Two bottles from the Wine Society, a non-profit making organisation which is currently freezing or lowering prices, and four new offerings from Bordeaux, one of them a 2002 vintage, are today’s highlights.
The society has announced that after strong trading last year it has not put up prices in its latest list, and has reduced more than 300 of them.
Under its rules, any money it makes is ploughed straight back into the business for the benefit of its members. As a result, around £1m has been reinvested to keep prices down.
I tasted a couple of the wines on the list – the society’s website is www.thewinesociety.com Full marks for the elegant and fragrant claret which was the first to turn up in the post – The Society St Emilion 2008 (13.5 per cent, down from £10.95 to £9.95).
This is made by merlot specialists Jean-Pierre Moueix, and this grape is the main ingredient, plus some cabernet franc. Plenty of rich plummy tastes, with a little spice. Recommended.
The Society Exhibition St Aubin Rouge 2009 (13 per cent, down from £10.95 to £9.95) has a lovely aroma, and a fresh, light, delicate character. Pinot noir is the great red grape of Burgundy, and this easy-drinking, medium-bodied red is a nice example.
Meanwhile, back in the retailing arena and the foursome from Bordeaux, starting with a couple of beguiling clarets.
A warm welcome for Vieux Remparts 2009 Lussac St Emilion (13.5 per cent, £9.99, Majestic), a classy, fulsome red wine with intense black fruit flavours. It has a deep, earthy character and is nicely balanced. Would partner a good cheese board particularly well.
Nearly a decade of ageing, including 12 to 18 months in oak, has added to the complexities of Chateau Lamothe Bergeron 2002 (13 per cent, £16.99, Averys, www.averys.com).
It’s soft and velvety, with 55 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 45 per cent merlot, and generous blackberry and plum flavours, with touches of cedar and woodsmoke and an aroma suggesting vanilla. A wine for game or roast rib of beef.
Lower down the price range is Chateau David 2010 (13.5 per cent, £6.49, Sainsburys). Not as stylish as the couple of bottles previously mentioned, but a perfectly drinkable claret with merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, the traditional grapes of the region. A good wine for any red meat dishes.
From red to white, and Roquefortissime Chateau Roquefort 2008 (12 per cent, £12.99, Waitrose), comprising 80 per cent sauvignon blanc and 20 per cent semillon.
This soft, fresh, complex wine was matured in oak for ten months, leaving a light touch of vanilla among the creamy, fruity mix of pears and ripe apples, and aromas suggesting more tropical fruits. A good aperitif, or for drinking alongside white meat or fish dishes.