This is our last mini-bar before we start to get ready for Christmas. I have chosen four medium-priced but excellent wines to see you through to the serious festive season. They come from another of our favourite merchants, Tanners of Shrewsbury. One of the attractive features of the wine trade is the way that people who work for different companies usually get on terrifically well. In fact, six of the leading companies co-operate as The Bunch, and together hold a couple of serious tastings in London every year. These are unmissable events, and the most recent is where I tasted some of the wines in this, I hope engaging, offer.
First is a lovely white Burgundy, the Mâcon-Vergisson 2006 (1), which is made by Nadine and Maurice Guerrin. The couple run a small operation, but they turn out a very modern wine: crisp, refreshing, with the faintest hint of honey. You might even imagine this was an Australian Chardonnay, though at £6.95 (normal price £7.40) it costs rather less than a wine of similar quality from Down Under. Strange that the French, who once traded on their famous names to keep prices high, now have to slug it out in the market with the New World. I liked this very much.
And the Pinot Grigio Duetorri 2006 (2) made in Trentino, northern Italy. There is some awful Pinot Grigio about — if you find yourself in an Italian restaurant where the pepper mills are as tall as redwoods, order almost anything else — but this is lovely. Full and fat, yet bone dry, it will go perfectly with fish, chicken, or as an aperitif. Just £7.40 (normal price £7.80).
The Novas Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend 2004 (3) is from Chile, and is typical of the first-rate wines being made there. It is rounded and plump and altogether delicious. It would make a great party wine (or perhaps not; people might enjoy it so much that they drank you out of stocks) or it would go perfectly with autumnal stews and casseroles. A lovely, velvety wine, and Tanners are reducing the price to £6.95 (normally £7.40).
Pic St Loup is one of my favourite wines from the Coteaux de Languedoc. I never stop boring on about the wonderful stuff being made in southern France, and I hope I never need to. This 2004 (4) is from old vines nurtured at Château de Lancyre — one of the leading names in the area — and it’s herby, flinty, full of luscious berries, and altogether wonderful for a mere £7.40 (reduced from £7.90).
Delivery as ever is free, and there is a sample case containing three each of the wines, discounted by 10 per cent.