Spectator Wine Club

By Hoggart, Simon | The Spectator, August 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Spectator Wine Club


Hoggart, Simon, The Spectator


IT is always a joy to go to Adnams on the Suffolk coast. The company, which has long made superb beers, is now a successful wine merchant too, and if you're lucky enough to be in Southwold you can visit its handsomely refurbished shop and enjoy its tastings, which are on every day. It's quite a social centre in this prosperous neck of the woods. I remember one local grande dame sitting in a basket chair and demanding ,some more of that excellent Burgundy, please', as a friend filled her glass to the brim. They are generous hosts.

My business was upstairs, where in the tasting-room Adnams's fine-wine buyer, Rob Chase, had produced no fewer than 39 excellent bottles from which to select this month's offer for Spectator readers. It was an almost impossible choice, made only slightly easier by my decision to select seven wines. The sample case contains 15: three of the cheapest white and two each of the rest. It also demonstrates what incredible advances are being made in Spain and southern France.

The first white is a Basa, Rueda Blanco 2001(1) from Spain. It's made from the Spanish grapes Verdejo and Viura, with just a dash of Sauvignon Blanc to give it extra zip; thus it is soft, mellow, fruity and with a hint of vanilla and greengages, though that may be my imagination. This is a smashing glugging wine (Adnams staff drink vast quantities; cheat them by getting in first), with 9 per cent knocked off the price to bring it down to just L4.50.

Another generous discount brings the Chateau des Eyssards 2001 from Bergerac(2) down to L4.95. This is crisp, yet perfumed, with perhaps a touch of gooseberries. I was a little unimpressed at first but left it in the glass for ten minutes, and then found it utterly delicious. Always remember that white wines need a bit of air just as much as reds.

The Vega Sindoa Chardonnay 1999(3) from Spain is, I think, rather sensational. …

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