When I was pondering a theme for this week’s offer with Mark Cronshaw, operations director of The Wine Company, he sucked his teeth, stared into the distance and came up with a brainwave: why not simply offer The Wine Company’s best-sellers? Wines that have been tried, tested and loved by their customers, but offered with special discounts for Spectator readers only. A fine plan, I said — depending, of course, on the quality of the wines and the generosity of the discounts. Well, I’ve tasted them and they’re an excellent, well-varied bunch, whittled down to six from The Wine Company’s top dozen sellers — a surprisingly tricky task. And MC’s arm was well and truly twisted on the discounts. He took it well, although his eyes did water a bit when it came to the 1er Cru Montagny, which was too good to let go but far too pricey. Mark, to his credit, finally capitulated, muttering darkly as he lopped a full £2.24 off the bottle price. The 2013 Sauvignon de Touraine, Domaine Bellevue (1), is crisp, clean, vibrant and fresh. Patrick Vauvy is the fourth generation of his family to raise grapes in Noyers-sur-Cher and thanks to a long, cool growing season, mineral-rich soils and savvy wine-making, he’s come up with a real charmer that would be a Sancerre if the vineyards were a touch further south-east. £8.75 down from £9.49. Albariño, along with the likes of Viognier and Gruner Veltliner, is one of the white grapes de nos jours and, having thoroughly enjoyed the 2013 Albariño ‘Atlantik’, Bodegas Fillaboa (2), I can quite see why. The vineyards of Bodegas Fillaboa are in northwest Spain, in Rias Baixas, and benefit from long warm days and river-breeze-cooled nights. The thick-skinned Albariño ripens beautifully here and the resulting wine is vivacious and fresh, full of peaches, apples, herbs and wild flowers. Decent Albariño is rarely cheap and Mark Cronshaw has done well to keep this under a tenner. £9.50 down from £10.99. And so to that 2012 Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Chaniots’ (3). Made by the highly regarded Vignerons de Buxy, a collective of growers and winemakers in the Côte Chalonnaise, this is serious white burgundy. The 2012 vintage wasn’t the easiest around here — too much hail and rain — but the good vignerons have pulled it out the bag and come up with a corker. It’s toasty, nutty, brioche-y and honeyed, and there is also peach, lemon and vanilla and a long, hugely satisfying finish. £13.75 down from £15.99. The 2012 Pinot Noir Enco, Anakena (4), is lip-smackingly juicy and gloriously affordable. Produced in the Leyda Valley, in the foothills of the Chilean Andes by South African winemaker Gavin Taylor — who has honed his Pinot-producing craft in South Africa, California and New Zealand — it’s full of ripe bitter-cherry fruit, pepper and spice and is soft and smooth enough to be drunk on its own. £8.75 down from £9.49. A short hop over the Andes, and we come to Mendoza in Argentina and the Valle Escondido or Hidden Valley, home to the 2012 Malbec Reserva, Gouguenheim (5). This is just as fine Malbec should be. Blessed with 300-plus days of sunshine and cool mountain temperatures, it is violet-scented and a glorious deep purple. It bursts in the mouth with dark-berry fruit with hints of vanilla and spice. £9.75 down from £10.99. And finally the 2011 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Château Courac, Laudun (6), a long-standing staple of The Wine Company’s list. Laudun is just five or so miles northwest of Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe and this is definitely built in its image, albeit with a higher proportion of Syrah in the blend than is usual in these parts (about 50 per cent). It’s brambly, plummy and peppery with hints of mocha and tobacco. And it’s astonishingly good value when one considers how much even a half-decent Châteauneuf now goes for. £10.50 down from £11.99. There are three sample cases — one with four of each red, one with four of each white, and our usual one with two of everything. Delivery, as ever, is free.
To view all other offers, visit new.spectator.co.uk/wine-club.