Corney & Barrow are proud to have the royal warrant, meaning that they provide the Palace with some of the greatest — and necessarily most expensive — wines from around the world. I am pleased to say that they also hold my own warrant, for providing exceptional wines at -surprisingly modest prices. For instance, this month’s offer is the perfect summer package, fine wines for the season, at a sum almost everyone can afford. As usual prices are reduced by 5 per cent from the list, and there is also the Brett-Smith Indulgence, whereby Corney & Barrow’s boss, Adam -Brett-Smith, offers an extra £6 a case -reduction if you buy three cases or more, or just two cases if delivery is inside the M25.
So as to encourage people to trigger the Indulgence, we traditionally offer two of Corney & Barrow’s excellent house wines, which come from southern France, home, as regular readers know, of some of the best value of all French wines. The white (2) is from Gascony, and is crisp, lemony, full-bodied. The red (6) is a Merlot from Languedoc-Roussillon, and is soft, velvety, and packed with flavour.
Now the main offer. We kick off with a truly dry Prosecco from Sylvoz (1) (£11.35) which has real whoomph. Prosecco can be a little on the flabby side, a feeble fluid with a few bubbles in there somewhere. Not this; an absolutely perfect, juicy kick-start to your summer party or lunch in the garden. You could add cassis or peach pulp, but frankly there’s no need.
Now a popular still white which we’ve offered before to much acclaim. The La Combe de Grinou 2012 (3) (£8.08) is from Bergerac but it is basically a white Bordeaux, a lovely 50-50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The Sauvignon gives it a flinty, grassy flavour, smoothed by the richness of the Sémillon. A smashing, robust, almost perfumed wine that would go perfectly with a picnic.
Here’s a wine to offer to the ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ brigade, who often don’t know that the grape produces without doubt the finest white wines in the world, and have been put off over the years by cheap, over-oaked bottles. But I tried this 2011 Bin 12 Chardonnay from Cranswick Smith in South Australia (4), and it was an instant hit with a couple of ABCs. It has an excellent and supple flavour, with just a faint hint of oak, and a nice creamy mouth feel, and is remarkably stylish for the money. £8.31.
Rosé continues to be wondrously popular, perfect for outdoor and barbecue drinking. This Eradus 2011 from Gisborne in New Zealand (5) (£11.35) is one of the darker, fuller-flavoured pinks, being made entirely from Merlot, so it’s a kind of chilled and refreshing Pomerol. I jotted ‘strawberries and cream’ and ‘summer pudding in a bottle’. A little bit pricier than some rosés, but worth every penny.
Portuguese table wine is storming back now, unsurprisingly since it offers delectable wine at remarkable prices. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Quinta de Chocapalha (7) is already mature, deep, with warm, round, even profound flavours. At £9.45, a snip for people who can’t afford claret at twice the price.
Now a red from the Loire, and ideal for alfresco drinking in the sun because you can cool it in the fridge — maybe an hour, perhaps half an hour. The St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Les Graviers, 2012 (8) (£12.30) is made from Cabernet Franc, a grape that makes a guest appearance in Bordeaux, but comes superbly into its own here. There’s a pleasant slatey undertone to the wine, and the delicate touch of raspberry is delightful. And after three years it is drinking perfectly.
Delivery is free, and there is a sample case containing two bottles each of all the selections except the house wines.
Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to the wine merchant, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 31 May 2013.
Click here to take advantage of this offer (subject to closing date)