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Spectator WINE club SIMON HOGGART

This is an extraordinary offer from the tremendous Tanners of Shrewsbury. (Apparently, whereas most of us pronounce the town to rhyme with ‘throwsbry’, local people say it as if it were named after the tiny shrew. And older local people leave out the letter ‘r’, so it sounds like Shoes-bury. Just filling you in.)

Robert Boutflower of Tanners and his colleagues have come up with some amazingly good wines at amazingly good prices. Some of these I found hard to believe as we sat in the garden on one of the few nice days in the early part of this month, working our way through a dozen delicious bottles. Take the Tummil Flat Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (1) from Marlborough. Given that you can pay over £10 for what is no more than a serviceable New Zealand Sauvignon, this struck us all as astonishing value at £6.25. It’s crisp, lemony, and full of zest. A perfect party wine, not least because your guests will assume that you are even more generous than they thought.

Then again, when did you find a really nice, drinkable white Burgundy selling at — wait for it — £7.96 a bottle? This MâconVergisson Les Roches 2009 (2) is made by Nadine and Maurice Guerrin, and it really delivers. It has that fragrance of good Burgundy, the much-loved steely elegance, together with real fruit flavour. It would make a great dinner party wine — or, given its price, something you could drink every day after work.A serious treat.

As is the Sirch Pinot Grigio 2008 (3) from the Colli Orientale del Friuli, in the far north-east corner of Italy, almost walking distance from Slovenia (which also makes great wines, but that’s another story).Wines from this neck of the woods can cost a fortune, so at £9.41 this is another great bargain. It’s packed with subtle yet rich flavour, and is about as far as you can get from the kind of weedy Pinot Grigio served up in oldfashioned Italian restaurants with unchanging leather-bound menus and pepper mills the size of the Post Office tower. If we have an Indian summer this year, you should take several cold bottles of this along for your last picnic.

Now for the reds. Château Musar is rightly regarded as the jewel of Lebanese wines, and that means something since some people believe that the first wines in the world were made in the Levant. But other wine-makers are catching up, and one of the biggest names is now Massaya, also made from grapes grown in the Bekaa Valley.This Classic Red 2007 (4) is composed of 60 per cent Cinsault, plus equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, which gives it a feel of the south of France, yet with an added spicy, Oriental twist. It’s deliciously silky, too, so you could enjoy this on its own, or with any red meat, or with the cheese course. Again, excellent value at £8.03.

A few weeks ago I mentioned Ken Dodd’s word‘plumptious’ to describe a wine with a full, fat, juicy body to it. The Ampelo Primitivo-Merlot from Taranto 2008, made in the heel of Italy (5) is as plumptious as you can get. Like the best Italian reds it has rich, almost overripe cherry and plum flavours. Plummy and plump, what more do you want? A lovely drop at just £7.87 — if you doubt my word, order the taster case and you’ll be quickly converted.

Finally, my lifetime quest for goodvalue claret has reached another milestone. This Ch. Semonlon 2007 (6) comes from the Haut-Médoc and it’s made with hand-picked grapes from old vines.The result is a soft and hugely appealing claret, smoky and cedary, vinified to glide gently and painlessly down your throat. Bordeaux lovers who are fed up with paying high prices for thin, tannic wines, should snap up quantities of this.

Delivery as always is free, and there is a sample case containing two of each wine. Try it quickly —my guess is that you’ll want to buy plenty more at the offer price.

DER FORM Spectator Wine Offer www.spectator.co.uk/wine-club Tanners Wines Ltd, 26 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1XD Tel: 01743 234455; Fax: 01743 234456; Email: sales@tanners-wines.co.uk

Price No.

White 1 Tummil Flat Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, ’09 £75.00 2 Mâcon-Vergisson Les Roches, ’09 £95.52 3 Sirch Pinot Grigio, Colli Orientale del Friuli, ’08 £112.92 Red 4 Massaya Classic Red, Bekaa Valley, ’07 £96.36 5 Ampelo Primitivo-Merlot, Taranto, ’08 £94.44 6 Ch. Semonlon, Haut-Médoc, ’07 £100.56 Mixed 7 Sample case, including two each of the above £95.80

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Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to Tanners Wine Ltd, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 30 October 2010.

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the spectator | 18 September 2010 | www.spectator.co.uk

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