The Spectator Wine Club

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We are delighted to be working with the Spectator Wine Club, offering special prices on 7 wines, selected by Johnny Ray. This offer runs until Tuesday 6th August.

A round of applause, please, as we welcome Haynes Hanson & Clark to the Spectator Wine Club. Hurrah!

Established almost 50 years ago with shops in Chelsea and the Cotswolds, HHC is a firm favourite of canny wine lovers and I’m delighted to offer their wines. Buying director, Sióbhan Astbury, sent me some absolute peaches to choose from and it was a thorny exercise narrowing them down, hindered rather than helped by Mrs Ray who, with a curt “I’m on the phone!” nicked one of the bottles and buggered off upstairs with it.

The 2023 Domaine Gayda ‘Sphere’ Viognier (1) is a charmer from an eye-catching estate in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Owners Tim Ford and Anthony Record and winemaker Vincent Chansault have turned Gayda into a special place where you can taste, dine and stay, and their wines are always worth a punt. Their Viognier is just so peachy, apricotty and toasty with just enough acidity for freshness. I love it and its price. £11 down from £12.65.

The 2023 Tinhof Grüner Veltliner (2) is right up my strasse, being a delicious, brilliantly priced example of this most Austrian of varieties. Made in Burgenland by 11th generation winzer Erwin Tinhof from 40-year-old vines, it might be rather muted on the nose but is full of generous crunchy green apple and citrus fruit in the mouth and makes a great food wine. £13.75 down from £15.65.

I’m pretty sure the 2022 Kellerei Kurtatsch Kerner (3) is the first example we’ve ever offered of this grape variety, a cross between Trollinger and Riesling grown right across the Alto Adige. Made by a famously well run 125-year-old cooperative, it’s racy, lemony and peppery and has the freshness of a true mountain wine. £16.60 down from £19.10.

The 2023 Vinos de Altura Gancedo Mencía (4) from a modern estate in Bierzo in north-west Spain, is an ideal summer red. Fermented in open tanks and aged in French oak, it’s similar to fine Beaujolais (and considerably cheaper), being a deep cherry red and full of juicy, jammy, bramble fruit. There’s a touch of youthful tannin and it benefits from a light chilling. £13 down from £15.10.

As does the 2020 Domaine des Sanzay Saumur-Champigny (5), a fresh, lively Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. I love Cab Franc. I would love to have a regular supply of this in my fridge for the summer, if I thought Mrs Ray would leave me any. Dom des Sanzay is certified organic and the winemaking immaculate and this is a joy – full of concentrated mulberry/blackberry/blackcurrant fruit with a long refreshing finish. £13.75 down from £15.75.

The 2022 Cascina Alberta Barbera d’Alba (6) from the Guermani brothers in Piedmont, north-west Italy, is soft, juicy with gentle tannins, lively acidity and buckets of ripe raspberry/cherry fruit. I might drink far too much wine, but I don’t drink enough Italian wine and this has prompted me to ensure that I do. £15.50 down from £17.50.

Finally, as a swanky, blue-chip add-on we’ve the glorious 2020 Scorpo Old Cherry Orchard 10k Pinot Noir (7) from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. If you like top-notch Pinot you will absolutely love this. From a much-lauded boutique estate, it’s soft, smooth and giving, with wonderfully ripe red and dark berry fruit and the longest, most sophisticated of finishes. I only had a couple of mouthfuls but was completely smitten. Mrs R, who’s half Aussie and a complete Pinotphile, spotted the words ‘Pinot Noir’ and ‘Australia’ and, as I say, snuck the bottle upstairs and drained it whilst gassing at length on the phone to her sister. She only lives a few doors down. I don’t know why they can’t go to the pub like normal folk and leave my vino alone. £45 down from £52 per six.

The mixed case has two bottles each of wines 1-6. Wine 7 is available in a 6-bottle box. Delivery, as ever, is free*.

Jonathan Ray, The Spectator, 27th Jun 2024

*Free delivery on the UK mainland – except to parts of Scotland, which will be quoted for individually.

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