Tom Cannavan, Wine International, July 2005
This Fife-based company has one of the most comprehensive and stylish websites around, and while wines are well represented, the range of whiskies and other fine spirits is a real strength.
Harriet Waugh, Decanter.com - Good Living, Best of the Whites, 13 June 2001
Anapai River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2000 · Very fresh, classic Sauvignon · Lots of ripe, fruity flavours Fresh gooseberry and fleshy pear fruit, both of which come through clean and crisp on the nose. Racy, with high acidity and green fruit palate. Quite viscous fruit weight.
Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Caledonia Magazine, March 2001
'…this lack of a shoulder to cry on when things go wrong, is arguably the internet's biggest failing. Here drinkon.com scores highly and for that reason alone would be a good starting point.'
Computer Active Magazine, Issue 91:9 - 22 August 2001
Buying goods over the internet doesn't stop at books and CDs. This fruity site offers a home-delivery service for a variety of beverages ranging from armagnac and cognac to wine and whisky. All drinks are well categorised allowing you to search the site for some of the most sought-after tastes around.
Bill Clapperton's Wine Notes, Business A.M.Friday 13th July 2001
When Lucy Mitchell dropped off her wines for review, she left two large baskets of strawberries as well.
I should perhaps have sampled them with the very serious Chateau de Rayne Vigneau premier cru Sauternes 1994 at £11.86 a half-bottle. But this beauty I wanted on its own. It is 13.5 alcohol, rich and mollifyingly sweet, with a honeyed-velvety feel and enough acidity to cut through that liquid hedonism. Fridge it until it is Ice Station Zebra cold and sip with Lanark Blue cheese or salty ewe's milk Roquefort. This sweet and sour combo creates lascivious wonders in the mouth.
Tapu Bay Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 1997 (£9.99) is a brilliantly-oaked Kiwi showing intensely rich fruit and is buttery-fat thanks to its time in barrel. It showers the nose with sherbety-lemon and carries a racy acidity and huge finish. Give it grub such as pesto pasta to appreciate it to the full. It's a white and a half at 13.5 pc.
The smell of Sancerre La Perriere (£11.95) hints at Turkish Delight. So it's Sauvignon Blanc all right, Jim, but not as we know it. Rather than oozing rafts of "green" gooseberried southern hemisphere fruit, this delicate number from the Loire has the class of an Old World doyenne. Off dry, it releases different nuances on each sip, one being a tweak of liquorice as it goes over. Valdivieso Cabernet Franc 1998 (£11.31) has a beautifully-scented, sweet nose reminiscent of freshly-picked wild brambles and blackcurrant berries squeezed between the fingers. Slurp, and that's transformed into leather, liquorice and cherry linctus flavours. Gutsy at 13 pc, it will go well with steak or grilled lamb chops. Chateau du Trignon Gigondas (£12.51) comes leaping from the bottle in a cascade of purple fruit that says brambles and spice. The winemaker is one Pascal Roux and using grenache and syrah he's made a dry, peppery Rhone red that will sit extremely well with boeuf bourgignonne or a goulash.
Chateau La Bonnelle Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 1997 (£11.17) is the result, says the drinkon.com list, of "very studious, meticulous winemaking". It's an elegant claret that doesn't bruise the tonsils with huge thumps of tannin. There's a pencil shavings pong about it too, and in the mouth cedarwood and blackcurrants with a hint of cough linctus. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are calling. The strawberries? They were fleshy and wonderfully juicy with a perfume that had me reaching for the pouring cream.
Bill Clapperton, Business A.M. Friday 13th July 2001
It was, on reflection, one of my more idiotic probing questions. What do you do in your spare time, I asked Lucy Mitchell, which, not surprisingly, caused her a moment's reflection? This 32-year-old from St Andrews in Fife has a young family, she is married to one of Scotland's top fruit farmers, and when she is not changing nappies, running the family home and answering daft questions from journalists, she deals with sales and customer services, marketing and PR and even answers the phone for their www.drinkon.com booze company set up last October. Mitchell whirls. She doesn't have spare time. Her children are two and four and, as she puts it, "exactly what I need for running an online wine company. Fits in perfectly," she says, rolling her eyes ceilingwards.
