This September, our wine editor Bruce Palling has chosen six wines from Private Cellar.
"I have been buying wines from Andrew Gordon for nearly 30 years — firstly when he was sales director of Corney & Barrow and latterly from him at Private Cellar in Cambridgeshire, which he founded in 2005. For one reason or another, I hadn’t made the journey there until this summer, when I took the train to Ely to visit the glorious cathedral, before making my way to Private Cellar. This thriving business has ten senior staff specialising in all the major wine regions of the world. This means that virtually every vineyard on their lists has been visited by a staff member, who then keeps in touch with the wine makers both in their country of origin and when they come to Britain for private dinners and tastings.
All of this background adds to the confidence the team have when they choose a wine, with some of them being on the list since day one while new ones make their appearance each year if they make a strong enough statement. What with the uncertainty we face post-Brexit, it is reassuring to know that Andrew and his team will be doing everything in their power to maintain their supply of first rate wines at modest prices. More and more, a wine merchant has to search beyond the predictable and regular suppliers to find something that is both special and excellent value — something Private Cellar have managed to achieve.
Prices shown below are per bottle, based on purchasing a case of twelve. Personally I'd go for the mixed case so you can try them all, then follow up with a case or two of your favourites. As always, you can get FREE delivery to mainland UK addresses. "
Wine Editor, The Week Wines
Côteaux Bourguignons Domaine Truchetet 2015, France
£14.50 per bottle / £174 per case of 12 (was £180)
I fell in love with this on the first sip. It’s a delightful blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, the backbone of Beaujolais. From the exceptional 2015 vintage, Bourgogne-Passe-Tout-Grains is not that well known beyond France, which is a pity because the combination of these two grape varieties gives it a freshness with a bit of zing. Very enjoyable by itself, with enough body to go with light food and even fish.
Ique Malbec, Bodegas Foster, Mendoza 2014
£9.95 per bottle / £119.40 per case of 12 (was £135)
Named after owner Enrique Foster, this is a pure expression of the Malbec grape, which is now the dominant variety in Argentina. From the famous Mendoza region, no oak is used, so it has a delightful smoothness with a hint of violets. Very moreish and a bargain at the price. I also love their passion for organic farming, which includes using pheromones to sexually confuse any nasty bugs so as to prevent them proliferating!
Negroamaro, Masseria Altemura, IGT Salento, Puglia 2015
£12.45 per bottle / £149.40 per case of 12 (was £163.80)
This Puglian wine has class – it was formerly served in BA’s European first class cabins. Made entirely from the local grape variety Negroamaro, it is quite herbal on the nose and spends 12 months in barrel to add to its character. It has plump fruit overtones with very little tannin but a superb dry finish, which means it would be a fantastic accompaniment to delicate cheeses as well as meat dishes.
Arneis delle Langhe, Rocche Costamagna 2016
£12.75 per bottle / £153 per case of 12 (was £167.40)
Arneis is making a comeback in Piedmont, where it was originally planted to attract birds with its strong smell, so they would leave the more expensive Nebbiolo grape alone. It is made in stainless steel with no oak, which gives it a delightful floral and pear aftertaste. There is a nice weight to it and because of its mouth cleansing attributes, is an ideal wine to drink with food.
Pouilly Fumé, Domaine Thibault, André Dezat 2017
£16.95 per bottle / £203.40 per case of 12 (was £215.40)
Better known for their Sancerre, the Dezat family actually has as many Sauvignon vines in the Pouilly Fumé appellation. Though they are both made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, this wine has more complexity and durability. There is a whiff of asparagus on the nose with a wonderfully delicate floral follow through — more obvious finesse than the more intense Antipodean versions — and with a richness that is remarkably attractive.
Mâcon Uchizy, M & B Talmard 2017
£13.50 per bottle / £162 per case of 12 (was £174)
There is a major shift of interest in Burgundy towards the lesser-known and more modestly priced Mâconnais, both white and red. Domaine Talmard make a number of approachable Chardonnays, this being the most attractive, with its floral elements overlaying a racy, pure, thirst quenching style. The Talmard family have been in the wine trade for four centuries and are well placed to take advantage of the growing interest in this region.