I was lucky enough to attend the 650th anniversary dinner for the Vintners’ Company last month. Some of the greatest winemakers in the world (Edouard Moueix, Aubert de Villaine of Romanée-Conti, Patrice Noyelle of Pol Roger — wow!), the most distinguished merchants, the most feted wine writers. As the silly phrase has it, I felt proud and humbled to be there. And as Jancis Robinson said, the wines we drank were far, far better than they would have been back in 1363. It’s a guess, but I suspect none of the stuff imported then would have made it into a modern supermarket, including their two for £3.99 range. Even over the past decade, standards have shot up.
Take this offer from Private Cellar, where Laura Taylor and Amanda Skinner have cut prices sharply, partly to introduce you to new wines, partly to clear stock. The luscious 2008 Bishop’s Head Riesling, £9.25 from Waipara, New Zealand (1), is reduced by £46 a case, to make way for the new vintage. This has a fullness, a roundness, a plumpness which sits beautifully with the heady and spritzy smack of Riesling. Frankly, I would drink it up this summer — it may start to go over the hill later — but what pleasure it will bring you!
Now the Château de Sours classic rosé, the wine that started the great rosé boom. The 2012 (2) is as full and ripe as ever. You don’t need any introduction, and the £13.50 case discount will be more encouragement.
Two very special reds: the Sopiensklip 2008 (3) from Springfontein is a quite remarkable wine, proof again of the huge advances made in South Africa. It’s a blend of five different grapes, and is a wine to go with roasts, casseroles, barbecues, or to be sipped on its own because the flavours are so powerful and delicious. A £13 case reduction brings the price down to a terrific £8.95.
Claret lovers will be very happy with the Ch. Barreyre 2006 (4). A £14 case reduction brings it down to just £10.45, which at a time when the Bordelais are still trying to squeeze whopping profits out of so-so wines (some British merchants are flatly refusing to sell overpriced Left Bank 2012s) is terrific value. Basically it’s a Merlot, with all the leather and spice you might wish for, plus the smoothness from seven years’ maturing.
Delivery is free, as ever, and there is a sample case containing three of each wine.
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.
View all the wine offers here, or call 01748 832666