Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Article excerpt

I was lucky enough to attend the 650th anniversary dinner for the Vintners' Company last month. Some of the greatest winemakers in the world (Edouard Moueix, Aubert de Villaine of RomaneeConti, Patrice Noyelle of Pol Roger - wow! ), the most distinguished merchants, the most feted wine writers. As the silly phrase has it, I felt proud and humbled to be there. And as Jancis Robinson said, the wines we drank were far, far better than they would have been back in 1363.

It's a guess, but I suspect none of the stuff imported then would have made it into a modern supermarket, including their two for £3.99 range. Even over the past decade, standards have shot up.

Take this offer from Private Cellar, where Laura Taylor and Amanda Skinner have cut prices sharply, partly to introduce you to new wines, partly to clear stock.

The luscious 2008 Bishop's Head Riesling, £9.25 from Waipara, New Zealand (1), is reduced by £46 a case, to make way for the new vintage. This has a fullness, a roundness, a plumpness which sits beautifully with the heady and spritzy smack of Riesling. Frankly, I would drink it up this summer - it may start to go over the hill later - but what pleasure it will bring you! …

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