The following wines from Private Cellar are all about summer, chosen with long lunches on the lawn, picnics by the river and crafty evening drinks in mind. I reckon they hit just the right note. And because I’m so wretchedly indecisive I’ve snuck a seventh wine in too.
First, the 2015 Finca Salazar Sauvignon Blanc (1) from the family-owned Bodegas Pinuaga in Castilla La Mancha, Spain. Aged over the lees for several months, it’s fresh, vibrant and juicy with tropical melon, papaya and citrus. And it’s organic to boot. Only 1,600 cases were produced and Private Cellar snapped up as much as they could with The Spectator especially in mind. Indeed, these pages are currently the only place in the UK where you can buy it (and its sister red below). £7.95 down from a list price of £8.95.
We offered a previous vintage of the 2015 Les Rafelières Sauvignon Blanc, from Sauvion (2), last year and it went down a treat. It’s Private Cellar’s bestselling wine by miles, comes from the Val de Loire (in a reassuringly weighty bottle that belies its modest price) and is as close to a Sancerre as it can be without actually being one. Full of cut grass, nettles and grapefruit, it’s classic Sauvignon Blanc and a steal at £7.95 down from £8.20.
If Chardonnay is your thing, though, we’ve a cracker: the 2012 Bourgogne Blanc, Domaine Matrot (3). And just as the previous wine is a Sancerre in all but name, so this is as near as dammit a mighty Meursault. Hand-picked fruit grown just metres outside that treasured appellation is oak-fermented with indigenous yeasts. Eleven months on the lees, bâtonnage and malolactic fermentation have left it richly flavoured with biscuity, buttery notes and a keen citrus acidity. It’s marvellously enticing and sophisticated and has everything I like about fine white burgundy. £14.99 down from £15.99.
The 2015 Finca Salazar Tempranillo (4) made from 20-to-40-year-old vines planted 800 metres above sea level in Toledo, is easy drinking incarnate. I tried it lightly chilled and loved the purity of the 100 per cent organic Tempranillo, all juiciness, ripeness and freshness. It’s not complex but then it isn’t meant to be; it’s just incredibly drinkable. £7.95 down from £8.95.
There’s nothing not to like about the 2012 ‘Renaissance’ Cave St Verny (5). Readers loved the previous vintage when we offered it a couple of years ago and this is well up to snuff. A half-and-half blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir from the Côte d’Auvergne, it’s upfront, juicy and jammy (that’s Gamay for you) but with a welcome earthiness (that’s Pinot) too. Again, it can stand a bit of chilling and is perfect picnic fare. £9.50 down from £10.25.
The 2012 Chinon, Le Logis de la Bouch-ardière (6) from Serge and Bruno Sourdais, sixth-generation winemakers in the heart of the Loire Valley, is another red that cries out for a sun-dappled table groaning with platters of fine charcuterie and warm French baguettes. Made from 100 per cent Cabernet Franc, it’s full of cherries and blackcurrants with a fine mineral core and decent acidity. £9.99 down from £11.50.
And finally, that seventh wine, the 2011 Bishops Head Pinot Noir (7) from Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, New Zealand. I had to bung it in (albeit not in the mixed case) because I absolutely love it and it’s a great price. Private Cellar have only a few cases of it left as they move on to the next vintage. It’s soft and supple with satin-smooth tannins and plenty of spicy bitter cherry and fresh strawberry flavours. There’s something vegetal and savoury in the mix, too, and it’s a glorious example of New World Pinot made by — and for — lovers of fine red burgundy. Chill it just a touch and enjoy throughout the summer. £16.50 down from £18.79.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine (except the Bishops Head) and delivery, as ever, is free.