Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Article excerpt

This winter we had a fine weekend in Whitstable, Kent. It is, I suppose, the middle-class Margate, though in the spot where there isn't a funfair there's a big asphalt factory instead. This does not add to the charm. On either side, however, there are brightly painted beach huts, fishermen's cottages, narrow streets packed with charming shops and quayside stalls selling the freshest seafood. Here we ate one of the most delicious snacks I have ever enjoyed: a hot kipper, slathered in butter, served in a warm brown bun.

The event was a friend's significant birthday. Her husband had rented a large converted fisherman's shed. Here all 20 of us gathered for drinks before going for a blowout at one of the town's innumerable restaurants where we would eat delectable marine life in many forms.

As our aperitif, I had taken along several bottles suggested for this offer by Private Cellar, one of our most popular merchants.

They sell a range of classic French wines, but also some of the best from the New World.

They all went down well, but these were the favourites and I think you too will be very pleased with the selection.

Our first white is Les Rafelieres Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (1). This is not a Sancerre, but it comes from the same neck of the woods and it's made from the same grape. It is blazing with fruity flavours - a wine you can drink through an evening without ever getting weary of it. Reduced to £7.75, it's at least £5 a bottle cheaper than a quality Sancerre, and you would be hard put to tell the difference.

Next is one of our - and the world's - great favourites. Dr Ernst Loosen bought the Villa Wolf in Pfalz in 1996, and set about creating a range of original, almost hand-crafted wines. His Pinot Gris 2007 (2) was created to be more powerful than spindly Italian PG, but less intense than the PG from neighbouring Alsace. It is a lovely, silky, delectable wine and it costs just £8. …

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