Magazine article The Spectator

Wine to Die For

Magazine article The Spectator

Wine to Die For

Article excerpt

The absence of any red burgundy from this offer (I do not count the Chiroubles as burgundy) has meant that we can keep the average price on the mixed case to L5.43 delivered. Burgundy prices are now an insult to human intelligence. The region will have to wait until closer to Christmas, when we are all drunk. In place of a white burgundy, Longford has found a very agreeable classic chardonnay from the Drome (1) at L4.95. All the panel liked it. One visiting French nobleman - a prince, no less - opined that it would be pleasant in summer for pre-lunch drinking, possibly to be taken with olives. I feel it would be pleasant with almost anything. If the Rhone can produce such delicate chardonnay as this, the days of chablis and all but the grandest white burgundy must be numbered.

Next, a semillon-sauvignon from McLaren Vale in south-east Australia, mysteriously called Lavinia(2). It is slightly more expensive than the French wine, at L5.70, but good Australian whites tend to be expensive, and this one is a beaut nice touch of grapefruit in the sauvignon and nothing wrong with it anywhere.

Those were the only two whites we could find this month. Marienberg also produces a very fine semillon-chardonnay, but we could not get the price below L6.25 and I judged punters would prefer the slighter, French chardonnay at under L 5.

Our first red is a conspicuously light summer wine from Tricastin, in the southern Rhone(3). One could drink it cool at a party, or with bouillabaisse, for that matter, in place of a rose. It is as well to be suspicious of roses. They are often made from red and white mixed together. The prince vouchsafed that he found the Tricastin highly sympathetic. So did a Devon carpenter. At L4.50 it should be popular.

A nasty price jump for the Chiroubles(4) from Clerget does not mean it is any less of a bargain. One may hesitate before paying L5. …

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