Wines in the Press last weekend

by Charles Lea

‘Light and brisk or solid and savoury? Choose your Christmas bubbly… …for value plus quality, LEA & SANDEMAN (020 7244 0522) is difficult to beat. It can offer even better prices than those below for orders of six bottles or more.’ Jancis Robinson MW, The Financial Times

Last weekend saw a flurry of pre-Christmas press on wines for festive consumption. In particular L&S featured in Jane Macquitty’s top 50 Winter Reds in The Times, and in Jancis Robinson MW’s review of the best sources for Christmas fizz which appeared in the Pink ‘un, as well as featuring in rather more detail on www.JancisRobinson.com.

In the still wines category, there were several mentions for L&S wines in Jane MacQuitty’s ‘top 100 wines for Christmas’. Amongst the reds were mentions for:-

2010 TERRA D’ALTER TINTO Terras d’Alter £7.95 single/£7.50 ‘case price’
‘Terrific fruity red from excellent Terra d’Alter, made from Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional, the latter best known as one of the leading grapes of port. All four were grown in the high Alentejo and the cooler altitude here has made a silky red whosewild, herby scent leads on to a red and black fruits-charged palate, the perfect winter warmer.’ Jane MacQuitty, The Times
This wine has a ‘baker’s dozen’ offer on it for the months of December, within the wider offer on the wines of Terras d’Alter, bringing it down to £6.93 a bottle. Have a look at the exceptional value mixed cases too.

2011 L’ATZAR Celler Mas La Mola £15.75 single/ 13.95’case price’
‘Priorat’s famous slate licorella soils and terraced vinyards continue to produce polished, yet chunky reds. L’Atzar is Mas la Mola’s second wine, made from younger vines and less successful plots, hence its keen price. Enjoy its terrific 14 per cent alcohol, bold, inky, sweet, raisin and plum spice with beef for a festive treat.’ Jane MacQuitty, The Times
What it’s makers describe as ‘introductory’ Priorat.

2010 BOURGOGNE Pinot Noir Domaine Joël Rémy £11.95 single/£10.95 ‘case price’
‘This perfect sub £11 pound Pinot Noir is made from mature, nearly 40-year-old Cote de Beaune vines with lots of lovely walk-in-the-woods, light, leafy, gamey fruit and a pleasing herb and liquorice-scented finish. Just the ticket to tuck into with a rich game casserole or shepherd’s pie. Jane MacQuitty, The Times

and in the previous week’d saturday Times, Jane rated our 2011 PICPOUL DE PINET Domaine Reine Juliette £7.95 single /£7.50 ‘case price’ a ‘star buy’. “Superior Picpoul de Pinet like this one is worth splashing out on. The zesty 2011, with oodles of of gorgeous ripe, fat lemon peel and greengage-layered fruit closing on a fine smoky, steely minerally fnish is a triumph. Best with fish of seafood or as an aperitif.” Jane MacQuitty, The Times.

And so to Jancis’ fizz recommendations.

You, of course, already know that the best source of high quality fizz at reasonable prices is Lea & Sandeman, and that while we don’t offer huge percentage discounts at this time of year, this is simply because our prices are not articficially inflated for the rest of the year.

Barnaut Grande Réserve Grand Cru Bouzy NV Champagne ‘As soon as I poured this I could smell a most agreeable light biscuity  perfume. Certainly not bone dry, nor especially tart, but elegantly balanced.  Absolutely nothing to object to. Just £22.95 if a mixed dozen bottles are  bought. 12.5%’ Jancis Robinson MW (and, with the Baker’s Dozen offer, down to only £21.19 a bottle if the free bottle of the Blanc de Noirs is taken into account).

Larmandier-Bernier, Tradition Extra Brut Premier Cru ‘Restrained nose that suggests great delicacy. Real race and structure. Very  grown-up champagne. Some Extra Brut champagnes are aggressively dry, but not this one. A very fair price (£29.95). See also from the same producer

Blanc de Blancs  Extra Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne (£31.95, very obvious filigree Chardonnay  flavours and lots of acidity) and

Terre de Vertus Non Dosé Premier Cru NV  Champagne (£36.95, really dense and intellectual).’ Jancis Robinson MW

Bollinger, Special Cuvée NV Champagne ‘Lots of character here. Bone dry with great structure and confidence. Not  that light! Lots of maturity. The gentle fizz feels as though it has had to  battle its way through great intensity of flavour. Kick of acidity on the end.  12%’ Jancis Robinson MW £34.95 Lea & Sandeman (www.leaandsandeman.co.uk, 020 7244  0533); and widely available elsewhere, usually at a higher price (and you can get this down to 31.50 as part of a mixed case online, or even down to £29.95 in the 24 bottle offer.

Pol Roger 2002 Champagne ‘This wine showed beautifully in a comparative tasting of top wines from the  superlative 2002 vintage last week.’ Jancis Robinson MW From £49.95 at Lea & Sandeman (www.leaandsandeman.co.uk, 020 7244  0533),

Egly-Ouriet Rosé Grand Cru Ambonnay NV Champagne ‘Very pale strawberry with an intriguing hint of cheesiness on the nose  (better than the usual sickly raspberry aromas). Very fine bead and admirably  dry finish. Distinctly superior. 12.5%’ Jancis Robinson MW

Jancis also mentioned, (with a price tag from a supermarket of £29.99),

Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2008 England (£26.95,single/£24.95 case from L&S) ‘First vintage to have Canadian winemaker Cherie Spriggs in charge and first since 1998 to be treated to 100 per cent softening malolactic fermentation, which is A Good Thing. Lighter nose than the Nyetimber Merret 2010 but very refreshing. Tastes like a Blanc de Blancs, although there is less than 80 per cent Chardonnay in the blend. 12%’ Jancis Robinson MW

Jean-Louis Denois £13.95 single/£12.95 ‘case price’ – our most popular non-champagne ‘méthode traditionelle’ sparkler, also got a mention from Bob Tyrer the week before in the Sunday Times. ‘Dry, appley and satifying, this is a bargain must-buy for every Christmas fridge, and a standout among the many non-champagne sparklers on the market.’

As always ‘case price’ applies to any purchase of any mix of 12 bottles or more. In addition on Champagne the case price refers to min. 6 bottle purchase even if nothing else is bought, and there are many even better deals to be had if you have a good look at the Champagne Offers on the website

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