Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Article excerpt

I'm just back from my annual trip to Adnams of Southwold. It's one of those events that makes the end of summer rather more tolerable.

Their shop in town (they are soon expanding into other parts of booming East Anglia) is cool, elegant and stuffed with exciting wines which Adnams' buyers have found all over the world. A tasting of a few dozen wines is followed by lunch at the Crown Hotel, which has some of the best food in the region. And I am invariably spoiled for choice; every single one of the wines they suggested this year was of the highest standard, and trimming the number to eight was almost impossible.

But we did it. Alastair Marshall and Rob Chase are offering generous discounts, usually 10 per cent, starting with the wonderful Sauvignon Blanc 2005 1from Casa Rivas in the Maipo Valley. The terroir here is more or less perfect for growing vines. It's divided into small individual parcels of land, all of which bring different qualities to the wine. Even at a ridiculously low £4.79, it has depth and complexity.

Adnams' own-label wines are remarkably good value too, and I am astonished that their white Burgundy (2005) 2costs a mere £6.99. It is rounded, nutty, buttery and floral, and almost as good as many famous and expensive names from this neck of the woods. It is also, surprisingly, better than many pricier Oz Chardonnays.

Soave can be one of those depressing wines served in the kind of Italian restaurant where the giant peppermill substitutes for flair in the cooking. Not this Soave Classico Superiore, Pieve Vecchia 2002 3, which is utterly delicious. It is rich and powerful, aged in oak, and has gorgeous notes of vanilla and lemon. It will improve further after being opened. Alastair has knocked £20 off each case, to bring it down to £10.33. Thoroughly recommended.

I can't recall offering readers a dessert wine 4before, so this is a treat. It is made for Adnams to Alastair's own specifications at the celebrated Plaimont co-op in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and he is justly proud of his creation: 'aromas of mandarins and candied citrus peel. …

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