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July Spectator Wine Club

Simon Hoggart's latest selection for the month of July

9 July 2008

12:00 AM

9 July 2008

12:00 AM

There is something wonderful about this time of year, when fairly often the sun is shining. We make British, mock-rueful remarks to each other: ‘Yesterday was summer, I suppose!’ or ‘Well, if this is global warming, let’s have more!’ Sometimes we even have spells when we find it uncomfortably hot, days when there is no greater imaginable treat than getting home from work, sitting outside and pouring a glass of something cold and delicious.

And there are some delicious wines here from the admirable Adnams of Southwold. I’ve chosen several because they’re perfect for outdoor summer drinking, though I hope you’ll try them all. I’ve also popped in two more powerful wines for when you go inside to eat red meat, having decided you’ve had enough salmon, coronation chicken and potato salad for one year, thank you.

Alastair Marshall at Adnams has given us generous discounts. For example, The Doctor’s Riesling 2006 (1), from the Forrest Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand, is down by £1 a bottle to £7.99. It is perfect for hot days, being heady and full flavoured, yet crisp, dry and below 10 per cent in alcohol, which means you can enjoy binge-drinking without the embarrassment of being pissed. It is a lovely drop, and makes a terrific aperitif.

Australian Chardonnays tend to go up in plateaux — there are the OK ones, at around five or six quid, then you rise sharply to the very good ones, usually around a tenner. Alastair has taken £1.50 off the Juniper Crossing 2005 (2) bringing it down to just £7.99, and it’s terrific. Not surprisingly, it’s from Margaret River in Western Australia, a brilliant wine-making area. This is one of those wines that, when you’ve tried it (perhaps in the sample case) you’ll dash to order some more before it runs out.


Now the perfect party wine. Adnams own brand rosé fizz (3) is made in the Loire from Cabernet Franc. It is soft and bubbly, packed with flavour and refreshingly tangy, so your guests can drink it in quantity. And you can pour it in quantity too, because it’s been reduced by £6 a case to just £6.99 a bottle. A wine to cheer everyone up as they arrive.

Lovers of powerful red wines will adore the Grenache 2005 (4) from the celebrated Aussie wine-maker Tim Gramp. The publicity says that it is ‘intense — with rose petals, a provocative hint of violets, mushrooms and wild berries’. Mushrooms? Hmmm. But everything else is there. This is a wine with whoomph — perfect for barbecues, steaks and lamb. Alastair has taken £18 off every case to bring it down to £7.99 a bottle.

Now two French reds from very distinguished stables. The Haut Médoc de Giscours 2004 (5) is made by the team at Château Giscours, one of the great names in Bordeaux. Not quite as delectable as its big brother, but this is a heck of a lot cheaper and wonderful value. You can drink it now, but it will go on improving for some years, and I doubt if anyone but a real expert would be able to tell the difference between this and claret at twice the price. Down £1 a bottle to £10.99.

Finally a superb wine at a very modest price. Aubert de Villaine is the owner of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which is without doubt the greatest red Burgundy of them all. Good vintages can go for a horrifying £7,000 — per bottle. Those prices are ridiculous, geared for Russian oligarchs who could probably not tell the stuff from Jacob’s Creek, and who sometimes add vodka. M. de Villaine however makes a more modest wine himself in his home village of Bouzeron, and it is fabulous. It’s rare to say that a French wine might be cheaper than its New World equivalent, but this is. A really fine, delicate, velvety Pinot Noir (6) for just £13.99, which is £24 a case off. Perfect for outdoor summer drinking. Buy lots of it.

Delivery as ever is free, and there is a sample case containing two of each wine.

Wine Club Offer Coupon


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