Experiments In Drinking: The Wine Society’s Bellini Case

Prosecco cocktails in a box, just in time for Christmas.

As regular readers know, we are beer enthusiasts here at The Reprobate. With so many varieties of style and fanciness, here’s a beer for every occasion, no matter how fancy, and we generally feel no need to venture beyond these days. But we’re also enthusiasts of the cocktail and are certainly open to the joys of the wider alcohol family. Mrs R – no amateur slouch when it comes to beer drinking, we must say – still prefers a glass of prosecco in true ladylike fashion, and I don’t object to this fizzy champagne substitute myself for those moments of celebration. With Christmas coming, even the casual drinker might be considering stocking up on something a bit fancy, and why not? So when the Wine Society – the world’s oldest wine club, don’t you know – announced their Bellini Box, our ears pricked up and we were definitely in the queue to check it out.

The Bellini, for those not in the know, is a prosecco cocktail, named after fancy 15th-century artist Giovanni Bellini. As cocktails go, it’s pretty simple – one-third peach nectar, two-thirds prosecco and away you go. No cocktail shaker required, though a good stir is recommended. It’s the sort of light and fruity cocktail that is hard to beat – no-nonsense, eminently drinkable and deceptively alcoholic. In other words, it’s a modern twist of the classic festive cocktailclassic festive cocktail for people who might not be regular drinkers and want something fancy. That’s not a put-down by any means – there’s a talent in recognising how to make the unusual seem familiar.

The Wine Society’s package comes with a bottle of their own prosecco, though don’t allow snobbery about own-label products put you off – aside from the fact of their long history, the Wine Society obviously know their stuff and are hardly likely to fob customers off with low-rent tat. This comes from the “hilly vineyards of Valdobbiadene” (to quote the website) and is rather fantastic. As Mrs R, who is extremely fussy about what prosecco she drinks, commented, “it’s delicious!” And that’s on its own. The box also contains two mixers from Van Nahmen – white peach nectar and rhubarb nectar. The former is the classic Bellini combo, the latter a modern twist. The white peach is a thick and fruity nectar and makes for a fantastic combination with the prosecco, a sweet and very drinkable cocktail that is perfect for a Christmas morning. But that’s no surprise. The rhubarb is more of a revelation, if only because by and large, rhubarb is not something that I have a taste for unless it is an Eric Sykes comedy film. But this nectar is less intense and the mix creates a light pink drink that is unexpectedly tasty. Unlike the peach, the rhubarb is a more subtle combination, more an added flavour to the prosecco than a new drink like the addition of peach becomes, but it’s seriously delicious.

Packed in a nice presentation box that is all black and red, this collection is an ideal Christmas gift – for yourself, perhaps, rather than some feckless relative. We’re already eyeing up how empty the bottles are with some regret, and have made a mental note to add more Bellini ingredients to the shopping list. You should too.


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