This month’s mini-bar is from the estimable Yapp Bros, who specialise in fossicking out first-rate wines, often from small vineyards, in the Loire and the Rhône. These are subtle and sophisticated bottles — serious wines some might say — which you will not find in supermarkets. Nor offered by those allegedly value firms that sell vast quantities of mediocre booze at knockdown prices. If you see a wine advertised at £4.95 a bottle, reduced from £7.50, believe me you’ll be lucky if it’s even worth £4.95. And Yapp’s have kindly knocked £1 a bottle off every selection which, with free delivery, makes for a handsome saving.
St Pourçain is in the geographical centre of France, but part of the Loire classification. I thought this Cuvée Printanière 2012 (1) was absolutely delicious — smooth, packed with fruit, with the obscure Trésallier grape adding flowery freshness to the Chardonnay. Locals sometimes add a dash of crème de myrtilles — blueberry syrup — but tasty as that must be, I don’t see the need. Would work very well with light meats and fish. £8.50 with the discount.
Only one bottle in 20 made in the Rhône is white, but when they get the white right, they are spot on. Five different grapes go into the luscious Sablet 2012 (2) made by Jean-Pierre Meffre, including Viognier and Roussanne. So for a relatively cheap wine, it has rich layers of complexity which I found deeply satisfying. Again, good with chicken and fish, but would also stand up to red meat and to spicy ethnic food. £11.25.
Now the reds. The Carignan 2012 (3) made by Denis Ferrer and Bruno Ribière in the Pays Catalan is gorgeous. Some of the vines are 135 years old. It’s herby and full of dark fruit flavours — a really superb example of some of the wines now coming out of the south. Delectable now, but will keep for quite a while. Just £11.95 a bottle.
Finally a lighter wine from the Loire. This 2012 ‘L’Arpenty’ Chinon (4) is made from Cabernet Franc, which usually has just a walk-on part in claret, but on its own has a freshness and liveliness which makes it perfect with less heavy foods. It’s a slightly unfamiliar taste, but one you will come to enjoy after the first glug. Try it in the sample case if you’re doubtful. Again, the £1 reduction brings it down to £11.95.
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All prices are correct at time of publication, but we may alter prices at any time for any reason.