We should all be firmly back in the saddle by now, with dry January but a ghastly memory. And if there are still any stragglers still toying with glasses of mineral water, I trust this selection courtesy of FromVineyardsDirect will tempt you off your high horse.
Four classic French regions are represented (Burgundy, Provence, the Rhône and Bordeaux) along with an Aussie Chardonnay — (don’t panic; it’s unoaked and restrained) and a Kiwi Pinot Noir (don’t fear; it’s reasonably priced).
The 2016 Pitchfork Chardonnay (1) from Margaret River, Western Australia, is the only Aussie wine that FVD sells and why bother sell others when this is so good? Margaret River, some three hours south of Perth, is beloved of wine bibbers. It might only contribute some 3 per cent of Australia’s total wine production but it accounts for more than 20 per cent of the country’s premium wines. We’re talking quality. And this, from winemaker Michael Kerrigan of Hay Shed Hill, is perfect: steel-fermented, unoaked, crisp, fresh and with plenty of scrumptious tropical fruit and very keenly priced. £11.95 down from £12.95.
And talking of fine Chardonnay, the 2017 Maison Deux-Fleurs, Mâcon-Fuissé ‘Les Bruyères’ (2) was run to ground last year by FVD’s Esme Johnstone, and soon proved its worth by becoming their best-selling white burgundy. Mathieu Paquet is a talented vigneron for sure and this is as good as many a Pouilly-Fuissé (it’s certainly cheaper). Fresh, clean and enticing with beautifully balanced, slightly creamy fresh fruit, it’s extremely moreish. £12.95 down from £13.95.
If Provencal rosé’s your thing, then the 2017 Horizon Rosé (3) is as charming as they come and with a pukka pedigree to boot. The Negrel family have been making wine here for more than 200 years and are generally agreed to be on more than nodding terms with their onions. They will also be familiar to those canny Spectator readers who stocked up on their fine Mas de Cadenet Rosé in previous offers. That pale, pink beauty retails for £12.95, which makes this an utter steal, given that Esme has knocked a full two quid off the RRP, so keen is he to make room for the next vintage. Made from 100 per cent Cinsault, it’s thirst-quenchingly tasty. £7.95 down from £9.95.
The 2015 Clos d’Alzan, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Signargues (4), a single vineyard wine produced by Michel Collomb in Signargues (one of 16 villages in the southern Rhône entitled to Côtes du Rhône Villages status), was a huge hit when we offered it 18 months ago. Little wonder Esme badgered Michel to sell him every last drop that remained. A hearty blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache, it’s ripe, spicy and concentrated and it ain’t short of warming alcohol either. £10.95 down from £11.95.
The 2016 Mount Beautiful Pinot Noir (5) from North Canterbury, New Zealand, is a gem. I trekked along the Hurunui River on horseback years ago and fell in love with the local wines just as I did with the rolling hills and snow-capped mountains. Less well-known than those Pinots from Central Otago, Marlborough or Martinborough, this is gorgeous: soft, smooth and full of ripe, violet-scented, bramble fruit and a long, earthy finish. £15.95 down from £16.95.
Finally, the 2014 Domaine de Saint-Guirons (6) from Pauillac, something of a bargain given it’s from an excellent Bordeaux vintage and is produced by Francois-Xavier Borie, owner of neighbouring Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste. The same team gives the same care to both wines and this blend of 65 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 per cent Merlot and 5 per cent Cabernet Franc is classy and elegant. A great price, too, given its provenance. £23.95 down from £25.95.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.