Recent American research shows, as if we didn’t know, that wine tasting is unreliable and scatter-brained. Wines that taste feeble in the morning can be delicious at night. A wine that wins a gold medal in one tasting might be unranked in the next. There are true stories: the test in which ordinary drinkers were served the same wine twice but were told that the first cost $10 a bottle and the second $50. They greatly preferred the second. Or the tasting in Norfolk at which serious wine experts discussed three decanters of claret, chewing over the year and provenance, before being told that all were from the same Chilean bag in box.
As for the descriptions of wines, don’t get them started. It is always difficult putting flavours into words. I would much prefer to write ‘this is delicious’, or ‘you’ll find this scrummy’, but then I would be drummed out of the Circle of Wine Writers for terminal banality. But all these wines from the estimable Tanners of Shrewsbury are delectable and well worth your money, especially as every one has been discounted by Tanners’ price-setters (who I imagine as Dickensian figures, sitting in the basement with quill pens, cackling gently).
This is a great summer selection, starting with the superb Chilean Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc reserve 2012 (1) from the Central Valley. This has everything — all the crispness of a good Sauvignon but with a smashing, heady perfume too. A great wine for the garden, and reduced by £11 a case to £7.50.
Why don’t people drink more Riesling? The Mud House 2010 (2) — all right, awful name — from the Waipara Valley in New Zealand, is luscious, the precise opposite of those thin, weedy German Rieslings we drank as students. Rounded, mature, silky, yet with the gorgeous aromas of a far more expensive wine. With a £12 per case discount, it is a mere £9.95 — incredible value.
Rosé has truly taken off, even in winter. There are the delicate pinks of Provence, which have many fans, plus the punchier, darker, fuchsia-coloured wines of — in this case — Minervois. The Château -Villerambert-Julien 2012 (3) is a sort of Côtes du Rhône blush, crammed with flavour, yet fabulously refreshing. Again a £12 a case discount, which brings it down to £8.70.
All our reds are, as the Americans say, special. Probably the most astonishing value in this offer is the Amanti del Vino Primitivo 2011 (4) from Puglia, the heel of Italy, which is coming up the wine charts at incredible speed. I took this with several other bottles to a tasting at our local barn dance, and I’m afraid I made sure that the bottle stayed with me the whole time. Others got the occasional grudging glug. Sour cherries over an underlying earthy yet velvety sweetness (sorry). Somehow the Tanners bean-counters have knocked more than £8 off the price to bring it down to an amazing £6.10.
Our next wine is also from Minervois. The Château Sainte Eulalie 2011 (5) would, if it were a claret, cost at least double its £8.10 (£10.20 case discount). Or more. It’s got that same dark undergrowth, soft leather and cedar feel (Circle of Wine Writers: is this OK?) of a fine Bordeaux. Perfect for boozing in quantity.
Finally a red from Margaret River, the great west Australian region which makes many of the country’s finest wines. The Three Amigos (2008) (6) is aptly made from three grapes — Shiraz, Grenache and the more obscure Mataro — and it is lovely. Rich, almost voluptuous, more of a sipping wine than the other reds. A trifle more expensive at £12.30 (a £14.40 case reduction) but you don’t need an awful lot to relish it.
There’s a sample case containing two of each bottle and delivery, as ever, is free.
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 01743 234455