Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Article excerpt

Corney & Barrow is one of our grandest wine merchants. I have a fantasy that it began with Jim Corney, who had a barrow in Oxford Street, from which he sold knock-off Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (actually Romanian Pinot). As business grew, he went legit, and within a few years, like the hero of a Jeffrey Archer novel, Jim was selling the finest, perfectly genuine wines to the quality.

A fantasy, as I say. But they do sell some gorgeous wines. At a tasting this month, in the Tower of London, I was caught by one table in particular: the selection of French regional wines. I have been banging the drum for these at length, and they get better every year. C&B sell no cheap rubbish, but these wines are fantastic value.

Take the Les Escasses 2009 (1) from Gascony - gorgeous, smooth, slightly perfumed and with a long finish. All from the Colombard grape! Reduced to £6.45 it is perfect for everyday drinking, but would be quite up to a dinner party.

We have offered La Combe de Grinou from Bergerac (2) before, always with considerable success, since it is a classic Bordeaux blend: 60 per cent Semillon and 40 per cent Sauvignon Blanc. …

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