Jonathan Ray Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 22 July

Esme Johnstone at is the past master at digging out little parcels of top quality, fully mature vino from fine French estates and I’m delighted to report that his touch has not deserted him. Along with a brace of tip top whites and a rosé, we’ve a trio of really tasty (and tastily priced) clarets, each one so delectable they’re just begging to be drunk.

First, the 2016 Domaine du Bicheron, Macon-Péronne Vieilles Vignes (1), an old favourite that I remember we offered a couple of years back in a previous vintage to the delight of Spectator readers. This vintage is even better. Made from old vine Chardonnay in the Mâconnais, this is beautifully structured and everything quality white burgundy should be. It’s soft, supple, creamy and buttery, with oodles of ripe, juicy fruit; think white peaches and pears with a touch of citrus. Nice price too. £11.95 down from £12.95.

If you fancy a Sauvignon Blanc of similar style and quality to the above Chardonnay, there’s the 2016 Reuilly, Domaine Mabillot (2). It’s the absolute antithesis of the lean, austere, mineral Sauvignons that one can find among the wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, and which many folk indeed love. No, this has abundant weight and ripeness and, although it has that typical Loire Sauvignon grassiness and even flintiness, there’s a hint of tropical fruit too and succulence. I’d say it was a Sauvignon Blanc for Chardonnay lovers and utterly delicious. £12.95 down from £13.95.

The 2016 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé (3) is an absolute peach of a wine and, I reckon, pretty much essential summer drinking. Made at Mas de Daumas Gassac which is arguably the best estate in the Languedoc — it’s certainly the best-known — it’s a half-and-half blend of Syrah and Carignan aged for six months in stainless steel.

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