Whatever happens as a result of the Brexit vote, wine prices are bound to rise so if you’re visiting France this summer it’s a good moment to stock up for the months ahead.
In my Guardian column this week I’ve flagged up some of the wines I’d buy at the Wine Society’s outpost at Montreuil which sadly closes at the end of this year. Here are eight more you might want to put in your trolley if you're a Society member (which is very much worth the initial one-off £40 joining fee*)
The first price is the price at Montreuil, the second the UK price on the Wine Society’s list. You’ll obviously need to calculate the saving you’re making at the point of purchase given that the exchange rate seems to change every day at the moment but you should save at least £24 a case
Les Pierres Bordes Marsanne-Viognier, Pays d’Oc 2015 12% €4.60/£5.75
A full-flavoured, slightly spicy Rhone-ish white at an extraordinarily good price. Would be great with summer barbecues.
Muscadet was one of the first French wines I fell in love with and this is a textbook example - still amazingly fresh and crisp even though it’s almost 3 years old. Ideal with fresh shellfish like oysters and crab.
The Society’s Exhibition Albarino Rias Baixas 2015 13% €12.45/£11.95
The price differential isn’t quite as great on this popular Spanish white, part of the Society’s top end ‘exhibition range’ but any saving is worth having and it’s among of the best 2015 albarinos I’ve tasted. Perfect for a simply cooked piece of grilled fish
Domaine Cordier, Maçon aux bois d’Allier 2014 13% €11.10/£10.95
Really classy white burgundy with far more finesse than the average Maçon. I’m thinking scallops …
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Côte de Py 2014 13% €13.20/£12.50
An exotically rich, spicy, almost smoky Beaujolais that should please natural wine enthusiasts though, don’t get me wrong, it’s not weird. Needs food (bavette, I suggest) and aerating but really delicious.
The Society’s Sicilian Reserve Red 2013 13.5% €6.75/£7.50
Big, boisterous but not in any way crude. Perfect for pizza and gutsy pasta sauces with tomatoes, aubergines or olives
Momo Vendimia Seleccionada Ribera del Duero 2012 14% €9.25/£9.50
If you’re a rioja - or even a malbec - fan you’ll love this big, rich generous plummy red. Made for steak.
Weinert Carrascal Mendoza 2010 (14.5%) €7.95/£8.50
If you like mature wines such as reserva and gran reserva riojas here’s a chance to buy one of Argentina’s classics - a blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and merlot - at a brilliant price. Would make great autumn drinking with feathered game or slow cooked lamb shoulder.
* of which you get £20 back off your first UK order. More details here.
I travelled to Montreuil as a guest of the Wine Society.
Gin isn’t the only drink you can serve with tonic and this is the perfect time of year to try a delicious alternative: white port. Which, as I’m sure you know, comes from the Douro region of Portugal.
At 20% rather than 40%, it's lighter (and sweeter) than gin so you need rather more of it - about 40/60 I’d say (although the Taylor’s website recommends 1/3 to 2/3). Simply pour both drinks into a tumblerful of ice, stir and top with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. Simple and incredibly refreshing.
You can find it on special offer at Ocado at the moment for £10.63 instead of £13.29 which is the price Waitrose is currently charging but that still compares well with other stockists who are typically listing it for between £15 and £16.
Although it’s a drink you’d have Portuguese-style as an aperitif it’s also a great match with melon and ham.
I don’t often pick a wine you can’t buy in the UK for my wine of the week but as it’s Canada Day I’m making an exception. (Plus there are regular Canadian visitors to the site who may be able to get their hands on it. Lucky them!)
It was one of the highlights of my recent trip to the Okanagan Valley. Tantalus specialises in riesling but this sparkling version which costs 34.70 CA$ (£20.70 at the current rate of exchange) from the winery + shipping is quite exceptional, with true riesling character, gorgeous lime-streaked fruit and an incredible persistence and minerality. The vines which were planted back in 1978 are grown without recourse to herbicides or pesticides
I'd drink it as an aperitif with some south-east Asian-style nibbles
Cheeringly I have discovered that an outfit called Tour de Force, which specialises in Canadian wine, does import the rest of their range into the UK including the 2013 Old Vines Riesling, which is also amazing, for an admittedly pricey £34.99. They also supply a number of top restaurants including Social Wine and Tapas which has it on their list. (How about putting it on by the glass, fellas?)
