When any wine on our list gets down to that last remaining pallet our warehouse manager emails me, and other winos in the office. To him, he’s got a problem. Just a few boxes on a pallet … waste of space. To us, it’s a last opportunity to try wines with a bit of bottle age. We like that.
It’s now occurred to me that you might too.
Here’s what I got last week. With notes and – because our finance department always takes the side of the warehouse manager – some particularly silly prices.
And another daft price. £78 off a great Jim Barry wine. I’m getting a case myself because in my cellar I can’t find any more of their Armagh which I bought way back last century when it was still quite affordable. Before it went iconic. I remember meeting the great man. He Was prepared to stand on a barrel to please my pushy photographer. Nothing grand about him. I am very fond of Aussie wineries where the family is still there. Because most aren’t. They’re just brands now. But this lot are very much there … currently Halliday’s Winery of the Year. Don’t get higher than that.
I was right. I said this wine needed a bit more time. If you’ve still got some, then clever you. We mostly sell Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. As you’d expect. And with Sauvignon the trick is to get it as fresh as possible when the flavour volume knob is turned right up to ten… or eleven. It’s the opposite for Chardonnay which always needs time for its flavours to emerge. Word round the office last week was ‘get the last cases’. We first shipped their Chardonnay in 1984 alongside Hunters Sauvignon Blanc, the stunning wine that first put Marlborough and indeed New Zealand on the wine map. Back then, the Chardonnay got eclipsed. No longer.
Pass this off easily fine expensive burgundy … it will get even more so.
You could pay £100 for a wine like this. Many do. Jancis Robinson MW calls Spain’s Ribera del Duero “the red wine miracle of northern Spain”. Hot sun and high altitude, make for grapes of ripeness, power, and freshness, too … the perfect combination for fine, complex reds that will age superbly. This fabulous wine comes from the ‘Golden Mile’. A steep, well drained stretch above the Duero river is where all the famous names have vines, including Viñedos Alión, Vega Sicilia, and Finca Villacreces, who made this wine – their top wine fetches £100. This is a single vineyard ‘special’ made as a gift to us for our golden anniversary last year. With only a few cases left we are offering it on at a gift price to you. Move fast though. Half a pallet.
The Angove family now on generation 6 have been as important and groundbreaking as any family in Australian wine. But their key success has been to still be a family winery. The vast majority of old family wineries have been taken over and absorbed into one of the four huge groups who do 80% of Australian wine. Only the names remain. Not the people. But… that’s Not the case with the Angoves. I really admire them. And I like them. And their restrained, classy wines. This Merlot has done extremely well for us but we are down to the last few cases so grab them quick.
• Vina Izardi Reserva 2015 – sold out
No brainer. Last few cases reduced by £78 for no logical reason that I can see. This is one of the coolest Rioja names around. Maybe the coolest. Apart Altos of course. Hip young sommeliers have the hots for Ruth Rodriguez and her showpiece cellar, built into its hillside, and lavishly equipped for producing nothing but the finest wines from top quality, old vine, grapes. A Wine & Spirits magazine ‘World’s Top 100 wineries’. 22 months in French oak casks, the Reserva 2015’s massive concentration is thanks to 50 year old vines.
From Languedoc in the South of France.
A Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault blend that we made ourselves. ..each variety grown on the type of earth that produces the best result for it; namely Schist, Granite and Clay (over Limestone) based soils. So this wine’s initial working title; ‘SGC’ turned out to be doubly appropriate…and has done very well. Made only with concentrated, small grapes grown in patches where there’s nothing that looks much like soil. We have searched out such places for 40 years now.The real deal. Barrel aged for 18 months. And now with three years’ bottle age. Big, 14.5% vol. Complex
• Calos Reserve Malbec – sold out
From the cellar at Parnac, Cahors, which supplied one of the six great little wines which launched the Sunday Times Wine Club in 1973. Malbec, back then, was an obscure grape variety known only to wine buffs but it sure isn’t now, thanks to Argentina. Big, gutsy, black Malbec is now hugely popular worldwide. Cellars like this in Cahors, SW France, the birthplace of Malbec, have responded by changing their methods and, aided by global warming, now produce a softer, rounder style of red. You’d never mistake this wine for an Argentinian, it’s distinctly French, more restrained, made to match a nice bit of beef rather than blow it off the plate. After four years bottle age this wine is perfect. And will certainly be gone in a week at this price.