Apart from Mitchell and her 36-year-old husband John, the Drinkon shareholders are Danny Bates, "a former farmer with knowledge of the on-trade", Willie Robertson, who runs Crail airfield as a racing circuit and events venue, and Jeff Shillitto, the web designer who owns Channel 6 Multimedia in Edinburgh. And there is Suzanne on admin, without whom the whole thing would collapse.
"Drinkon.com was John's brainchild initially. We were getting into internet shopping and sort of wondered if we could sell wine online? It started from there. It's just something I got involved in by mistake." So how is the mistake going eight months on? "Really well. We're very encouraged and enjoying ourselves immensely". But in a climate where loads of online companies end up trading under demise.com, has Drinkon got the staying power? "Yes, because we cover a broad range. You have whisky companies, and you have wine companies such as Madaboutwine, but we cross both areas.
We have 1,400 products at our fingertips, including spirits and liqueurs and whatever." The whatever I take to be such delights as 1936 Glen Grant at £1,250 a bottle, and 60-year-old Mortlach, one of only 100, and retailing at a purse-rupturing £7,000. Drinkon will also rustle up a 15-year-old Lindores Abbey malt in wooden box for £34.99 if the fancy takes you, part of a limited bottling marking the significance of Lindores in the annuls of Scotch whisky-making. "The Scottish Exchequer Rolls of 1494 record that Friar John Cor, a Benedictine monk from Lindores in Fife, paid duty on eight bolls of barley to make aqua vitae for King James IV, which is accepted to be the first recorded reference to Scotland's national drink," Mitchell informs me. She sells everything from a single bottle of Maglieri Shiraz to mixed cases of anything, including whisky. Delivery is £5.95 no matter what.
"You have to be flexible", says Lucy. "Not everyone wants a whole case of whisky, for instance." (Drinkon stocks the entire wine list from Waverley Vintners and sources whiskies from Gordon & Macphail of Elgin). "Drinkon's unique selling point is that we have flexibility and most of our wines are not available on the high street. Even though it's mail order via the internet, it's very personal; we try to give maximum customer satisfaction by going the extra mile for them. It's something we are good at."
Even allowing for a dollop of PR-exuberance, Mitchell feels "so many people in bars and restaurants all over the country are drinking Waverley wines and think 'I really like that'. Now they can get them. We deliver within six working days, nationwide. Anyone with internet access or even just a phone (tel: 01334 477333) can use us.
"We've delivered to all sorts of out-of-the-way places, including Dounreay". The mind boggles.
The Drinkon mob are nothing if not realistic. Their fingers are still crossed. "The minute you relax, you start to lost it. But we are encouraged with our customer base and are looking forward to our second Christmas".
Mitchell, "a linguist to trade", studied in France and Austria. It was through that and visiting vineyards while travelling with her husband that their love of the grape grew.
But John is equally passionate about strawberries. "He's one of the leading UK producers," Mitchell tells me. "He supplies supermarkets and we're heading towards a 400-tonne crop.
"I've got a wee plan up my sleeve. I am thinking of doing champagne and strawberries mail order. Twenty-four-hour delivery with the strawbs picked the day they're sent off. "A bottle of Lanson, my favourite, and some of the best strawberries in Scotland. What do you think?" Go for it, I say. It will help to fill your day.
Andrew Murray-Watson, The Scotsman 16 November 2000
A new online drinks company was launched yesterday with the promise that it would offer an exclusive range of spirits unavailable elsewhere. St Andrews based drinkon.com features over 1300 products ranging from cognac to fine champagnes. Managing director, John Mitchell said the site would accommodate the needs of the more discerning drinker. "Drinkon will enable consumers to access an outstanding selection of rare and limited spirits, as well as a broad selection of wines. In particular we will be focusing on speciality whiskies".