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October Mini-bar

27 October 2012

5:39 PM

27 October 2012

5:39 PM

Four delicious wines from the estimable Private Cellar. Three are from France, and one from Italy. A mixed case would, I think, cover all your drinking needs for quite a few days.

The Italian is a Soave. That’s Italian for ‘suave’, but much of the wine sold under that name is less boulevardier than chav. It comes from vast co-operatives, where the growers bring in truckloads of grapes which go into hoppers, and most is made with less care than a cup of motorway tea. By contrast, the 2011 Soave Gregoris, made by Antonio Fattori (1), is a delectable, golden, peach-and-apricot wine, bottled nectar. It could not be more different from the generic Soave sold in dreary Italian restaurants. (Often, in the provinces, people say, ‘We have an Italian restaurant every bit as good as anything in London!’ It rarely is, though the prices tend to be as high, and you can tell it’s a wrong ’un if their Soave doesn’t bear the winemaker’s name.) This beauty costs just £8.95.

I love white Burgundy, but like most people am startled by the prices. It’s catching on in the Far East too, and that means prices could shoot up any time. Which makes Thierry Matrot’s 2010 Chardonnay (2) from Meursault even better value. A fine Burgundy has an almost evanescent perfume to go with all the butter, vanilla and smoky flavours, and this certainly does. If it cost £20 or more I wouldn’t be surprised. At £13.95, it is quite a bargain.

Beaujolais took a hammering when people got disillusioned with the marketing scam called Beaujolais Nouveau. The growers learned they could sell vast quantities of almost undrinkable rubbish, not realising they were blackening the name of the entire region. Slowly and painfully, its reputation is coming back, thanks to careful growers such as Laurent Savoye, whose Beaujolais Villages Elégance 2011 (3) is made from old Gamay vines. Powerful, velvety, and with a hint of peppery spices, it is a Beaujolais from long ago: the opposite of those nouveaux you might use to unblock a drain. Only £9.95.

Finally, a smashing claret, and there aren’t many about at a reasonable price. This Ch. St Nicolas 2008 (4), from the Côtes de -Bordeaux, is made by a woman, Chantal Larnaudie, who used to be a lawyer, but who like many amateurs brought a fresh eye and palate to a traditional wine. Smooth and scrumptious now, it will continue to improve: £12.50.

If you buy any two cases you can knock £15 off your order, buy three cases or more and knock £20 off your order.

Delivery is free, and there is a sample case containing three of each bottle.

Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to Private Cellar Ltd, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 30 November 2012.

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