My dear old alma mater Berry Bros & Rudd broke with Spectator Wine Club tradition recently by offering a six-bottle box rather than the more usual dozen bottles. It was such a hit with readers that they asked to do it again this week. Needless to say, the thirstier among you desperate for a full dozen can simply sign up for two cases. I strongly recommend that you do, since the wines — a delightfully eclectic selection — are first rate and, given that Berry’s are offering free delivery and have knocked a bit off here and there, there’s a saving of some £20 to be had on the normal RRP.
The 2017 Gavi di Gavi, Bric Sassi (1) from Roberto Sarotto in Piedmont is a beautifully made, easy-drinking, single vineyard, 100 per cent Cortese. It’s light, fresh and citrusy, with a deliciously appealing floral aroma and a long mineral finish making it perfect for summer drinking. I’m thinking long, lazy afternoons, village cricket, croquet on the lawn, picnics by a babbling brook —you know the sort of thing. Chill it for an hour in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer. Or even (and don’t be snooty here) lob an ice cube in. RRP £12.95.
The 2014 Maison Camille Paquet Mâcon-La Roche-Vineuse (2) is an absolute delight and ideal for burgundy lovers who quail at the prices the better-known village names demand. Camille Paquet — son of Michel, owner of Domaine des Valanges — is branching out on his own, in this instance by using various friends’ grapes which he harvests early and vinifies with minimal intervention to ensure a fine mineral and citrus freshness. Crisp and bright with a touch of honey, it’s utterly charming. RRP £16.95.
The 2017 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc (3) from Marlborough, New Zealand, is an old favourite. The Dog Point label was founded by Ivan Sutherland and James Healy (both formerly of Cloudy Bay) and their wives, Margaret and Wendy, in 2004, and all their wines are organic, meticulously crafted and sought-after. This boasts all the rich, juicy tropical fruit you might expect from NZ but with added complexity thanks to a tiny splash of Sémillon and the lightest touches of oak. Regarded by many as the new touchstone for Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, it’s darn hard to beat. RRP £17.95.
The 2015 Berry’s Good Ordinary Claret (4) surely needs no introduction. GOC (as it’s known to regular imbibers) has been BBR’s best-selling wine by miles ever since its introduction in 1973 and is currently produced by Dourthe, one of Bordeaux’s best-known producers (and owners of the likes of Ch. Belgrave and Ch. La Garde). It’s a ridiculously easy-going, approachable blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from a cracking vintage and all but impossible not to like. RRP £9.95.
The 2014 Ch. Fleur Haut Gaussens (5) is a Bordeaux Supérieur of some style produced by Hervé Lhuillier, the fourth generation of his family to own the estate. A blend of Merlot (mainly), Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Malbec, it’s full of ripe dark berry fruit with a whisper of ink and cedar and decent tannins. Decant it into carafe or jug and let it show off a bit. RRP £13.95.
Finally, the 2014 Peachy Canyon ‘Incredible Red’ Zinfandel (6) from Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, CA. I was in this neck of the woods only a month or so ago fulfilling a long-held wish to visit Hearst Castle (and what a bonkers place that is) and had a glass of this very wine in a bar in nearby Cambria. I love Zinfandel and this is right up my alley, being full of deliciously concentrated dark, spicy fruit (think plums, damsons, black cherries), vanilla and a meaty savouriness. If ever there was a perfect summer barbecue wine, this is it. RRP £17.50.
The mixed case has one bottle of each wine and is priced very keenly at £78 with free delivery.