Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Baroffer

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Baroffer

Article excerpt

I went to a tasting of Napa Valley wines the other day.

Many of them were excellent. They were also very expensive. This type of conversation could be heard at various tables.

Wine writer or buyer: Your Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious.

How much will it retail for here?

Winemaker: Now, let me see. Around £70. A bottle, that is.

Writer: What?

So it was with some relief that I went the next day to my old friends at Stone, Vine & Sun, a small Winchester-based company that's winning lots of well-deserved awards.

Oz Clarke claims, and I have no reason to doubt it, that he is always coming across their buyers in obscure regions of France, nosing out new, unknown delights. That's why this Mini-bar has a theme: the hidden treasures of France.

Touraine isn't strictly speaking hidden, though I doubt if you have heard of this Domaine de l'Aumonier 2004 1, a lovely Sauvignon Blanc with all the celebrated grass and gooseberries, plus a rich, almost creamy fruitiness. At only £5.75 a bottle it is far cheaper than its more famous neighbour, Sancerre, though it would take a finicky palate to tell the difference.

Now to the south, and the Costières de Nîmes, an appellation just by the Camargue. …

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