I write this from Camp Bah Humbug, whither I’ve been banished by my ever-loving. I had merely suggested that it might be time to dispense with a Christmas tree this year and that was it. Off I was sent to the gulag and told that if can’t say anything nice I’m not to say anything at all, and not to come down till supper.
Still, I’m surrounded by bottles and have the small telly and a laptop and am really rather happy. I’m happy, too, with my choices below, something of a greatest hits selection of wines that I’ve recommended recently from our friends at FromVineyardsDirect.
We start with the 2018 Rive Droite Rive Gauche (1), a white Côtes-du-Rhône blended from Viognier and Grenache Blanc with just a touch of Clairette and Bourboulenc, harvested from both banks of the Rhône, hence its name. I love such wines — soft, supple and creamy — and this, with its notes of apricots, peaches and citrus, is charming. £10.45 down from £10.95.
The 2018 Ch. Bauduc (2) will be familiar to habitués of the Hotel du Vin chain and the restaurants of Messrs Ramsay and Stein (where it’s the house white) as well as to our readers. A blend of 95 per cent Sauvignon Blanc and 5 per cent Sémillon, it’s produced by Gavin and Angela Quinney in the Entre-Deux-Mers and is crisp, clean and zesty, with plenty of fresh nettle and cut-grass notes too. It’s a great wine to keep in the fridge, just in case. £11.45 down from £11.95.
The 2010 Altos d’Oliva Gran Reserva (3) from Catalonia is a tasty blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha that has spent three years in oak and two in bottle before release. It seems suspiciously cheap to me (a Rioja Gran Reserva would be twice if not thrice the price) but it cut the mustard when I tasted it and I enjoyed its smooth, spicy dark fruit and long chewy finish. £8.45 down from £8.95.
2015 was a corking vintage in Bordeaux and the Merlot-rich 2015 Vintage Claret (4), produced by Jonathan Maltus OBE — owner-winemaker of Le Dôme and Ch. Teyssier — is a soft, succulent delight. We offered it some 18 months ago for the same price (NB!) and guess what? Thanks to the extra bottle age, it’s even better! In fact, it’s the perfect house claret. £10.95 down from £11.95.
The 2017 Domaine Devillard ‘Le Renard’ (5) is a ridiculously easy-going Pinot Noir/Gamay blend from the Devillard family in Mercurey, Côte Chalonnaise. As I mentioned when we last offered it, it’s the house red Burgundy at Allard, the fabled Alain Ducasse-owned gourmet bistro in the Rue Saint-André des Arts, Paris. Juicy and refreshing, with plenty of bramble fruit, it’s best served lightly chilled. £15.45 down from £15.95.
Finally, the 2010 Ch. Les Moines (6), a fine Cru Bourgeois claret that always goes down a storm with readers and rightly so. A blend of 70 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 per cent Merlot from a 10/10 vintage, it’s resolutely in its prime with buckets of spicy, plummy fruit, and should be knocked back with abandon. £17.95 down from £18.95.
Now, if you want to get these wines before Christmas and are ordering after 3 p.m. on 20 December but before 3 p. m. on 23 December, you can stump up £10 and still receive them on Christmas Eve. Otherwise FVD can deliver normally on 27, 30 and 31 December.
Failing that, simply look on this offer as the perfect way to replenish stocks and plug the gaping holes in the aftermath of the festivities.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, apart from the above caveat, is free.