A lovely, summery offer this, with some great wines chosen especially for outdoor drinking; for barbecues, picnics, lazy afternoons and long evenings idling in the garden and for stashing in the Glyndebourne or Garsington hamper.
And just to be fair, the wines — which took an age to whittle down — will also suit perfectly those armchair sportsmen likely to be unavoidably detained indoors by the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Test Matches. Best of all, every bottle, bar the fizz, comes in under a tenner.
And the fizz — Champagne Delamotte Brut NV (1) — really is rather fabulous. Delamotte is one of the oldest of all champagne producers (established 1760) and sister house to the legendary Salon. Widely admired by those in the know, Delamotte really does deserve a wider drinkership. The highest possible quality Chardonnay grapes from Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize make up half the blend and after a minimum three years on the lees, the wine is soft, creamy, honeyed and disarmingly approachable with a delectably fine mousse. You would be hard-pushed to find a better champagne at this price. £26.13 down from £27.50.
The 2011 Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec ‘La Folie de Roi’ (2) is a wonderfully individual white from Producteurs Plaimont in Madiran in Gascony, south-west France. I’ve visited Plaimont and reckon it thoroughly deserves its reputation as one of France’s finest co-operatives.
It’s a big outfit, with six wineries, overseen by 25 winemakers, processing the fruit of a thousand growers, working 5,500 hectares of vines. They make excellent, terroir-driven wines, though, at drinker-friendly prices, and this example is no exception. Blended from Arrufiac, Petit Courbu and Gros and Petit Manseng, it’s ideal for the Anything But Chardonnay fraternity, being peachy, citrusy, rounded and creamy. Gorgeous on its own and delicious with little goat’s cheese tartlets. £9.45 down from £9.95.
The 2013 Masseria Bianca Fiano (3) from Salento in the very heel of Italy is Corney & Barrow’s wine of the moment and, according to James Franklin, a huge hit with their customers. I can quite see why, for it is light and delicate with a beguiling aroma of honeysuckle and plenty of succulent stone-fruit and almond flavours. It is great as an aperitif, almost thirst-quenching in its lightness, and goes especially well with grilled king prawns or a steaming bowl of seafood pasta. £8.50 down from £8.95.
The 2012 La Muse de Cabestany Pinot Noir, IGP Pays d’Oc (4) is something of a curiosity, a Pinot Noir from the heart of Minervois in the Languedoc, a region better known for its spicy, full-throttle Carignan-based reds. This is charming, though, elegant and soft and perfect served slightly chilled with grilled tuna steaks or late-night rare roast beef sandwiches in front of England vs Italy on TV. £8.50 down from £8.95.
The wines of Sicily are currently better than ever and the 2012 Il Barroccio Rosso Terre Siciliane (5), made from unblended Nero d’Avola, is a little firecracker. Velvety smooth yet vibrantly juicy, it has buckets of dark berry fruit and if there’s a better, similarly priced, partner for barbecued butchers’ sausages, pray lead me to it. £7.13 down from £7.50.
Burgundy legend Olivier Leflaive needs no introduction and his 2010 Bourgogne Rosé, Cuvée Margoton (6) is, as one would expect, absolutely first rate. Made exclusively for Corney’s, it’s 100 per cent Pinot Noir and full of real character, helped by a welcome (and rather untypical for a rosé) touch of bottle age. Elegant enough to be quaffed on its own, it’s even better with dishes such as barbecued chicken or Mediterranean couscous salad. It’s also very generously discounted at £9.45 down from £10.95.
Finally, I’m happy to report that the Hoggart-negotiated Brett Smith Indulgence is still firmly in place. This means that £6 is lopped off each case when you order two cases or more (a six-pack of Delamotte Champagne counting as a case in this instance). Delivery, as ever, is free for mainland UK.
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