It is with a real sense of achievement that I report our council was obliged to send the recycling lorry down our street twice last week rather than the usual once. And don’t think for a moment it was there to pick up extra piles of paper or plastic. Nope, the lorry came simply to gather up the ridiculous number of wine bottles and, in some cases, magnums (well done no. 49!) that spilled out of our recycling boxes.
In the 48 hours since the lorry’s previous visit, we collectively put out as many empties as one might expect to see after a particularly heavy week such as that which includes New Year’s Eve or England winning the world cup. I don’t remember ever feeling so proud. It quite brought a tear to my eye.
And as the empties pile up, so we must replenish, and I reckon this offer from our chums at FromVineyardsDirect is the ideal place to start.
The 2018 Boira’ Pinot Grigio (1) from the Veneto is fresh, lively and instantly appealing. I’m not usually a fan of Italian Pinot Grigio but this organic, low-yield, oak-aged example is far removed from the dross one is used to finding in the saloon bar of the Dog & Vomit and it’s really quite charming. Honeyed and herbal on the nose, it’s creamy and fruity on the palate, and finishes off-dry to dry. £10.25 down from £10.95.
We’ve offered previous vintages of the 2017 Saint-Véran Pierre Janny ‘Merloix’(2) before and this incarnation is as good as ever. There’s astonishing value to be had in this neck of the Burgundian woods and with its purity of fruit, gentle honeyed, buttery notes and dry finish, this is a cracking example. Little wonder that it’s FVD’s best-selling white Burgundy. £14.25 down from £14.95.
The 2019 Sacha Lichine Single Blend Rosé (3) will also be familiar to readers who tuck into our regular offers of top class rosé from Sacha Lichine’s Ch. d’Esclans estate in Provence, home to everyone’s favourite pinkers: Whispering Angel. Sacha wants nothing more than to make the finest rosés in the world and many would say he has succeeded. This is the estate’s everyday drinking wine, a blend of Grenache and Cinsault that’s a glorious pale pink and as satisfying as they come with a fine, crisp, dry finish. As Sacha himself says, ‘Life should be easy to drink’, and what better motto for these dark times? £10.50 down from £10.95.
The 2015 Petite Sirène (4) is astounding value, a beautifully crafted claret from a tip-top estate (Ch. Giscours, no less, the fabled 3ème cru from Margaux) and a superb vintage. The same team that makes the grand vin makes this, a rich, fruity Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend that’s absolutely ready to drink and yet will last another year or so very happily. Decant it and let it show off a bit. £11.25 down from £11.95.
The 2016 Ch. Saint Jean ‘Plan de Dieu’ Côtes du Rhône Villages (5) is from the Meffre family, famed for their gorgeous Gigondas. A spicy, herbal blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah from vineyards near Orange, it’s full of concentrated dark fruit and soft, smooth tannins. I love the wines of the southern Rhône and this is bang on song. £12.25 down from £12.95.
Finally, the 2016 Rioja Vega Crianza ‘Limited Edition’ (6), a wine of quite some style and breeding from one of the best-known and longest-established producers in Rioja Alta. Made largely from Tempranillo with a splash of Graciano and a dash of Mazuelo, it spends 14 months in oak and is soft, smooth and engaging, with ripe, sweet fruit, a hint of vanilla and a robust, dry finish. A worthy medal winner at the 2019 International Wine & Spirit Comp. £13.25 down from £13.95.