Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 19 August

Wine Club 19 August
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Wine merchants Mr Wheeler are in the midst of a vast sale as they amend their list and move on to more recent vintages. I’m delighted to say that we are the lucky beneficiaries, for there are heart-warming discounts on some seriously tasty vino.

There are well over 100 wines in the sale and the following six are my pick of the pops. They are likely to sell out fast, though, so I urge you to fill your boots at the earliest opportunity. If you’d like to see what else is in the sale, visit

First, the extremely toothsome 2015 Terredirai Prosecco Extra Dry (1). If you’ll pardon the pun, the Prosecco bubble shows no sign of bursting and, although there’s a lot of dross out there, the best examples just get better and better. This is a corker which came top of a blind tasting of 50 examples when the team at Mr W were seeking to expand their fizz range. I can quite see why because it’s deliciously soft and creamy, with apple and citrus notes, and a pleasingly dry finish. £9.75 down from £12.

Also from Italy, we have the 2016 Fiano Carlomagno (2). I love Fiano, a grape you don’t see much outside Campania or — as here — Puglia which, as you know, is the heel of Italy centred round Bari, famous for its bizarre dry-stone trulli houses. It’s great quaffing wine, being fresh, lemony, melony with fine acidity and a lingering finish. It’s perfect end-of-summer fare. £7.50 down from £9.

The 2014 Ventisquero ‘Grey’ Single Block Chardonnay (3) from the Casablanca Valley in Chile is much bigger and butcher. I’ve always enjoyed Ventisquero’s wines (their entry level Yali range is excellent value) and their so-called Grey wines (named after Grey Glacier in southern Patagonia) are hugely appealing, focusing on single blocks of vines that best express their grape variety. This 100 per cent Chardonnay is wonderfully sophisticated with restrained tropical fruit, a whisper of vanilla (thanks to ten months in French oak) and a touch of minerality on the finish. Chilean wines remain ridiculously underpriced in the UK, and with Mr Wheeler’s generous discount this is one heck of a bargain. £12  down from £14.50.

And talking of sophistication, the 2015 Domaine Talmard Mâcon Montbellet ‘La Bergerie’ (4) from a family-owned estate in southern Burgundy, has it in spades. Again, it’s 100 per cent Chardonnay — crisp, clean, fresh and pure, with plenty of citrus and just a faint hint of honey — and since it doesn’t see any oak at all, the lusciously ripe fruit is allowed to shine. It’s rounded and smooth, and with four quid lopped off the list price it’s something of a steal. £12.50 down from £16.50.

I happily sank a bottle of the 2014 Gouguenheim Cabernet Sauvignon (5) all on my own last night, alongside a bowl (well, couple of bowls) of my patented beef ’n’ ale stew. I didn’t mean to drink the whole thing, it just disappeared, so wonderfully drinkable is it. And there were no ill-effects today either, thank you. An unblended Cabernet Sauvignon from 1,000 metre-high vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, it’s richly flavoured, peppery and spicy, and remarkably fresh with vibrant cassis notes and little in the way of tannins. £8 down from £10.50.

Finally, the 2011 Comte de Sénéjac (6), the second wine of Château Sénéjac in the Haut-Médoc. A blend of two thirds Merlot and one third Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s aged for ten months in new and old oak, and is soft and mellow with concentrated sweet, ripe, dark fruit and a touch of tobacco and spice on the finish. 2011 was an excellent year in Bordeaux and this certainly repays being decanted or sloshed into a carafe. £14 down from £17.50

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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