We’ve not had an offer from Messrs Corney & Barrow in a while and it’s a treat to welcome them back to these pages, especially since they come wafting such scrumptious bottles under our beaks. There’s much to enjoy here as we head into supposed summer and I trust you’ll take advantage of the fabled Brett-Smith Indulgence whereby C&B’s MD, Adam Brett-Smith, knocks a few extra quid off a case for anyone buying two dozen bottles or more (on top of the existing Spectator discount that is). Get stuck in, I say.
The 2017 Domaine Carette Saint-Véran ‘Les Chatenays’ (1) is from a small family-owned estate in the southernmost appellation in the Mâconnais. Made from 100 per cent Chardonnay, it’s aged for six months on the lees in old oak casks. The result is delectably accessible white Burgundy at a delectably accessible price. Lively and fresh, its mineral core is complemented by a touch of gentle creaminess. I took no time in draining the bottle and doubt you will either. £15.60 with the Brett-Smith Indulgence, £16.10 without, down from £16.95.
The 2017 Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon Beaujolais Blanc Roche Noire (2) is also 100 per cent Chardonnay but different enough from the above to merit inclusion, being slightly more reserved. It’s bone dry and refreshing with citrus notes and plenty of green apple and I’m sure sees no oak. White Beaujolais accounts for no more than 1 per cent of the region’s total production and wines as appealing as this should be snapped up. £11.80 with the B-SI, £12.30 without, down from £12.95.
The 2018 Corney & Barrow Rosé (3) is cheap ’n’ cheerful, I know, but it’s darn tasty too, made by one of the finest French co-operatives: Producteurs Plaimont in the heart of glorious Gascony. It’s spot on for carefree drinking — if such a thing is still possible/permitted — being a light, fresh, fruity blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s easy-going and enticing and will see you right over the summer. £7.05 with the B-SI, £7.55 without, down from £7.95.
The 2018 Agua Santa Reserva Pinot Noir (4) is one of those wines that Chile does so well: great value and with plenty of character. Pinot Noir thrives in Chile (in this case in the coastal vineyards of the Colchagua Valley) and you would be hard-pressed to find a better value or more rewarding example. It’s soft, succulent and ridiculously drinkable, with gentle spice, fresh cherry fruit and hardly any tannins to speak of. Drink it chilled or at room temp; drink it on its own or with meat or fish. It’s nothing if not versatile. £8.95 with the B-SI, £9.45 without, down from £9.95.
If you fancy something with a bit more oomph then the 2015 Bodegas San Valero ‘Particular’ Cariñena (5) should be right up your street. A 100 per cent Cariñena (aka Carignan) from Aragón in north eastern Spain, it’s rich, dark, complex and spicy with plenty of wild berry fruit and hints of tobacco and liquorice. It needs grub for sure and if the dread barbecue is your thing, it would certainly help wash down any bangers, ribs or steaks that you might be singeing. £8.95 with the B-SI, £9.45 without, down from £9.95.
The 2015 Kirstenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon (6) is similarly robust and hearty. From the Rhebokskloof Estate in Paarl, South Africa, it’s beautifully put together from 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, matured for 12 months in oak barrels of varying ages. South Africa often gets overlooked when hunting for decent sub-tenner wines and this — full of rich, ripe, slightly earthy, tarry blackcurrant fruit — is a delight. £8.95 with the B-SI, £9.45 without, down from £9.95.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.