Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 11 December 2021

Wine Club 11 December 2021
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OK, so this is it folks, the final offer of the year and quite a toothsome one it is. Tom Harrow, the genial wine hound behind Honest Grapes, has a knack of unearthing overlooked gems on his travels, and after a quick flit to Bordeaux, he’s done it again. Not for nothing is Honest Grapes the Drinks Business’s 2020 Fine Wine Retailer of the Year and Decanter magazine’s 2020 Outstanding Wine Retailer of the Year. As I keep saying, your continued happiness is all that we crave and I only want you dealing with the very best.

Anyway, T.H. came back from Bordeaux full of beans, having been tipped the wink by one of his spies about the Siozard twins, David and Laurent, sixth-generation artisan winemakers with 60 hectares of vines over two estates — Ch. du Claouset in Entre-Deux-Mers and Ch. Lapinesse in Barsac — and devoted to producing organic, sustainable wines of high quality and modest price.

These are traditional wines, perfect for Christmas but with enough of a twist to offer — as Tom says — a familiar taste of something new. I hope you enjoy them (and their very reasonable prices) as much as I do.

The 2020 Ch. du Claouset Bordeaux Blanc Sec (1) is a tasty blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Sémillon with

just a splash, too, of Muscadelle. There are hints of cut grass, herbs and citrus on the nose with just a whisper of something tropical, while the wine is crisp, fresh and bone-dry on the palate. It makes a well-priced, undemanding aperitif, a great partner to simple fish dishes or seafood and a unexpectedly successful match for goats cheese. £11.00 down from £12.00.

The 2018 Ch. Lapinesse Graves Blanc Sec (2) is made from 100 per cent Sémillon and only 300 cases were produced. The wine is zesty, refreshing and bone-dry, and far fuller than one might expect from its pale, watery white colour. I’m not usually a fan of dry white Bordeaux but this, with its pleasingly rounded texture, slipped down an absolute treat. £14.40 down from £15.40.

The 2018 Ch. du Claouset Bordeaux Superieur Rouge (3) is made largely from Merlot, aged for 12 months in vat. It’s easy-drinking incarnate, with gentle tannins, soft, juicy, well-balanced dark fruit and a hint of something savoury at the finish. It’s not a wine

to agonise over, but one simply to knock back and enjoy. £11.80 down from £12.80.

The 2019 Ch. Lapinesse Graves Rouge (4) is a blend of 60 per cent Merlot and 40 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon aged in stainless steel for 12 months to retain freshness. It’s surprisingly pale in colour and light in the mouth but has fine, subtle blackberry/blackcurrant fruit that grows and then lingers teasingly long after you swallow. £14.40 down from £15.40.

The 2018 Villa Lucanius (5) is a blend rarely seen in Bordeaux, that of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, half and half. Produced on the clay-limestone soil of Ch. du Claouset, it’s an enticing deep red colour, with soft, elegant, concentrated sweet fruit and a long, powerful, meaty finish. I really like it. £14.40 down from £15.40

Finally, the sumptuously sweet 2018 Ch. Lapinesse Sauternes (6), the perfect foil to foie gras (not that we’re allowed to eat that any more), cheese or pudding. It’s a laborious and costly business making fine sweet wine in Sauternes and Barsac, with the grapes needing to be affected by botrytis or ‘noble rot’ and then harvested one by one. It’s said that in Bordeaux the fruit of one vine makes a bottle, but that in Sauternes the fruit of one vine makes a glass, and so to get a sweet wine of this quality at this price is indeed unexpected. £24.30 down from £25.30.

The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free, with all orders received by 20 December guaranteed for Christmas.

Order today.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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