Good grief, I’m glad that’s over. Dry January, that is. The worst thing was that for most of it I slept terribly and invariably woke with what can only be described as a hangover: throbbing head, aching eyes and dreadful feelings of remorse for having drunk too much the night before (not to mention for having behaved appallingly and for owing a large number of folk some pretty hearty apologies). It would slowly dawn on me, though, that I had drunk nothing but Badoit and that I hadn’t, after all, been at the Presidents Club bash and that I needn’t reproach myself.
I’m now happy as a lark having jumped off the wagon straight into the warm embrace of Messrs Corney & Barrow. I drank deep last night, slept like a baby and woke with a definite spring in my step. I hope these wines do the same for you! Oh, and don’t forget the Brett-Smith Indulgence, whereby C&B’s MD, Adam Brett-Smith, lops six quid off a case for anyone buying two dozen bottles or more.
The 2016 Terre de Lumière Viognier (1) comes from the heart of the Languedoc and leading local co-operative, Celliers Jean d’Alibert. It’s 100 per cent Viognier, fresh ’n’ zesty and with all the notes of apricot, peach and honeysuckle that you might expect from this delightful grape. £7.58 with the Brett-Smith Indulgence, £8.08 without, down from £8.50.
The 2017 Nelson Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (2) from Paarl, in South Africa’s Western Cape is perfect for those who find Loire Sauvignons too lean and Kiwi Sauvignons too exuberant. It’s slow-fermented at low temperature and left on the lees for six weeks. The result is a scrumptiously fresh, easy-drinking wine with fresh-cut herbs, spice — even pepper — on nose and palate and a lusciously creamy finish. £9.24 with the B-SI, £9.74 without, down from £10.25.
The 2016 Soave Terre di Brognoligo Classico Cecilia Beretta (3) is a blend of 85 per cent Garganega and 15 per cent Chardonnay grown in the hills of Treviso and Verona in Italy’s Veneto. It’s textured, rounded, creamy and fresh, with hints of lemons, apples and almonds. It’s great on its own, but it’s even better — as I’ve just discovered — with Mrs Ray’s herb risotto. £8.95 with the B-SI, £9.45 without, down from £9.95.
I’m not usually a fan of Aussie wines from vast appellations (South Eastern Australia covers a third of the country) but the 2015 Cranswick-Smith Bin 19 Cabernet/Merlot (4) is a joy. A blend of 80 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 20 per cent Merlot, it’s rich, spicy, velvety soft and full of blackcurrant, blackberry, mint and even eucalyptus. It’s also a bloody good price thanks to the fact that C&B needs to make room for the next vintage. £7.10 with the B-SI, £7.60 without, down from £8.95.
The 2015 Salterio Mencía (5) comes from Bierzo in Castilla y Léon in Spain’s far north-west. Oh, and Salterio is the name of the wine — from the Adegas Galegas winery — and Mencía is the name of the grape. The vines are more than 70 years old and there’s great concentration of colour and flavour with buckets of cherries, mulberries and loganberries. If you like Beaujolais you will like this. It can even stand a bit of chilling. £8.53 with the B-SI, £9.03 without, down from £9.50.
Finally, the 2014 Ruca Malen Cabernet Sauvignon (6), which just shows what fabulous fruit you get in Mendoza where hot Andes days and cold Andes nights give both ripeness and freshness. I’ve visited this winery and have long been a fan. The depth of colour in this wine is remarkable as is its elegance, purity of fruit and length of finish. It would cost twice as much if it were French. £12.56 with the B-SI, £13.06 without, down from £13.75.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.