Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 23 June

Wine Club 23 June
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Readers will, I’m sure, remember the excellent Merlot-rich Sang du Sanglier from Ch. de Fayolle that we offered here with FromVineyardsDirect recently. Well, crikey, the 2016 Ch. de Fayolle Blanc (1), its sister wine, is every bit as toothsome. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon (just a bit) from low-yielding, naturally farmed, herbicide-free vineyards in Bergerac near Bordeaux, it’s crisp, clean and refreshing. The Sauvignon gives a lively touch of citrus, grass and herbs while the Sémillon adds depth, character and a certain roundedness. A white Graves of this quality from down the road would be twice the price. £9.95 down from £10.95.

And if classic, beautifully made, artisanal Sauvignon Blanc is your thing, then you’ll swoon over the 2016 Pouilly Fumé Les Aveillons (2). I’m told that FVD sourced it only a month or so ago and is struggling to hang on to stocks since it’s proved to be nothing less than catnip for its canny customers. Made with fruit from 65-year-old vines by the Millet family at Domaine de La Loge, it fair screams quality and boasts a deliciously intense mineral core fleshed out with luscious yet restrained citrus and white-stone fruit flavours. £13.95 down from £14.95.

The 2017 Horizon Rosé (3) is the entry level cuvée from those paragons of rosé making, the Negrel family of Mas de Cadenet near Aix-en-Provence, whose Sainte-Victoire label we’ve offered here countless times to whoops of delight. This is just the ticket too and is what la famille Negrel knock back at home. A gloriously sexy pale, pale pink, it’s a blend of Grenache and Syrah and full of citrus, herbs and a gentle dusting of spice. It’s about as tempting a rosé as you’ll find at a cheerfully amenable price. £9.45 down from £9.95.

The 2016 Moulin de Gassac Pinot Noir (4) from Mas de Daumas Gassac, Languedoc’s leading estate, came as quite a surprise. I’d have thought it was too hot to grow Pinot Noir here. After all, the grape is a bugger to cultivate, thanks in part to its thin skin, which makes it susceptible to all manner of diseases and which renders it easily scorched in baking sun. Somehow they’ve pulled it off, though, and the result is a wine of real charm. It’s soft, smooth, supple with slightly smoky and extremely juicy plummy, cherry fruit. Perfect for summer, it can stand half an hour in an ice bucket before drinking. £9.95 down from £10.95.

I’d never come across the 2010 Ch. Gontier (5) before and would love to know where it has been hiding because I lapped it up. A blend of 70 per cent Merlot and 30 per cent Cabernet, it comes from Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, a hop across the river from Pauillac, and is a complete joy. 2010 was an almost perfect vintage and this is as ready as it will ever be, being soft, mellow and fruity with rich, ripe fruit and the silkiest of tannins. If you love mature claret and jibe at the crazy prices the big names charge these days, then snap this up pronto. £10.95 down from £11.95.

Finally, also from Bordeaux, the 2015 Petite Sirène de Ch. Giscours (6) made by the same winemaking team that makes mighty Ch. Giscours itself, the celebrated Margaux 3ième cru. They only make this wine in good years and 2015 was — famously — a very good year and the estate wouldn’t put its name to an inexpensive claret like this if it wasn’t completely up to snuff.

Richly flavoured, smooth and elegant with great concentration of dark fruit, it’s a delicious mouthful and although in great shape now will almost certainly be even better in a month or so. £11.45 down from £11.95.

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

To order, please call 020 7549 7900 or visit

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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