Jonathan Ray Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 27 March

We all have our own ways of getting through these dark days. I might have put on a shed-load — nay, a detached-garage-with-a-two-bed-flat-upstairs-load — of weight during lockdown, but my strategy of eschewing all social Zoom calls in favour of ringing two chums a day for a natter and seeing one chum a day for a wander has certainly helped my mental how-d’you-do. Well, that and knocking back one bottle of vino a day too. Human contact and a handy corkscrew are crucial.

And so Monday — with outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households finally permitted — can’t come fast enough. I’m beyond excited and dream constantly about whom I plan to see (everyone) and what I plan to drink (everything).

The Spectator Wine Club is here to help. Indeed, your happiness is our top priority, so if you’re struggling with what to uncork on Monday, look no further than this delectable selection from Burgundy’s Albert Bichot.

These are comfort wines, reassuringly familiar in their provenance yet quite thrilling in their execution

These are comfort wines, reassuringly familiar in their provenance yet quite thrilling in their execution, and it has been a complete joy to taste Bichot’s range — courtesy of Honest Grapes — and to choose the following extremely tasty, generously discounted half-dozen.

Producer/négociant Maison Albert Bichot was founded in Beaune in 1831 and remains family-owned, with Albéric Bichot currently at the helm. Despite being a significant player in Burgundy (it’s the leading buyer at the celebrated Hospices de Beaune auction), Maison AB leads the way in sustainability and manages to maintain the ethos and accessibility of a much smaller artisanal grower. Honest Grapes’s Tom Harrow points to a humility and attention to detail that you don’t always find with big producers, and he’s spot on.

The 2019 Albert Bichot, Mâcon-Lugny ‘Les Charmes’ (1) is a cracking place to start.

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