The Bunch is a group of seven top UK independent wine merchants, established in 1993, which champions grower-led wines whilst protecting and responding to the interests of UK wine consumers. HH&C was invited to join The Bunch in 2019 and as such we have been able to enjoy the group’s regular meetings and participate in the annual – very popular – Bunch Journalist Tasting, which this year took place at The Groucho Club in London. This event is a rare and precious opportunity for the press to taste 10 wines from each member under one roof – the members of The Bunch being Yapp Brothers, Tanners, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Adnams, Private Cellar and HH&C.
This week we were thrilled to read Matthew Jukes’s ebullient notes on no fewer than 5 of our wines which made his favourite 13 of the tasting:
2021 Muscadet, Sèvre et Maine sur lie, Domaine de la Chauvinière, Loire, France (£10.95, reduced to £9.75 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk)
One of the least expensive wines on the day with one of the highest scores; I cannot fault the flavour or energy in this smashing wine. It is a cut above every Muscadet I can think of, and the case price ducks under a tenner – phenomenal. Keen, lively, racy and pure, this is your go-to light white for all-day glugging this season. Note that 30% of the fruit goes through a short skin-contact technique, and I imagine that this immeasurably enhances the class of the finished product – genius.
2021 Anjou Blanc, Domaine Cady, Loire, France (£13.65, reduced to £12.10 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk)
This was my joint highest-scoring wine of the day, and look at the price! Knockout quality, from this little-known appellation, this is the wine to take to a dinner party as it pairs exquisitely with a vast array of dishes. Shaped like a Premier Cru Chablis but with mellow and more welcoming tones of pear and apple, this is an organically-grown beauty and a Burgundy-obliterating wine at £13.65, let alone the case price. Take the plunge and broaden your horizons; you will not regret it.
2020 Chablis, Côte de Léchet, Domaine Daniel Dampt, Burgundy, France (£25.85, reduced to £22.95 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk)
You might wonder why this wine makes the page at nearly twice the price of the Anjou Blanc, given my Burgundy-bashing note above. The answer is that one has to pay up for serious white Burgundy these days, so the wines I recommend from this region are truly world-class and worth every penny. Of course, the Anjou is more appropriate for everyday duties while not dropping your standards of taste and elegance, but when the time comes to show off, please be very selective about the wines you buy. This Chablis has a flavour that soars over its price, making it about as high a price I feel is necessary to pay for dinner party entertaining in these challenging times. The wine is celestial; perfectly balanced, generous, silky-smooth, and with white-knuckle tension on the finish. It is a wine of rare beauty, and I hope you grab a few bottles to see what I mean.
2021 Juliénas, Domaine de Forétal, Beaujolais, France (£14.65, reduced to £13.00 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk)
A new find for HH&C, I dived into the 2020 stock and went crazy, so I was anxious to see how this 2021 performed. This was, by far and away, the finest value ‘light red’ of the 70 wines on show. Certainly edgier and more youthful, this is another gem of a Gamay, made from 45-year-old vines and bursting with vibrant cherry and mulberry fruit. This is your emergency red for the autumn/winter season, but be sure to buy enough to take you around into spring because it will inevitably mellow and soften over the coming six months.
2019 Scorpo Estate, Shiraz, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia (£28.50, reduced to £25.25 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk)
The third wine with an immense score from HH&C is a model cool-climate Aussie Shiraz with more perfume and bright fruit than an ocean liner of Crozes-Hermitage and more silkiness and allure than a battleship of red Burgundy. The wines from Mornington tend to tread an invisible line between the Rhône and Burgundy, whether they are made from Shiraz or Pinot Noir. Scorpo, of course, makes both styles, so it is inevitable that this Shiraz, made by ‘Pinot hands’, has a sensual texture and a gentler and more civilised demeanour than a typical hot climate style. Thrilling and drinking already, despite its youth, this is a brilliant autumnal red.
Matthew Juke’s whole article can be read here: https://www.matthewjukes.com/2022/10/wednesday-wines-episode-129-the-best-of-the-bunch/