I confess to feeling a trifle delicate when tasting the dozen or so wines from FromVineyardsDirect for this offer. A late night at the Academy Club had turned into early morning at the Experimental Cocktail Club and neither Mrs Ray nor I were at our best. Indeed, Mrs R decided it was all too much and retired to bed blaming me for everything while also inquiring as to when I might be planning to grow up. It was a strange question that I refused to dignify with an answer.
Anyway, the point is that I was not in the best of health when I first sampled the wines, yet I still managed to like them. When I tried them again later, I absolutely loved them and would be surprised if you don’t too.
The 2022 Domaine Bellevue Sauvignon de Touraine (1) is a great favourite, as fine as ever and still excellent value. Produced by fourth-generation vigneron Patrick Vauvy in the heart of the Loire Valley, it’s full and concentrated and far more swanky than its price suggests. Chuck it in an ice bucket with a carefully arranged linen napkin around it and your guests won’t know that it isn’t fine Sancerre. £10.75 down from £11.95.
The 2020 Mas Carlot ‘Générations’ (2), from the Costières de Nîmes, is a blend of three of my go-to grapes – Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier – and it makes for a very successful marriage or, rather, ménage à trois. With notes of almonds, honeysuckle, peach ’n’ apricot and with a deliciously creamy texture, it’s right up my alley: perfect with summery salads or warm roast chicken served with puréed, stock-rich cannellini beans and crusty baguette. £11.75 down from £12.95.
I can’t think of any other wine we’ve offered over so many vintages as the 2021 Domaine du Bicheron Mâcon-Péronne (3).