An offer from Corney & Barrow, with their amazing range of wines and wonderfully efficient service, is always welcome. Corney & Barrow specialise in some of the finest wines available to humanity (© Withnail and I) — think Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Pétrus — but here I have made a selection of medium-priced bottles which demonstrate the company’s ability to sniff out excellent wines at agreeable prices. Adam Brett-Smith has again knocked 5 per cent off list prices, as well as offering his celebrated Indulgence, by which you get an extra £6 per case reduction if you buy three or more cases, or just two cases inside the M25.
To encourage you to qualify, we invariably offer Corney & Barrow’s excellent house wines, red and white, which are moderate in cost but packed with toothsome goodness. The house red (5) is smooth, velvety and satisfying. The white (2) is vivid and lemony. Both are perfect for daily drinking, as a pick-me-up on return from work, or just to sluice down a hearty meal. At £6.42 a bottle, you can afford plenty.
Our sparkling wine is one we have offered before, but to such acclaim that we had to produce it again, like a conjuror producing yet another rabbit from the same hat. Last year I suggested the Corney & Barrow Blanc de Blancs NV (1) to a friend who was getting married. She was amazed by the price and ordered enough to keep the feast going for several very merry hours. Most guests assumed that, with its delicious deep, biscuity, brioche flavour, it was champagne. Little did they know it cost less than half the price — £10.93 — even less with the Indulgence.
Sauvignon Blanc continues to please readers. The battle between New Zealand and the Loire rages on, but elsewhere — southern France, South America — others are getting in on the action. This 2012 Rosario (3) is specially blended for Corney & Barrow, and it combines the ripe fruitiness of the New World with some of the flint you expect from northern France. Excellent stuff. £6.89 per bottle, pre-Indulgence.
This next, Fiano Masseria Bianca 2010 (4), is an extraordinary white wine, subtle, unctuous, full of tropical fruit, ideal with food. Fiano is an unusual but delicious Italian grape from Salento, which is on Italy’s stiletto heel. The blistering heat combines with cool sea breezes at night to produce a wine that I can only call gracious. Very good value at £7.84.
Now the reds. Also from Italy is Il Carretto 2010 (6), from Puglia, which is turning into one of the most interesting of all European regions. Again, you benefit from the joint work by the sun and the wind off the sea. This is made from Primitivo and Sangiovese grapes, which means that it could easily be confused with a far pricier Tuscan wine – damsons, sour cherries, all creating sunshine in a bottle, and heaven knows we’ve needed that. Just £6.41.
The Domaine de Saissac (7) is one of Corney & Barrow’s runaway successes, a great favourite with their own staff. It’s a vin de pays from the south, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, so it closely resembles a claret, but at a fraction of the price for this quality. I sometimes say a wine is ‘-plumptious’, and this is, being fat, savoury and rich. At £7.36 you really can’t go wrong.
They’re asking the same price for the lovely Chamuyo Malbec 2011 from Mendoza (8). At the top end, huge prices are being asked for Argentine Malbecs; the lower end offers meaty and rich wines, sodden with flavour, ideal for beef, venison and other winter dishes. Yum.
Delivery is free, and there is a sample case containing two of each wine. Don’t forget the Indulgence!Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to Corney & Barrow, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 19 October 2012.