A question I’m often asked is -whether a particular wine is ‘worth it’. The answer, generally, is ‘no’ if the wine costs £3.99 and resembles alcoholic dishwater; ‘yes’ if it costs £19.95 but tastes like nectar and fills you with joy as you sip it. I mention in my book, the second edition of Life’s Too Short to Drink Bad Wine (-Quadrille, £12.99), that Chateau Pétrus, often the most expensive of all Bordeaux wines, is not remotely worth the £9,000 plus you might pay in a restaurant, unless you are a monstrously rich oligarch or a hedge fund manager who needs to show off to his friends, in which case it’s worth every penny. And of course the proposed minimum pricing for alcohol will not have the slightest effect on Pétrus.
The point about the wines in this offer, our last before Christmas, is that they are all worth it and in some cases superb value, not least because Robert Boutflower of Tanners in Shrewsbury has persuaded his bean-counters to reduce all the prices. We have had two recent offers of pricier, luxury wines — these are for gleeful glugging in quantity.
Our first sparkler is from northern Italy, a Prosecco in all but name. It’s the Glera Frizzante (1), made by Fabio Ceschin and it’s just delicious, full of fizz, a lovely crisp apple flavour with a nice rich undertone. Reduced to £7.30, it is frankly incredible value and would be perfect for a party.
Portuguese table wine is getting much attention, and you’ll know why when you try this delicious Terra de Lobos 2011 (2) from the south of the country. It’s made from the local Fernão Pires grape with a dash of Sauvignon Blanc and it is a very classy wine indeed, smooth, packed with flavour — again perfect for party drinking, but delicious with food too. Down to a frankly ridiculous £6.55.
A really decent white Burgundy for under a tenner may sound almost impossible but Tanners have managed it with this Mâcon-Vergisson Les Roche 2011 (3). In some ways this is like a Chablis, the familiar flintiness combined with real fruit. And it will improve for a couple of years too, if you can wait that long. Just £9.80.
Our last white is terrific. The Pfaffenheim Co-operative in Alsace is superbly run, with quality control many co-ops just don’t bother with. The consequence is that they make wines quite as good as those which come from most individual, named vignerons. This is their Pinot Gris 2011 (4) and it will blow you away. It is rich and savoury, with a dash of acidity to provide balance. Your guests will think what a wonderfully generous person you must be. Reduced to £10.25.
Now reds, and back to Portugal for the Tons de Duorum 2010 (5), which is delicious, rich, dark and velvety. A great example of the powerful yet subtle wines being made there. Great for party drinking, but perfect too with winter meals. Down to £7.80.
Rioja is meeting the challenge faced by Douro wines on both sides of the border, and this 2008 Tobelos Crianza (6) is as good as I’ve had lately. It is soft and rounded, a profound wine, with a hint of vanilla, and is frankly good enough to go with Christmas dinner. Believe me, £11.90 is a snip.
We have two sweet wines to add by the bottle. Tanners can fit one into each case that you buy of the other wines. The Moscatel de Setúbal 2009 (7) is a gorgeous, bitter orange flavoured Portuguese rarity. Not so sweet that it cancels out your dessert but luscious. £10 for a 75cl bottle. Or the stunning Oz Margan Botrytis (half) (8), in effect a Sauternes and better than many at a much higher price. £12.
Delivery is free, and there is a sample case containing two each of (1) to (6).
Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to Tanners Wine Merchants, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 11 January 2013.