Simon Hoggart

Spectator Mini-Bar Offer | 7 April 2007

Prestige Agencies is part of the admirable Playford Ros company in North Yorkshire.

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Prestige Agencies is part of the admirable Playford Ros company in North Yorkshire. They sell some wonderful wines from the world’s boutique vineyards, often made in tiny quantities, all created with the kind of loving attention you just don’t get in supermarket booze. Because the wineries are so small they are rarely well-known, so, like a drug dealer lurking outside the school gates, Andrew Firth has offered Spectator readers some remarkable bargains in the hope of getting you hooked. I think you will be as impressed and delighted as I was.

The two whites come from Foxes Island, which is a dry ridge in the heart of the celebrated Marlborough region of New Zealand. The Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (1) is perhaps less in-your-face than some Kiwi Sauvignons — it has all the bursting ripe flavour we’re familiar with, but it also has a flinty backbone and subtlety which makes it hugely attractive. This is a very sophisticated wine and at a 25 per cent discount, bringing it down to £6.98 a bottle, I don’t think you can pass it up.

Their Riesling 2006 (2) has also been reduced by 25 per cent, and it’s just gorgeous. I love the silky, caressing feel you get with this grape, and the way the heady perfume is exciting even before you’ve started drinking. This would make a fabulous aperitif, but, unlike most German Rieslings, it’s also bone dry, so it will go wonderfully with food, including meats and spicy dishes.

I was bowled over by the reds, and it was almost impossible to make a choice. But the Chateau Coupe Roses, Les Plots 2005 (3) from Minervois was gorgeous. Velvety, with cherries and forest fruits, it opened out deliciously after being decanted, and is a classic example of the wonderful things being done in the Languedoc these days. Almost £2 a bottle discount brings it down to £7.45.

Finally, the stunning Tobiano Pinot Noir 2004 (4) is made in the Casablanca Valley in Chile, by an American, Byron Kosuge, who moved there from the Napa Valley. At the list price of £13.50, it’s a bargain. At £8.88 it is just sensational. Pinot is a very difficult grape to grow, which is why red Burgundy is so expensive, and why Oregon growers can ask £30 a bottle. This is packed with flavour, savour and rich, luscious scents. Astounding value.

Delivery as always is free, and there is a sample case containing three of each wine.

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