Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 18 March

Wine Club 18 March
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I’m going to fess up right from the off and say that, yes, you’re right, we’ve offered two of these wines several times before. But they simply shone in our tasting and refused to be ignored. You loved them last time, dear reader, and these vintages are even better. The other four are crackers, too. So get stuck in.

And I must add that even though FromVineyardsDirect is noted for its rock-bottom prices and tight margins, FVD’s sainted Esme Johnstone is knocking 50p off every bottle as well as keeping prices at pre--Budget levels. Hooray!

So to the 2013 Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Millésimé (1), which we’ve not offered in these pages before even though it’s a regular at Spectator lunches and the Spectator Wine School. I simply love it and drink it with abandon at home. It’s made (using the Champagne method) by the excellent Cave de Lugny near Mâcon in the heart of Burgundy. A blend of top-quality handpicked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it’s aged for 18 months before release and is about as fine a fizz as you can find for under 20 quid. It has depth, weight, character and real panache and the bottle looks pukka too. You will love it. £14.45 down from £14.95.

Esme was desperate for me to try the 2015/16 Finca Tempranal Selección (2), and I can see why — it’s a charmer (on the cusp of a vintage change, incidentally, but I couldn’t tell the difference between them). Made from unblended Airén, the third most widely planted grape variety in the world apparently (nope, nor me), it comes from La Mancha — Don Quixote country — notorious in Franco’s day as the source of all that ghastly cheap Spanish brandy that we used to drink so readily. This might be cheap but it’s anything but ghastly, being fresh, enticing and full of lively tropical fruit. £7.45 down from £7.95.

The 2016 Château Bauduc (3) is the fourth vintage we’ve offered of this zesty yet mellow beauty and it’s easily the best yet. Made from 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc by Gavin and Angela Quinney at their 200-acre estate in the Entre Deux Mers, some 15 miles south east of Bordeaux, it has been the house wine for both Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein for more than 15 years. Esme has to fight them off to claim his allocation. £10.45 down from £10.95.

The 2016 Mas de Cadenet Sainte Victoire Rosé (4) will also be familiar to readers, because this is its third outing in these pages. A delightfully, delicately coloured organic rosé of real style from the foothills of Montagne Sainte-Victoire (as painted by Cézanne) in the Côtes de Provence, it’s a glorious blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah with oodles of weighty wild strawberry fruit, a touch of peppery spice and a long dry finish. £11.45 down from £11.95.

The 2010 Château Mondain (5) is completely new to us — and what a treat to make its acquaintance. A fully mature Merlot--dominant claret from a stellar vintage, it’s remarkable value. It’s full of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, its robust core surrounded by smooth tannins. Don’t be tempted to keep it. Enjoy it now at its best, alongside some new-season spring lamb. £10.45 down from £10.95.

Finally, the 2015 Domaine Les Grands Bois ‘Maximilien’ Cairanne (6), a Côtes du Rhône Villages of brooding depth and intensity and — please don’t let this put you off — one of Robert Parker’s faves. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from the foot of Mont Ventoux, and the 2012 vintage came top in a Decanter Rhône tasting a couple of years ago, despite being the cheapest in the line-up. 2015 was a far finer vintage and this just screams quality. £12.45 down from £12.95.

The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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