Simon Hoggart

April Spectator Wine Club Offer

I’m just back from the United States where the local wine is ridiculously expensive, apart from the ridiculously cheap, and you wouldn’t want to drink an awful lot of that, since Diet Coke may be more subtle.

I’m just back from the United States where the local wine is ridiculously expensive, apart from the ridiculously cheap, and you wouldn’t want to drink an awful lot of that, since Diet Coke may be more subtle.

I’m just back from the United States where the local wine is ridiculously expensive, apart from the ridiculously cheap, and you wouldn’t want to drink an awful lot of that, since Diet Coke may be more subtle. The best Californian wine is superb, and priced to match. At the huge California tasting in London I tried a Cabernet Sauvignon which I thought first-rate. I asked the price. ‘Around 90 of your British pounds,’ the owner said. ‘That’s astonishing,’ I said. ‘Only £90 a case?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘a bottle.’

All of which is a long way of telling you that all this month’s selections come from France which, in spite of the resurgent euro, still offers excellent value. They have been provided by Simon Wrightson, the admirable and adventurous merchant based in North Yorkshire, from where he makes forays into France looking for interesting, exciting and well-priced wines. All of these fit the bill.

Last year we offered two wines from the Pierre Henri estate. Normally I avoid mass-produced wines because they are made by technological efficiency rather than love and devotion. But these stand out. While the prices are those you might expect to pay in a supermarket, the quality strikes me as significantly higher. For example, the Pierre Henri Chardonnay 2007 (1) costs only £4.95 a bottle yet is ripe, mellow, and has a heady perfume due to the small amount of Viognier added to the mix. A nice spring party wine, good to glug all evening, and strong enough to go with any number of foods.

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