After three and a quarter centuries in the business, Berry Bros. & Rudd is certainly trad, but it’s also reassuringly innovative. So it is that we have here a classic claret but also a Chardonnay from a part of France that doesn’t grow it, a blended single varietal from Chile (don’t worry, all is explained below) and a wine from Greece which is all but extinct. Best of all, Berrys’ buying director, Mark Pardoe MW, has knocked up to 26 per cent off the list price. Hooray!
The 2013 Domaine de Lansac ‘Les Quatres Reines’ (1) is a deliciously uncomplicated, unblended, unoaked Chardonnay from the tiny region of Les Alpilles in the Languedoc. Night-time picking and low fermentation temperatures allow the fresh fruitiness to shine. I enjoyed its citrus liveliness and its honeyed, faintly spicy finish. The name, incidentally, comes from the fact that the domaine-owning Sabran family boast of four queens in their ancestry. £8.95 down from £11.50.
I’m only just getting to grips with the remarkable renaissance of Greek wines and the 2013 Domaine Lyrarakis ‘Mistirio’ Dafni (2) was completely new to me. But what a treat! The deliciously named Dafni (it means laurel in Greek) is an ancient grape variety unique to Crete, indeed unique to the Lyrarakis family, who effectively brought it back to life. It’s marked by enticing herbal notes, a fine acidity and hints of mint, bay and eucalyptus — it’s a curiosity, all right, but a tasty one. £8.95 down from £10.95.
The 2013 Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc (3) is much more mainstream, a Chilean Sauvignon of real class from the Colchagua Valley. Actually, when I say mainstream, it isn’t, because the winemaking process is a bit bonkers. Coastal fruit from three different vineyard exposures is harvested over a number of days to ensure different levels of ripeness.