I am excited about this offer. For one thing, it comes from Corney & Barrow, wine merchants to the Quality. One does not normally look to them for cheap wines, any more than a gentleman goes to Trumper’s for a short back and sides.
Yet there are five ways you can save. For one thing, C&B have graciously stuck to their old prices, even though their new list has already kicked in. Secondly, Adam Brett-Smith has knocked 5 per cent off the old prices. And there is the fabled Brett-Smith Indulgence, whereby you save a further 6 [pounds sterling] a case if you buy three cases or more, or two cases if you live within the M25. Delivery is free, and the Chancellor failed to add yet more duty in the Budget. But the government is planning a minimum price for alcohol. I rather suspect that this will not apply to delectable, spicy Côtes du Rhônes or superb New World Chardonnays.
And all these wines are superb. We start, as ever, with C&B’s admirable house white (1) and red (5). Regulars know how good these are, and they make a perfect way of bumping up your order up to trigger the Indulgence. Great daily glugging wines.
I have sometimes been disappointed by white Côtes du Rhone, which can be a little dull. But this Les Becs Fins Blanc from Michel Tardieu, 2010, (2) is glorious. It is 60 per cent Viognier, a lovely perfumed grape, given more oomph by the 30 per cent Grenache Blanc and the 10 per cent Marsanne. Velvety, intense without being overwhelming, wonderfully dry–a wine that just makes you happy. Well, it made me happy during a depressing cold. Just 9.45 [pounds sterling].
I know people are still resistant to German wines. It’s a shame, given that a century ago hocks were as highly prized as first-growth clarets. My theory is that in our youth we drank too much ghastly Liebfraumilch. But this Schloss Schonborn Estate Riesling 2010 (3) is so subtle, so sinuous, so rich with flavour that I don’t see how anyone can resist it. No German wine is really dry, but if it were you would miss out on those delectable floral and tropical notes. 10.45 [pounds sterling] is great value.
Our final white is expensive, but worth it. The Waipara Muddy Water 2009 (4) is from New Zealand, and it gives the lie to anyone who thinks that New World Chardonnays are OTT, like drinking milkshakes with foie gras. This is subtle, layered, perfectly balanced, with backbone and a real sense of the earth it’s grown in (terroir as the Kiwis don’t call it). At 17.55 [pounds sterling], they are not giving it away, but it would be very hard to find a white Burgundy as good at a similar price. Get it in the sample case if you don’t believe me.
Reds. The Côtes du Rhone from Gonnet, 2009 (6) is stunning. When I heard C&B were selling it for 8.55 [pounds sterling], I couldn’t quite believe it. Spice, herbs, perfume, damsons, cherries–I’ve had inferior Châteauneuf-du-Pape at much higher prices. If you’re a C du R fan, and many readers are, you need lots of this, now.
Claret fans will probably adore the Chilean Reserva Especial 2010 (7) from Viña Mar. This is so good, so deep, so rich, so redolent of ageing in cellars, and it’s barely two years old! At 8.99 [pounds sterling] a bottle, a real snip.
And finally, and amazingly, a Vin de Pays, a Merlot from the Dme André Perret, 2009 (8). It comes from the Collines de Rhodaniennes, an area which is producing some dazzling wines. Imagine a Pomerol or Saint-Emilion, smooth, creamy, delicious, and all for just over a tenner a bottle.
As I say, delivery is free. There is a very reasonable sample case. And don’t forget the Indulgence.