cricketer’s latest venture.
As previously reported by db, all the wines in the launch line-up hail from Australia, and have been arranged into three tiers, with, at the entry-level, the Botham All-Rounder (RRP £8), then The Botham Series (RRP £12) and the Sir Ian Botham Parcels (RRP £30).
Although Botham has selected fruit from right across Australia, including Margaret River at the far west of the country, he has decided to work with just three grapes for his inaugural range: Chardonnay for the whites, and then Shiraz and Cabernet for the reds, all of which are made as varietal wines.
He has promised db that there are more wines to come, including an Argentine Malbec, New Zealand and Australian Pinot Noirs, and a Provençal rosé. Other possibilities include a Marlborough Sauvignon, South African Chardonnay and an English Sparkling.
Despite his high regard for India’s cricketing feats, he told db that he isn’t planning on launching a wine from this country, although he has toured the nation’s Nashik vine-growing region.
The Botham-branded range of wines have all been crafted with Sir Ian’s involvement, be that the components of the blend for the entry-level All-Rounder range, to the choice of winemakers for the top-end Sir Ian Botham selection.
Botham – who is a long-time wine lover – has already been involved in wine-related projects, although always in Australia.
Most notable is his position as part owner of the Botham Merrill Willis label, which saw him and former cricketer Bob Willis joined forces with McLaren Vale winemaker Geoff Merrill as many as 19 years ago.
More recently, he held the position of brand ambassador for Hardy’s wines, itself a sponsor of the English cricket team.
All the wines have been produced in partnership with Benchmark Drinks and can be purchased online here.
For more detail on the wines, including tasting notes and scores, read on…