Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 20 October

Wine Club 20 October
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We’re with Yapp Bros this week and so popular with readers is the Domaine Gaujal, Picpoul de Pinet (1) that we’ve offered three previous vintages of it before, selling out every time. I’m delighted, then, to waft the 2017 under your beaks, for it’s another cracker. As you know, Picpoul is the grape (known locally as ‘lip-stinger’) and Pinet is the place, one of just six communes on the shores of Languedoc-Roussillon’s Bassin de Thau that makes this deliciously invigorating wine. Ludovic Gaujal is an 11th-generation vigneron and has conjured up a wine full of citrus freshness, herbs and nuts and with a long, satisfying, slightly savoury finish. £10.75 down from £11.75.

If, for whatever bonkers reason, I was told I could only ever drink the white wines of one part of France, I would unhesitatingly plump for those of glorious Alsace. The 2016 Léon Beyer ‘Réserve Personelle’ Pinot Blanc (2) comes from one of the oldest producers in the region (there since 1580 for heaven’s sake) and is of textbook quality. With plenty of fresh apple’n’pear-like fruit, hints of honey, spice and an elegant creaminess, its finish is agreeably bone-dry. £12.95 down from £13.95.

The wines of Menetou-Salon in the Loire Valley might not be the well-kept secret they once were but they are still decent value when compared to Sancerre and the 2017 Domaine Jean Teiller, Menetou-Salon (3) is as good as any you will find. Patricia Teiller was a huge hit at her Spectator Winemaker Lunch a couple of years back and it was hard to tell whether readers were more smitten by her or her wines. Made from 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc (certified organic), the wine is deliciously crisp and dry but with buckets of ripe, juicy fruit too. PT spent a year making wine in New Zealand and there’s definitely a slight touch of Marlborough here. I simply love it. £14.95 down from £15.95.

Jason Yapp never tires of playing the ‘I’m just a poor wine merchant’ card and insisting that fancy vino is way beyond him as he struggles to find the wherewithal to put enough gruel on the table for his starving family. When he finds enough loose change down the back of the sofa, Jason insists he drinks wines such as the 2016 Yapp Rhône (4). If so, my heart doesn’t bleed quite so much as it might. Although a vin de table price, it’s a pukka Côtes du Rhône AOC, produced expressly for Yapps to their own Grenache/Syrah blend by a forward-thinking cave co-operative in the Ardèche. It’s soft, smooth, supple and pretty much the perfect fireside red. Assuming Jason can afford the logs. £7.95 down from £8.95.

The 2016 Domaine Les Filles de Septembre ‘Tradition’ (5) from the Côtes de Thongues in the Languedoc-Roussillon is one of Yapps’ bestsellers. A blend of Merlot, Grenache and Carignan, it has surprising complexity for so modestly priced a wine and boasts a disarming freshness along with plenty of delectably ripe and spicy fruit. It’s an ideal party wine and will do nicely when you are besieged by festively thirsty friends and neighbours. £9.90 down from £10.90.

Finally, the 2016 Domaine Girard (6) from the up-and-coming AOC region of Malepère in the west reaches of Languedoc-Roussillon. There are only 16 independent winemakers here, and Domaine Girard is up with the very best. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it has the elegance of Bordeaux and the spice of the south. And if you consider what you might pay for a so-called Petit Chateau claret, it’s an unmitigated bargain. £10.95 down from £11.95

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


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Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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