I was recently interviewed by a young journalist, on behalf of a large Sunday newspaper, who wanted my views on the recent rise in popularity and sales of sherry. Her background knowledge was sketchy, to say the least, but I was really quite surprised by the fact that she knew little or nothing about the recent releases of rare batches of sherries (such as Gonzalez Byass’ Palmas Finos) or the numerous openings of new sherry bars across London. However, I was really taken aback when she told me that her research was based almost entirely on something she called the ‘Downton effect’, and when I asked her to explain, she said it was because the Dowager Countess was always shown drinking sherry!
Maybe she is right, and it is obvious that a large part of the nation is suffering from some form of Downton Abbey withdrawal, as attentions have turned to a certain John Lewis commercial, in which a young boy endures sleepless nights in his growing anticipation of Christmas morning. The viewer naturally assumes this is caused by the excitement of opening his presents, only to find that it is fact the excitement of giving his present to his parents. I am told that this has reduced some people to tears, which is melodramatic, to say the least, but it does not detract from the fact that in giving we all get so much more pleasure than we do in receiving.
So here we have a small selection of very affordable wines which will undoubtedly give you a great deal of satisfaction in giving to family, friends and loved ones, at the same time as giving them a great deal of pleasure. Many are in cases of six bottles, making it all the more affordable to share the love!
NOTE that the discounted price applies to a minimum purchase of any 12 bottles or more.
THREE great drinking WHITE wines to cover all festive occasions.
SAINT VÉRAN 2010 Domaine de la Denante £14.95 bottle, £150 by the dozen **INTRODUCTORY CASE PRICE FOR DECEMBER** – only £12.50 bottle (normally £13.95)
Domaine de la Denante is a new discovery from Charles’ recent Burgundy trip and we will be introducing more wines from the domaine next year. In the meantime, this is a wonderfully good value white burgundy from a very good vintage, and a classic expression of Saint Veran, with notes of white flowers, bright fruit and a hint of sweetness mid-palate that makes it so drinkable. A perfect all-round drinking white burgundy for Christmas.
ACÚSTIC BLANC Montsant 2010 Bodegas Acústic £14.75 per bottle. £159.00 by the dozen (£13.25 bottle) Available in cases of 6 bottles.
This fabulous white from the Montsant district in the North of Spain is a blend of Garnacha, Pansal and Macabeo. Given only the lightest oak treatment it is packed with fruit and texturally very satisfying, rather like a Northern Rhone Viognier. A lovely change to the usual repertoire of white wines (and fabulous with lobster!).
CHABLIS 2007 1er Cru Forêts Domaine Moreau-Naudet £20.95 bottle. £227.40 by the dozen (£19.95 bottle)
Chablis is one of the most versatile of white burgundies, and having the least ‘chardonnay’ character makes it one of the most refreshing too. This Premier Cru is now drinking beautifully and is a perfect match to smoked salmon and other fish, as well as cold cuts over the season.
THREE great quality RED wines which are available in wooden cases of six bottles
CHATEAU BEL-AIR 2006 Premières Côtes de Bordeaux £13.95 bottle, £150 by the dozen (£12.50 bottle). Available in original wooden cases of 6 bottles.
This is the home of the Borie-Coiffe family, owners of Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, who have made significant investment in the property and vineyards. Made from old vines Merlot and Cabernet Franc this is an excellent value Bordeaux which is not at all unlike a modern ‘super’ Tuscan blend with its ripe fruit, sweet tannins and crisp finish.
MARQUÈS DE VARGAS 2005 Reserva Marques de Vargas £19.50 bottle £215.40 by the dozen (£17.95 bottle). Available in original wooden cases of 6 bottles.
It seems like ‘Marqueses’ are two-a-penny in Rioja, but Marques de Vargas is undoubtedly the grandest of them all. This old estate in Rioja Alta only makes Rioja at ‘Reserva’ level and the wine is a fabulous example of great wines from the region. Very polished with ripe, warm fruit and a long finish.
CHÂTEAU VIEUX VERDOT Épigone 2008 Grand Cru Saint Emilion £19.75 bottle, £215.40 per dozen (£17.95 bottle). Available in original wooden cases of 6 bottles.
A really lovely Grand Cru St Emilion for drinking this Christmas. Deep in colour and packed with rich, creamy fruit, this has an elegance and length that many a more expensive claret might aspire to.
COMING SOON: More Christmas treats – the Dinner party selection. In the Press – Jancis Robinson’s and other selections from L&S. A Vinous Christmas in the Sandeman household – Patrick’s typically boozy Christmas selection.
We now offer FREE DELIVERY on all orders over £100* (see our terms and conditions)
Last orders for guaranteed nationwide Christmas delivery – Sunday 18th December (although we will do our very best to deliver orders received after this date, especially in the Greater London area).