Jonathan Ray

March Wine vaults

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We’ve four lovely wines this week that virtually chose themselves, so spot on are they. FromVineyardsDirect are great at this kind of thing — finding little treasures that others have either overlooked or were too slow to grab first. The Prosecco Collalbrigo Brut (1) is a typical example. I’ve come across a lot of lousy Proseccos of late, most of them far too sweet and far too pricey. The whole point of it is that it should be light, easygoing and charming. And inexpensive. Well, this is as good a Prosecco as I can remember and the first I’ve recommended here. Zesty, appley, lemony and exhilaratingly refreshing, it has plenty of body and a crisp, clean, dry finish. A great aperitif, it’s also an essential part of a fine Bellini or Sbagliato. £11.65.

The 2013 Macon-Péronne, Domaine du Bicheron (2) is £10.95 and far cheaper than one might expect at first glance, given the hefty bottle which hints at a far more expensive wine. It’s made from old-vine Chardonnay just to the north of Pouilly-Fuissé and is very lightly honeyed on the nose with lovely supple peach, citrus fruit and a long finish. In short, it’s cracking white burgundy and the sort of value for money upon which FVD built its -reputation.

As for the reds, the 2011 Domaine Virginie Thunevin (3) is made by so-called ‘garagiste’ Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner of the celebrated (and eye-wateringly expensive) Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé — Château de Valandraud. Virginie is Jean-Luc’s daughter and this is her estate although dad remains the winemaker. The wine, made from 40-year-old vines (mainly Merlot), is rich, dark, concentrated, spicy and intense with an exceptional length. It’s impressive, especially at just £12.95.

The 2009 Château des Gravières ‘Gravéa’ (4) is of similarly high quality and was the runaway wine of the night at the recent Spectator wine school’s Bordeaux masterclass hosted by FVD. It also merited a cherished ‘Coup de Coeur’ or ‘love at first sip’ in the 2014 Guide Hachette. I’ve enjoyed this hand-picked, oak-aged, three-parts Merlot to one-part Cabernet blend many times in the last few months. It’s soft, smooth and approachable, redolent of plums, damsons and spicy cedarwood, and I love it. My only reluctance in recomm-ending it is because there’ll be less for me. It’s only £13.95 and comes in chic wooden six-bottle boxes.

There’s a sample case containing three of each bottle and delivery, as ever, is free.

All prices are correct at time of publication, but we may alter prices at any time for any reason.
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Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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