A bumper offer this week from our old chums Yapp Bros. Led by step-brothers Jason Yapp and Tom Ashworth, the much-lauded Wiltshire wine merchant is celebrating its 50th anniversary and corks have been popping for weeks. Indeed, having just returned — more than a little liverish — from a trip to Alsace in their company, I can vouch for the fact that Jason and Tom take their celebrations seriously and I was led badly astray in Colmar. The wicked step-brothers have form in this regard. I’m still haunted by that night in the transvestite nightclub in Avignon and I should have known better. What a naïve fool I am…
Anyway, to the wines. The 2018 Domaine des Oullières ‘Harmonie’ (1) is a delectably fresh, creamy and slightly herbal blend of Grenache Blanc and Vermentino from Provence. The domaine has been in the Ambrosio Collomb family for seven generations and the wines are beautifully crafted, with this one making a very fine aperitif. £11.25 down from £12.25.
The 2018 Gérard Cordier Reuilly (2) comes from one of the lesser-known appellations in the Loire Valley and is cracking value when compared to similar quality Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. Made from 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc, it’s crisp, fresh and bone dry with a firm mineral core. If you like pure, uncomplicated Sauvignon you will love it. £12.75 down from £13.75.
The 2018 Domaine Saparale Rosé (3) is from Corsica and an estate I visited a year or so back with the Yapp boys after they had stumbled upon the wines quite by chance in a local bar when overcome by thirst. Blended from Vermentino, Sciacarello and Nielluccio, it’s a charming pale pink and full of herbs, spice and wild strawberries. Corsican wine is very ‘in’ and this is one of the tastiest examples you’ll find. £16.25 down from £17.25.
Look beyond the goppingly awful painted bottle of 2018 La Ficelle de Saint-Pourcain (4) and glory instead in the joyously drinkable contents. A juicy, jammy, thirst-quenchingly tasty blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir from the Loire, it’s a vin de soif par excellence and perfect for long summer lunches outdoors. £10.15 down from £11.15.
The 2018 F&F Desbourdes ‘l’Arpenty’ Chinon Rouge (5) also hails from the Loire Valley and is as tasty a Cabernet Franc as I’ve had in yonks. It has been a staple of the Yapp list for over 40 years and it’s easy to see why. Enjoy it as I did, lightly chilled, with a simple picnic of onion tart and salad. £13.75 down from £14.75.
The 2016 Pascal Frères Crozes-Hermitage (6) is right up my alley — a full-flavoured, well-priced red Rhône of real quality. Made from 100 per cent Syrah, it’s soft, supple and approachable with inky dark fruit and plenty of blueberry/blackberry notes, a touch of spice and a long finish. I lapped it up. £15.25 down from £16.25.
Finally, simply because I love them so much, we’re also offering a mixed half dozen wines from Léon Beyer, a titan of Alsace winemaking. I adore the wines of Alsace and could drink nothing but for the rest of my days very happily. The Yapp boys and I spent an extremely jolly day with Marc Beyer and I was utterly, completely seduced by his wines. Space precludes a full run-down but trust me: they are truly fine. There’s a frothsome fizz, a classic dry Riesling, a creamy, aromatic Pinot Gris, a rich, spicy but dry Gewürztraminer, a crisp, clean Pinot Blanc and a fruity, earthy, burgundy-rivalling Pinot Noir. There’s not a dud among them.
The Alsace box has one bottle each of these six wines and the mixed case has two bottles of each of the previous wines. Delivery, as ever, is free.