Simon Hoggart

December Wine Club | 5 December 2013

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A good wine, as I say in my book Life’s Too Short To Drink Bad Wine (now in a new, revised, nifty-looking edition) is a wine you like drinking. Which sounds obvious, but isn’t; a lot of people seem to suspect that there are objectively ‘good’ wines, and if they haven’t been inducted into that mystery, it demonstrates their ignorance. In fact, if you truly enjoy a £3.99 bottle, you’ll save a lot of money. But it can’t make you oblivious to the delights of something finer.

Take the Beaujolais in this offer. You might drink a Beaujolais Nouveau (now in some of our more outdated bars) and take pleasure in it. But once you have -sampled the Juliénas here, with its ripe fruit, its -evanescent perfume all held together by a gentle undertone of earthiness, you will I think be converted. And since this beauty is discounted, a bottle costs roughly half what you would pay for a greatly inferior, paint-stripper nouveau in a restaurant or pub.

This offer comes from The Wine Company of Colchester. They are slightly pricier than normal, but are to help you celebrate Christmas, and in any case all are -discounted, sometimes by a massive amount. We kick off with a fine 2011 Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc (1), the flagship wine from this grape made at the Highfield estate in -Marlborough. The seesaw between French versions (very dry, flinty, sometimes mouth-puckering) and the NZ style (smoother, fruitier) continues, but I think they’ve got the balance right here. A good food wine, but a nice aperitif too. Reduced by £24 a case to £11.99.

Our Chardonnay is also from New Zealand, where they are making great strides with this grape. The Moa Ridge 2011 (2) is from the Clayvin vineyards, and it has real subtlety — balanced, just oaked enough to add depth without being remotely overwhelming. A very classy wine, at £24 a case off the list price.

Now a serious treat. Few of us can afford Condrieu, the luscious, scented Viognier from the northern Rhône. It’s hard to make, sometimes back-breaking, but worth the often scary prices. This 2012 Viognier made by Yves Cuilleron (3) may only be a vin de pays, but it comes from just outside the appellation and at just £17.25 (£21 a case off list price) it is a terrific bargain. A whiff of greatness.

Next the reds. There is a whopping £36 a case off the 2009 Domaine de la Jasse ‘Black Label’ Tête de Cuvée (4), down to an amazing £11.99 a bottle. We have offered this before to great plaudits, and all I can say is that it is southern France in a bottle, bringing a hot, almost baked feel to match its bursting fruit — just the thing for these long winter nights.

I have described the Juliénas from the 2012 Dme du Clos de Fief (5) made by Michel Tete above, and it really is that good. Beaujolais has been in the doghouse, both in France and overseas, for so long that it seems almost miraculous that the region can produce such a delectable wine. At one year old, it tastes richer and smoother than many that have been matured for ages.  The £21 case reduction brings it down to a bargain £12.25.

Finally we’re back to the New World with this amazing 2010 South African Pinot Noir from Sumaridge at Walker Bay (6), reduced by £48 a case to only £14.99 a bottle. If you’ve seen the film Sideways you’ll have clocked that this is probably the toughest grape of all to grow, yet in the past few years producers in Oregon, South Africa, New Zealand and even Bulgaria are making wines that truly threaten Burgundy, as the Chinese threaten to send the French wines off the price scale.

Delivery is free, and there is a sample case containing two of each wine. Get your order in quickly before the Christmas rush!

Delivery as ever is free, there is a sample case containing two each of the non-house bottles, and don’t forget the Indulgence.

Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to the wine merchant, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed.

View all the wine offers here, or call 020 7549 7900