Sarah Kemp on www.wine-conversation.com, 10th Oct 2021
If Britain has a reputation as the centre of fine-wine knowledge, it is in no small part due to the dynamic independent wine merchants who brilliantly serve the ever-adventurous British wine lover. Some of the best-known names belong to an association called “The Bunch.” The group was established in 1993 to champion the independent wine trade and individual, grower-made wines. Today the group consists of seven of Britain’s best independent wine merchants; Adnams, Corney and Barrow, Haynes Hanson and Clark, Lea and Sandeman, Private Cellar, Tanners and Yapp Brothers – an illustrious group I can recommend without hesitation. In their lists, you find real value, as their buyers have noses as finely tuned as truffle hounds, expertly finding treasures of wine. Not having to buy large parcels to fill copious supermarket shelves, they can pick and choose from the brilliant small producers who make wines which reflect a real sense of place.
At their annual tasting, which I just attended (the first since lockdown), the theme they chose was “wines which got us through lockdown” – which was quite apt, as I think wine was the one bright spot that enabled most of us to survive. Here are my personal picks from the tasting.
Savennières Clos du Petit Beaupreau Domaine des Deux Vallées 2019
My wine of the tasting. Some wines simply exude charm and steal your heart, and this Savennières did just that, with its beautiful expression of just-picked ripe autumn fruit. Pale gold in colour, an alluring bouquet of roasted apple, the palate is refined, but offers a full concentrated kaleidoscope of cooked apples, honeysuckle, quince, underpinned with delicious minerality. Great acidity and freshness, Chenin at its most beguiling. 14%, £20.85.