Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 23 January

Wine Club 23 January
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I don’t know about you, but I was rather crushed when the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, declared that none of us should be drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week. It was only a few days ago that we chaps were permitted 21.

I can’t say that I’ve exactly taken Dame Sally’s advice to heart, although I have been taking it a trifle easy this month, if only to prepare for a forthcoming long weekend in Madrid (the recommended limit for men in Spain being a gratifying 35 units).

The trouble is that what I grandly call my cellar (really a cobwebbed cupboard under the stairs) took something of a battering during the recent New Year festivities and there are gaping holes in the racks where once dozens of bottles lay gently slumbering. I’m sure you’re in the same position. Hooray, then, for this timely offer from Tanners, specifically put together with replenishment in mind.

And for those still smarting from their Christmas expenditure or concerned by Dame Sally’s announcement, we’ve ensured that all the wines are priced at under a tenner and all but one are within the recommended range of 12% to 13% vol.

The 2014 Tanners Sauvignon (1) is made in the Languedoc by François Lurton, flying winemaker extraordinaire. It has a more modern twist to it than some, thanks to François’s research into Sauvignon Blanc overseas, especially in Chile and Argentina. Full-flavoured and juicy with plenty of gooseberry and citrus, it’s crisp and cleanon the finish and a mere 12% vol. Priced at £8, down from £8.50.

Readers lapped up the 2014 Tanners White Burgundy (2) when we offered it last year, so no apologies whatsoever for its reappearance. Produced from a first-rate vintage by the very fine Cave de Viré Co-operative just north of Mâcon, it’s superb value at less than a tenner (we had to twist Tanners’ arms just a wee bit). With clean-as-a-whistle Chardonnay fruit and the merest hint of cream, toast and butter (Tanners insists on ‘just a hint of barrel’ in its production), it’s extremely sophisticated and could pass for something far pricier. £9.95, down from £10.90.

Viognier, immensely popular at the moment, is a grape I love and I just couldn’t resist selecting the 2013 Zilzie Estate Viognier (3). From a family-owned estate in Victoria, Australia, it’s brimming with peach, apricot, honeysuckle, mango and spice and backed by a long, long, creamy, satisfying finish. If Viognier has a fault it’s a tendency to blowsiness or lack of structure, but there’s plenty of fine acidity here to keep things in check and it makes for a delightfully exotic mouthful. £9.45, down from £9.95.

Tanners have been buying claret from the Sichel family in Bordeaux for well over 130 years and it’s no surprise to learn that James Tanner and Charlie Sichel (host of our hugely successful Château Angludet dinner last November) were in cahoots in producing Tanners Claret NV (4). A blend of vintages — to ensure consistency — and Merlot-dominant, it’s famously rich, ripe and juicy and I could hardly bear to put my glass down. It’s textbook house claret and I can’t imagine why we’ve not offered it in these pages before. Sorry. £7.40, down from £8.40.

The 2014 Martinfort Carignan Sélection Vieilles Vignes (5), made from old, low-yielding vines near Carcassonne by Alain Grignon, is perfect for these long, dark, chilly nights, being packed with robust, earthy, inkily concentrated bramble fruit. Serve from a jug or carafe at room temperature. £6.90, down from £7.40.

Finally, another wine ideal for winter, the mouthfilling 2014 Tanners Douro Red (6). The Douro Valley — port country — is a wonderful place to visit, the producers as hospitable as anywhere in the world. Their table wines get better with every vintage, and if you like richly flavoured, deeply coloured reds full of ripe, succulent dark berry fruit, you will enjoy this a lot. £7.20, down from £8.20.

There is a mixed case with two of each bottle and delivery, as ever, is free.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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