Our wine editor Bruce Palling has chosen six wines from trusted wine merchant Haynes Hanson and Clark for August.
"The role of a wine merchant has undergone radical changes in recent times. Until a few years ago, it was mainly to take orders from well-established customers for their annual requirements of Claret, Burgundy and Port with occasional additions of Champagne or Riesling. Whilst these categories are still important, customers under retirement age demand value for money rather than familiarity with the label or wine region.
Conscientious merchants such as Haynes Hanson and Clark now go out of their way to find quality wines that are close neighbours of more well known wine regions, of the same grape varieties. This applies to the wines I’ve chosen this month from the northern Rhône, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. If their location was less than a mile in a different direction, the price would be dramatically higher.
All of them are exceptional value, but my favourite is the Vieux Château Saint André. Given that it is made by the former chief winemaker of Château Pétrus, the most acclaimed and sought after Bordeaux of them all, its quality is no great surprise.
Prices below are per bottle, based on purchasing a case of twelve. I’d recommend starting off with a mixed case to try them all, and follow up with a case of your favourite. As always, you can get FREE delivery to mainland UK addresses.
Wine Editor, The Week Wines
Vieux Château Saint André, Montagne Saint-Emilion 2014, 13% -
£21.20 £17.75 per bottle
There are any number of right bank Bordeaux wineries producing highly extracted alcoholic fruit bombs: not something that could ever be said about Vieux Château Saint André. This is the home and creation of Jean-Claude Berrouet, the legendary head winemaker of Château Pétrus for 44 years. This wine certainly boasts its pedigree. Perfect balance and a long silky finish mean this wine belongs firmly in the classic tradition. One of the best value for money Bordeaux I have tasted this year.
Domaine Vallet Ritou Syrah 2016, 12.5% -
£13.50 £11.75 per bottle
A Saint-Joseph in all but name, made entirely from Syrah: the grape of choice in the northern Rhône. Anthony Vallet, a dynamic young winemaker with a lightness of touch, has crafted a charming early maturing wine. The undertones of blackberries and cherries make this wine ideal for the last few months of summer, and would complement a roast chicken or leg of lamb wonderfully. It’s also greater value for money than his more structured St Josephs and Condrieu - what more reason could you need to buy a case?
Greenhough Pinot Noir, Nelson 2016, 13.5% -
£18 £15.50 per bottle
This excellent New Zealand pinot noir has been produced for nearly a quarter of a century and has been certified organic for the past decade. We offered the previous vintage in this column last year. Located in Nelson, the northernmost wine region of New Zealand’s South Island, Jenny and Andrew Greenhough’s wine has become more attractive with each vintage. Showing more fruit than a red Burgundy, it has an open structure and confirms that fine pinot noir is no longer the exclusive preserve of France.
Montagny 1er Cru Perrières, Olivier Leflaive Frères 2016, 13% -
£23.70 £20.25 per bottle
Haynes Hanson and Clark have been selling Olivier Leflaive’s wines for more than 30 years and this is one of his most dependable. On first taste it drenches your palate with apricot notes, becoming honeyed in the aftertaste. From the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise just south of the more famous white Burgundy vineyards, Montagny offers real value for money, thanks to the perfectionism of Olivier Leflaive and Franck Grux, his head winemaker.
Domaine Pique Roque Rosé, Côtes de Provence 2017, 12.5% -
£12 £10.35 per bottle
This expressive rosé vineyard is located between Cannes and Aix-en-Provence and is surrounded by the herb infused garrigue. Like all good rosé, there is a subtlety of flavour and delicacy, which makes it the perfect drink on a hot summer's day. Owned by Englishman Max Hubbard, who started his wine career at Oddbins in London, he then spent a year in Australia before purchasing this vineyard nearly 20 years ago. Despite its overall brightness, there is an addictive creamy middle taste, balanced nicely with its clean aftertaste.
Reuilly La Ferté, Matthieu & Renaud Mabillot 2017, 13.5% -
£13.40 £11.50 per bottle
Reuilly is a small but fashionable Loire appellation of less than one square mile. Co-owner Matthieu Mabillot trained in Bordeaux, Napa and Barossa Valleys before returning home to work with brother Renaud on their 20 acres of vineyards. This is a gorgeous example of sauvignon blanc without the greenness of the New Zealand versions. It has the perfect combination of citric austerity with an aromatic backbone that excels with delicate fish, crustacea or oysters.