A great selection from Messrs Corney & Barrow this week and a ridiculously well-priced one too, especially if you take advantage of the Brett-Smith Indulgence whereby C&B’s MD, Adam Brett-Smith, knocks six quid off a case for anyone buying two dozen bottles or more.
Never in a thousand years did I think that I would find myself recommending a Romanian Pinot Grigio in these pages, nor indeed anywhere else. But the 2017 Sanziana Pinot Grigio (1) is blooming lovely and my summer quaffing wine is now sorted.
The wines of Romania are being taken very seriously these days and merchants the calibre of Corney & Barrow wouldn’t be sniffing round there if they weren’t. Oh don’t be so snooty, they’ve been making wine there for 6,000 years! Recas Cramele Vineyard and Winery is as modern as they come, with a first-rate Spanish/Australian wine-making team producing exemplary wines. This is full of light, slightly creamy peach, pear and melon notes and, with its citrus finish, is absurdly refreshing and drinkable. £7.05 with the Brett-Smith Indulgence, £7.55 without, down from £7.95.
The 2015 Adaina Godello (2) from the sustainably farmed Adegas Galegas winery in Monterrei, south-east Galicia, Spain, is another crowd-pleaser. MD Pepe Rodriguez has done more than anyone to make Albariño the popular grape it is today and with wines such as this he hopes to do the same for Godello. It’s crisp, clean and fresh with herbs and flowers on the nose and plenty of juicy fruit on the palate backed by a fine minerality. £9.90 with the B-SI, £10.40 without, down from £10.95.
The 2016 La Tunella Sauvignon Blanc (3) was a resounding hit at the recent Spectator Winemaker Lunch hosted in our boardroom by La Tunella’s Giovanna Zamparo. It comes from the steep hillside slopes of Friuli in Italy’s far north-east and is as fine an example of Sauvignon Blanc as you will find for the money. It has the signature acidity and crispness but there’s a delicious underlying creaminess to it too, and a touch of melon, maybe, but nothing too extrovert or tropical. Every bottle at lunch was drained. £11.80 with the B-SI, £12.30 without, down from £12.95.
The 2017 Nelson Estate Rosé (4), from Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, is one of the best non-Provençal rosés I’ve had. A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot, it’s a charming pale pink that’s full of wild strawberries, a touch of cream and a hint of herbs. It’s thirst-quenching, and its screwcap affords instant access for when the sun pops out. £9.90 with the B-SI, £10.40 without, down from £10.95.
I’m not sure that the 2016 L’Ostal del Souquet Carignan (5) from the excellent Celliers Jean d’Alibert in the heart of the Languedoc isn’t my wine of the offer. It’s absolutely up my street, and well-priced too. Made from 100 per cent Carignan, hand picked from low-yielding, gnarled old bush vines, it’s inky dark in colour and gloriously, richly concentrated. It’s so lush and juicy with intense dark bramble fruit and has a welcome savoury note on the finish, too. If you’re dusting off your barbecue, dust this off too. £8.00 with the B-SI, £8.50 without, down from £8.95.
Finally, the 2017 La Curiosité Minervois (6) also from the Languedoc and Celliers Jean d’Alibert, but this time from La Livinière, the sweetest of sweet spots of Minervois. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, it’s soft and smooth with that lovely Syrah spicy jamminess, dark fruit, liquorice, black olives and spice. The wine is lifted by its integral freshness (it sees no oak, only stainless steel) and is marked by a satisfyingly long finish. £9.48 with the B-SI, £9.98 without, down from £10.50.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.