Bruce Palling, Wine Editor of The Week Wines, has chosen six top quality wines from Lea & Sandeman to get 2018 off to a good start
Our January wine offer is brought to you by Lea & Sandeman: one of the most trusted names amongst British wine merchants. They offer both investment advice for fine wines and a huge array of bottles to consume for more immediate pleasure. Given that this is one of the coldest times of the year, I have focused more on reds than whites, with some exceptional robust wines to see through the winter, such as the Domaine Roche Cairanne and the Acústic Montsant. Whatever your taste, these wines are somewhat more distinctive than the usual offerings for wine clubs, where the lowest possible price seems to be a dominant factor. That said, these wines are not expensive for the quality they possess, so I hope you find something that delivers what we all desire – value for money rather than a nondescript budget wine. The prices detailed on this page are per bottle and savings are exclusive to The Week Wines. See the full collection here.
Editor, The Week Wines
Domaine Roche Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015 (15%)
This was a revelation. One of the most impressive Côtes du Rhône I have ever tasted, with incredible power and complexity. I was also amazed to discover that it contained 15% alcohol, as there is nothing spirit-y or over-alcoholic in the taste. Being a southern Rhône, it is predominantly made of the Grenache grape with 25% Syrah, the dominant grape of the northern Rhône. Perhaps a clue to its quality lies in the fact that the vines are on average more than 50 years old. The family running the estate have been here since the early seventeenth century, but they only wrested back control of their grapes from the local co-operative in 2009. They have created a superb wine, which should provide plenty of comfort in the darker days of January. Click here to buy.
Château Fourcas Dupré Listrac Haut-Medoc 2010 (13%)
It is not often you come across a 2010 vintage Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux in this price bracket. Fourcas Dupré hails from Listrac, one of the six communal appellations of Médoc and usually comes into its own after a decade and can last at least that long again. Composed primarily of equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it is made in a rich earthy style and should be decanted at least two hours before drinking. Ideal with any roast meat or game. Click here to buy.
Caburnio Tenuta Monteti Tuscany 2013 (13.5%)
Owned by Paolo Baratta, the Cambridge-educated head of the Venice Biennale, Caburnio is one of the great bargains amongst contemporary Tuscan wines. Like the other more famous Super-Tuscans, this is a blend of non-Italian grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with the addition of the Alicante-Bouschet grape variety. It has a brightness yet possesses considerable depth of fruit with no annoying leanness. Lea & Sandeman have been championing this great value wine since it first appeared just over a decade ago. Perfectly approachable now, it will continue to improve beyond the end of the decade. Click here to buy.
Acústic Vinyes Velles Nobles Montsant 2014 (15%)
I was bowled over by this wine, which is from an obscure Spanish region, which surrounds the far more renowned Priorat in Catalunya. Owner Albert Ubeda is an obsessive traditionalist and uses grapes from 40 to 75 year old vineyards to make this gutsy wine with layers and layers of black fruit that saturates the palate. Do not be concerned about its 15% alcoholic level as it has so much body that it is entirely cloaked. It is 80% Carignan and 20% Grenache, both mainstays of southern Rhône wines in France. Click here to buy.
Macon Charnay Vielles Vignes Christophe Cordier 2015 (13.5%)
Wedged between Beaujolais and the Côte d’Or, Macon has been making a comeback, especially as it is a bargain compared with the better known white Burgundies. Christophe Cordier buys in his grapes from the same source as Verget, one of the greatest and most innovative Burgundy producers. The 2015 has a superb freshness and delicacy, despite being made from 50-year-old vines. There is a charming apple like crispness in its aftertaste. It would work best with shellfish or as an aperitif. Click here to buy.
2016 Adega dos Eidos de Padriñan Albariño (13%)
Lea & Sandeman have been purchasing this wine from the Galicia region of Spain for the past 12 years. Uncommonly powerful, it has winning combination of depth of fruit with a pleasing minerality and clean ending. It will keep for a couple of more years, but best to consume now as it has such freshness and vibrancy. It would happily go with any seafood and would be perfect with a strong dish such as bouillabaisse, but to me it would be especially winning with crab or a fleshy fish such as Turbot or Monkfish. Click here to buy.