Cooee, we’re back! And back in some style with a corking offer from Swig, stalwarts of the Spectator Wine Club under my sainted predecessors. I’m so pleased we’ve tempted them back, especially in this, their 25th anniversary year.
Founded by Robin Davis in north London’s Belsize Park, Swig has become one of the country’s finest independents and is Decanter’s 2021 Best Midsize Online Retailer. Just saying. As always, only the best is good enough for Speccie readers.
Like you, I’m sure, I rather overcooked it during the festivities. My sister-in-law is convinced she’s an alcoholic having received a personally signed Christmas card from her local Majestic manager, whereas my wake-up call was finding a passer-by photographing the New Year’s Day empties in my recycling and beckoning a friend: ‘Chum, you’ve got to see this!’
As so it is I cling desperately to the wagon. It’s a dreary place and all that sustains me is the memory of tasting many of Swig’s glorious wines on your behalf and making this dandy selection. These are the bottles with which you should be restocking, not least because each one boasts a hearty £3 off.
The 2021 Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc (1) from Swartland, South Africa, is an old favourite. Made from hand-harvested old bush vine Chenin with touches of Grenache Blanc and Semillon, it’s full of ripe peach and pear notes, herbs and honey and I love it. £11.50 down from £14.50.
The 2020 Christoph Bauer Spezial Gruner Veltliner (2) from Weinviertel — Austria’s main winegrowing region — is a perfect expression of this increasingly popular grape. Christoph Bauer is famed for his organically produced wines and this is delectably apple-fresh and crisp with Sauvignon-like acidity tempered by a touch of honeyed cream. £13.50 down from £16.50.
Kumeu River, near Auckland, was the first New Zealand winery I ever visited. I’ve had an unslakeable thirst for its wines ever since and drained the 2020 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay (3) in a trice. Barrel-fermented and aged, it’s as stylish and sophisticated an entry level Kiwi Chardonnay as you’ll find. And I doubt you’ll find it cheaper. £16.95 down from £19.95. Maximum order of six bottles per customer.
The 2019 Pierre Cabernet Franc (4) from Cité de Carcassonne in the Languedoc is fresh, fruity and smooth. Robin says it reminds him of a fine Loire Valley red but with easier tannins and better flavours for the price. I couldn’t agree more. £9.95 down from £12.95.
The oak-aged 2019 Apo Old Vine Malbec (5) from Bodega Belasco de Baquedano in the Andes foothills of Mendoza, Argentina, is fabulous value, produced from vines more than 100 years old by a winemaking team overseen by Michel Rolland, the world’s leading oenologist. Full, rich and heady with violets, it’s a must for Malbec lovers. £10.95 down from £13.95.
The 2013 Viña Cubillo Rioja Crianza (6) from family-owned López de Heredia was produced the year patriarch Pedro L de H died and the team was determined to make as fine a wine as possible in his honour. Produced using grapes which would normally go into the top cuvée, it was aged for three years in oak and, unfiltered, it’s a magnificent tribute to a great man. £16.95 down from £19.95.
Finally, a strikingly fine fizz in the shape of Champagne Collard-Picard Préstige Cuvée Extra Brut NV (7). A blend of nine oak-aged vintages finished with the smallest of dosages, it’s almost indecently rich, complex and seductive. It has weight, texture and bundles of baked apple and toasty brioche notes. One sip and I couldn’t stop smiling. £41.95 down from £44.95.
The above wines are offered in unmixed boxes of six or in a mixed case containing two bottles of each wine except the champagne. Delivery, as ever, is free — and anyone spending £159.60 or more gets a free bottle of the aforementioned champagne.