Jonathan Ray Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 2 September

So, that’s it then. Summer, I mean. It pushed off without ever having really arrived. There were some bizarrely scorching days in between the chill and the showers, it’s true, but I’ve barely worn my shorts, haven’t swum in the sea, only managed one day at the cricket and the lawn outside is as green as I’ve ever seen it at this time of year. Sigh.

These wines have been selected by with autumn in mind, albeit with the vain hope of an Indian summer. If it’s hot, chill the Languedoc Pinot Noir; if it ain’t, then relish its earthy autumnal qualities at room temp.

To the vino. I have always loved the white wines of the Rhône. They produce so little of them, they’re as quirky as anything and they’re ideal for those bored with the ubiquity of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2015 Domaine Les Grands Bois ‘Le Viognier’ (1), a white AOC Côtes du Rhône, is a joy. Robert Parker gave it 90 points, declaring it ‘maybe the finest value in Viognier I have ever tasted’. Although I don’t always agree with Uncle Bob, he’s spot on here. Made from a lot of Viognier and a little Grenache Blanc, it’s apricotty, peachy, creamy and floral with surprisingly fine acidity (which Viognier all too often lacks). It’s delicious. £10.45 down from £10.95.

The 2015 Clarendelle Bordeaux Blanc (2) is a dry white Bordeaux of quite some pedigree. A Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend with a tiny splash of Muscadelle, it’s made by the winemaking team of Château Haut-Brion no less, using fruit not only from CHB’s vineyards but also those of Château La Mission Haut-Brion. It has fabulous ripe fruit, great structure and remarkable (for the price) style.

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