We start this week with the ever reliable 2015 Corney & Barrow House White (1), largely because if we didn’t I would get angry letters asking why not. I really do wonder why my mother doesn’t just pick up the phone instead. She’s got my number. A blend of 70 per cent Colombard and 30 per cent Ugni Blanc, produced by Producteurs Plaimont in Gascony, this has been Corney & Barrow’s best-selling white for over 20 years and is pretty much the Spectator Wine Club’s too. It’s light, zesty, fresh and uncomplicated; perfect, in fact, for springtime drinking. It’s also a cracking price at £6.63 with the Brett-Smith Indulgence (whereby you get £6 off an unmixed case) or £7.13 without, down from the list price of £7.50.
If you like weight to your whites, then the 2015 Roccastella Pecorino (2) will be spot on. Yes, yes, I know Pecorino is an Italian sheep’s cheese, but it’s also an Italian grape variety. It comes from Offida, a mediaeval town in Le Marche where a group of mischievous local winemakers once got me completely plastered and had me staggering round the town’s Piazza del Popolo trying to count its sides. I was expecting four, as one does, and couldn’t understand in my sorry state why there were only three, so kept re-counting much to general hilarity. Anyway, the vino, which is often described as a red wine dressed up as white, has weight, depth and complexity along with a bracing lemon freshness. £9.48 with the indulgence, £9.98 without, down from £10.50.
The organic/biodynamic 2015 Château La Tour de l’Eveque Rosé (3) from Provence remains one of my absolute favourite pinkers. We’ve offered a previous vintage here before and this incarnation is as good as ever. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah plus dashes of Cab Sauv, Mourvèdre, Sémillon, Rolle and Ugni Blanc, it’s deliciously complex and characterful with wild strawberries, herbs, spice and even a touch of cream on the palate. £10.85 with the indulgence, £11.35 without, down from £11.95.
As with the Blanc, so with the 2015 Corney & Barrow Rouge (4): it’s here again by public (and maternal) demand. Made for Corney & Barrow by the Celliers Jean d’Alibert — a collection of village co--operatives, small domaines and châteaux near Carcassonne in the Languedoc — it’s a soft, juicy and fresh blend of old-vine Carignan, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s blessed with a long finish and a hint of spice. £6.63 a bottle with the indulgence, £7.13 without, down from the list price of £7.50.
The 2015 Intipalka Syrah (5) is what might best be termed a ‘well-I-never’ wine. Made from 100 per cent Syrah, it comes from the sun-drenched Ica Valley (Intipalka means ‘Valley of the Sun’) in Peru. Now, I lap up Chilean wine, Argentinean wine, even Uruguayan wine (if you’ve not had fine Uruguayan Tannat you’re in for a treat), but I’ve never tasted Peruvian wine before. More fool me — this is an eye-opening delight, full of ripe dark fruit, soft tannins, coffee, cocoa and a touch of spice. You’ll love it and you’ll love asking folk to guess where it’s from. £8.95 with the indulgence, £9.45 without, down from £9.95.
Finally, the 2014 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso Cecilia Beretta (6), a glorious red made in the Veneto from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone and Negrara, some of which have been dried prior to a second maceration and fermentation. The wine has a wonderful creamy richness to it and profound notes of wild and sour cherries, blueberries, prunes, even chocolate and — I know it sounds daft — something meaty like beef tea. It’s so soft that I was tempted to drink it down in one sitting. £12.75 with the indulgence, £13.25 without, down from £14.95.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.