This month we feature luxurious wines from France — some well-known, others which deserve to become much better known.
This month we feature luxurious wines from France — some well-known, others which deserve to become much better known. They’re from Yapp Brothers in Wiltshire. The celebrated Robin Yapp, who founded the firm, and his son Jason Yapp, who is now running it, have always taken great delight in fossicking out wines from small vineyards in the Loire and southern France. Their idea of joy is to go off the motorways, off the side roads and onto a dirt track, at the end of which is a gnarled old vigneron who welcomes them with home-cured ham, local cheeses and an amazingly delicious wine.
The Vatans, who make the Sancerre les Perriers 2006 (1), are not so small — they have nine hectares — but the wine is very fine indeed, with a richness to go with the usual grassy notes, plus hints of blackcurrant, elderflowers, and I’d hazard, apricots. The Sancerre people got a terrible shock from New Zealand: this is a measure of how well they’ve responded to the challenge. Reduced from £11.10 to £9.95.
Forget whatever you might think about Chenin Blanc, so often made into thin, weedy fluids, as if a child has spilled water into his sherbet dabs. This Savennières from Château de Chamboureau 2005 (2) is full, plump and utterly delicious. Savennières, in Anjou, was a favourite of Louis XIV and Napoleon, and you can see why: it’s got almonds, minerals, lime, and it will continue to improve for a long time. A gorgeous wine, reduced from £12.95 to £11.75.
Have you heard of the Collioure appellation? Probably not. It’s a tiny area at the southernmost tip of France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This Domaine de la Tour Vieille 2005 (3) is made entirely from very old vines — nearly one third Carignan, the rest Grenache Noir. The yields are very low, the grapes are hand-harvested, and the result is sensational — a great rich, roasted wine, bursting with powerful fruit and with a deep velvety texture. Imagine this with a great loin of beef, or winter casserole. Reduced from £11.95 to £10.75.
The Gigondas from the Domaine Saint Gayan 2004 (4) has been made by the Meffre family since 1400. It is a fantastic Rhône wine, with all the bursting, spicy, plummy flavours you expect, with a heady whiff of perfume too. This is really delicious now, but will go on improving for another ten years. If you have the patience. Cut from £12.25 to £10.95. Delivery, as ever, is free, and there is a sample case too.