It is noticeable how the nights are drawing in now, added to which the leaves in our garden are ever so slightly but definitely beginning to turn. Nevertheless, we’ve still got summer drinks on the lawn or by the poolside barbecue in mind with this lovely, typically quirky selection from The Wine Company.
And I’m delighted to say that we’ve managed to extract some pretty generous discounts this week, too, with an average bottle price of just £9.79, down from an average £11.49. Thanks chaps.
We start with the 2012 Reuilly ‘La Raie’, Domaine Claude Lafond (1) a first-rate 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, made by the celebrated local figure Claude Lafond’s daughter, Nathalie.
The wine is supple and rounded and a touch more giving and generous than Sancerre, its better-known neighbour. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper, too. You’ll find all the cut grass, herbal notes and even cat’s pee that you might expect but there is noticeably tropical fruit too and plenty of zesty citrus. It’s classy stuff all right and perfect with barbecue-baked gilt-head bream and fennel. £10.25, down from £11.99.
But if you like your Sauvignons to be even more exuberant and full of lychees, grapefruit, peach and passionfruit, then grab some of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Moa Ridge, Marlborough (2) from New Zealand. This is the Wine Company’s biggest selling white wine of all, and eagle-eyed Speccie readers will remember that we featured the 2011 Moa Ridge Chardonnay some weeks ago, very successfully.
Made from the ‘free run juice’ before the grapes are crushed, the wine has clean-as-a-whistle purity of fruit and a long mineral finish. It’s perfect for glugging on its own and I would be tempted just to keep a bottle in the fridge for whenever the moment strikes. It also makes a great partner to seafood or goat’s cheese salad. £9.50, down from £10.99.
The South African 2010 Maritimus, Sumaridge, Walker Bay (3) is an old favourite that I’ve drunk many times by the water’s edge in Hermanus, not far from the winery itself in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and a dash of spicy, apricotty Viognier with a gentle touch of oak ageing, Maritimus is all about succulence, richness and aromatics. There is quince here, with fig, honey, a touch of vanilla and a slightly salty mineral tang. It has been made especially with seafood in mind and it is nigh-on perfect with a dressed crab or lobster salad. £11.50, down from £13.99.
As for the reds, the 2012 Côtes du Rhône Mas Arnaud (4) has to be the snip of the offer at just £8 a bottle (down from £8.99). A half-and-half blend of Syrah and Grenache with just a hint of Cinsault, it’s about as affable and easygoing a red as you’re likely to come across. Light and refreshing with just a hint of spice in its brambly fruit and barely noticeable tannins, it can bear a bit of gentle chilling and is perfect with thick slices of juicy York ham and a green salad.
The 2013 Wolftrap Red, Boekenhoutskloof, Franschoek (5) is a different beast altogether, full-on, big and bold despite being a similar Rhône-style blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre. With a splosh of (white) Viognier instead of (red) Cinsault, it’s fair bursting with freshness and flavour, with buckets of ripe, dark fruit wrapped up in soft ‘n’ silky tannins. Enjoy with ribs or spicy chicken wings. £8.50, down from £9.99.
Finally, the 2011 Vieilles Vignes, Domaine de la Jasse, Languedoc-Roussillon (6), a gratifyingly grown-up wine for the price (£11, down from £12.99). A Bordeaux-style red (Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of -Merlot), it’s beautifully structured, -albeit pretty robust, with loads of sun-drenched fruit and a spicy, oak-aged backbone. It’s an absolute must with a T-bone and triple-cooked chips.
There’s a sample case containing two bottles of each wine, and as ever, delivery is free to mainland UK.