Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 8 September

Wine Club 8 September
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We were going to run an entirely French offer this week courtesy of FromVineyardsDirect, but I couldn’t resist the 2017 Esterházy Estoras Grüner Veltliner (1) from Austria. I used to drink buckets of GV with my late godmother, the novelist and sometime contributor to this magazine, Sarah Gainham. I’ve never lost my taste for it.

This example, produced for the Esterházy princes in Eisenstadt by the celebrated Joseph Pusch, is well up to snuff and my godmother — who single-handedly (apart from my occasional help) kept her local winzer Josef Pimpel in business — would have loved it. It’s crisp yet creamy with a whisper of pepper, spice and nuts, and is delectably food-friendly. It whisks me right back to happy days by the Danube. £11.45 down from £11.95.

Regular readers will know that I’m a slave to white Rhône wines and — brazen pushover that I am — I was all too easily seduced by the 2016 Secret de Famille, Paul Jaboulet Aîné (2). A scrumptious blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier and Bourboulenc, it has all the quality and style that one might expect from one of the region’s most august producers (they make Hermitage La Chapelle after all). It’s beautifully rounded with enticing notes of honeysuckle and fresh white-stone fruit and I couldn’t get enough of it. £11.95 down from £12.95.

The 2016 Saint-Véran, Pierre Janny ‘Merloix’ (3) is an old favourite and I remember that when we offered a previous vintage many moons ago — the 2012 I believe — it promptly sold out. This current vintage is a cracker and shows what great value the wines of Saint-Véran can be. It’s FVD’s best-selling white burgundy and easy to see why: great purity of fruit, hints of honey, crisp mineral core and an extremely reasonable price. £13.95 down from £14.95.

Talking of reasonable prices, how about the 2017 Reserve de l’Aube, Père Anselme (4)? Yes, I know it’s just basic Vin de France, the lowest of all the quality classifications, but it’s about as easy-going and potable a French red as you’ll find. A blend of Syrah and Merlot from family-owned vineyards in the Languedoc, it’s fresh, fruity and lively; soft and smooth on the palate and blessed with a surprisingly long finish. If you ordered the house red in some sun-dappled Carcassonne bistro and were served this, you’d hug yourself with glee and rush off in search of a dozen bottles to take home. £7.45 down from £7.95.

Made entirely from Merlot, the 2014 Ronan by Clinet (5) is really very classy, from the same winemaking team who produce the celebrated grand vin of Ch. Clinet, one of the finest of all Pomerol estates. The fruit comes from just outside Pomerol and the wine is thus classified as AC Bordeaux rather than anything grander — and has a very approachable price tag as a result. Silky smooth and luscious with plenty of bramble fruit and a teasingly savoury finish, there’s still a touch of tannin here but nothing that a quick sluice into a jug or decanter won’t remedy. £11.95 down from £12.95.

Finally, the 2017 Coteaux Bourguignons ‘Le Renard’ (6), a Pinot Noir/Gamay blend of quite some breeding from vineyards in Burgundy owned by the Devillard family. We all know how ridiculously overpriced burgundy can be and so what a treat it is to find something tasty that I can darn well afford. I’m told that it’s the house red burgundy at Chez Allard, the famous Parisian bistro owned by the great Alain Ducasse, which ain’t a bad reference. 2017 was a stellar vintage in Burgundy and this has plenty of ripe — yet carefully restrained — red fruit, subtle tannins and a refreshing finish. £14.95 down from £15.95.

The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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