In the meantime if you’re curious to find out what sparkling riesling tastes like Laithwaites is stocking a delicately, grapey, honeyed sekt from Von Buhl in the Pfalz at £18.99 which would make delicious summer drinking (and a welcome break from prosecco). Avery's, bizarrely given that it's part of the same group, charges £23.99.
Just because it's Father's Day coming up doesn't mean you have to break the bank, especially if you're buying wines for a family lunch with him in mind.
Here are 10 wines I've picked out that would fit the bill - depending on your dad, of course ...
Montenovo Godello 2015, Valdesil, Valdeorras £9.99 Majestic or £8.99 on a mix six deal.
If Godello is good enough for Obama surely it’s good enough for your pa? A big rich generous white from Northern Spain that will appeal if he’s a chardonnay fan.
Les Chartrons 2014 Bordeaux 12.5% on offer at £6.39 at Waitrose
Bordeaux is looking really good value these days, especially when it’s on special offer. At this price you could even afford to buy the old man a case!
Reserve des Hospitaliers Cairanne 2014 on offer at £7.49 at Waitrose
Handsome looking bottle - and contents - that would keep your dad more than happy if he’s a Chateauneuf-du-Pape fan. Big, generous and spicy.
Perrin Vinsobres ‘Les Cornuds’ 2013 £8.99 the Co-operative
A similar red from the Southern Rhone - a rich, peppery blend of grenache and syrah. Great value.
Paz Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2014 Argentina 14% £8.49 The Co-operative
Big heavy bottle, full-bodied, American style. Fair amount of oak (15 months in new oak)
Chianti Montalbano, Medici Riccardi 2014 13% £6.49 Lidl
One of the limited edition wines that Lidl has taken on for the summer so I can’t guarantee they’ll have it in your local store. Worth checking though it's streets better than most of the Chianti available at this price and the bottle looks pukka too
Dominum QP Rioja Reserva 2008 14% £9.95 The Wine Society
Even if you’re a member of the Wine Society you won’t be able to get your hands on this excellent mature Rioja before Sunday unless you live near their showroom in Stevenage but it would absolutely fit the bill. Apparently it came top of the Wine Soc’s Rioja tasting
Bodegas Nekeas La Vida Tempranillo Cabernet 2014, Navarra Spain £8.75 Morrisons
If your dad likes rioja he’ll almost certainly like this very similar red from neighbouring Navarra. Smooth and mellow.
Noster Nobilis Priorat 2013 14.5% Asda £7.98
Another good Spanish buy, this time from the highly regarded region of Priorat. A big ripe, full-bodied blend of garnacha, carinena and cabernet sauvignon that needs a steak or roast dinner to show at its best.
Grape Grinder ‘The Milkwood’ Shiraz Viognier 2013 14% £7.75 Oddbins
A really delicious ripe Aussie-style shiraz from South Africa that delivers far more than the price would suggest. Looks cool too. New in so might not have reached your branch yet. Hoping so.
Rioja remains one of the most popular reds in the UK, not least because of its price, and there are two bargains right now that any rioja-lover should snap up.
Majestic has 25% off all riojas this weekend which brings their gold medal-winning* own label 2009 Definition Rioja Reserva down to £8.99 if you buy six bottles instead of the ‘normal’ price of £11.99 (though admittedly it’s usually discounted to £9.99 on the ‘mix six’ deal). That’s a really good price for a nearly seven year old wine that still shows plenty of opulent ripe fruit. Unusually it’s aged in French and Caucasian barrels rather than the usual - for Rioja - French oak. One for your Sunday roast.
The other is a more unusual wine from Sainsbury’s - the Taste the Difference Graciano 2014 which actually comes from La Mancha, not Rioja, but is made from one of the grapes used in the Rioja region. It’s a younger wine - a deep, exotic, fragrant red that would work well if you were cooking a middle-eastern Ottolengi-ish lamb dish and is fantastically good value at £6 a bottle with a further 25% off from next Tuesday if you buy six. So just £4.50 - a no-brainer really.
I’ll be posting my selection of Sainsbury’s wines early next week so you can take advantage of that offer.
*At this year’s International Wine Challenge