Pick of The Bunch: Rising stars chosen by independent importers | Wine


Tanners Douro Red, Douro, Portugal 2018 (£ 8.80, tanners-wines.co.uk) The fraternity of seven independent UK wine merchants known as The Bunch are collectively responsible for a remarkably high proportion of the overall UK wine delight quotient. Each fall – pandemic permitting – the seven come together to present 10 wines each to the press, and this year’s event was the usual eye-catching blend of the unusual, the future, and the classically beautiful. While there are plenty of expensive “fine” wines on every member’s list, and although they all have a particular sweet spot between £ 10 and £ 25, they each have their share of under £ 10 bottles. which are much more attractive than most supermarkets. equivalent to this price. To take just one example: the fragrant, supple fruits of the forest-flavored Douro red crafted by star winemakers João Portugal Ramos and Jose Maria Soares Franco for the venerable (est 1842) merchants of Shropshire. .

Bruno Lafon & François Chamboissier Racine Pinot Noir, IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2020 (£ 12.40, Haynes Hanson & Clark) Although it just exceeds the £ 10 mark (that’s £ 11 a bottle if purchased as part of a 12-bottle case), London-based merchant Haynes Hanson & Clark’s discovery of southern France is the best value pinot noir I have tried in a long time, and one of the best versions of the variety I have ever tried from the south of France. Admittedly, none of these categories are particularly competitive: good Pinot Noir tends to be expensive wherever it is made and the grape is poorly suited to the heat of many Midi vineyards. However, this is not to diminish the exploit of the winemaker Bruno Lafon, who has succeeded in bringing all the finesse found in the best of Pinot nor made in his native Burgundy with grapes grown in the relatively cool corner of the Languedoc in the hills of Limoux, in the process of producing a delicately scented, soft and fine-textured red.

Viña La Ronciere Cabernet Franc Idahue Estate, Licantén, Chile 2018 (£ 13.95, corneyandbarrow.com) Cabernet Franc has seen some success in recent years, with red wines made from the Loire Valley grape – like Talau-Foltzenlogel Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil 2019 (£ 14.75 from The Bunch member yapp .co.uk) – as good as they’ve ever been. One of its newer houses is South America, where I have been most impressed with the Argentinian approach to the grape so far. But I loved the light and graceful touch of the Chilean example of Viña La Ronciere, a region (Licantén, in the Curíco costal) and a producer who were both new to me. Other highlights of an event filled with superb bottles include: an incredibly aromatic, sumptuously rich but lively southern Italian white from southern Italy (Luigi Maffini Kratos Fiano 2020; £ 22.95, leaandsandeman.co.uk) ; an Austrian red with bright fruit (Weingut Mehofer Neudeggerhof Zweigelt Neudegg, Wagram 2018; £ 18, privatecellar.co.uk); and a vibrant Essex rose of red apple and tangy raspberry (Adnams English Rosé, Crouch Valley 2019; £ 14.99, adnams.co.uk).

Follow David Williams on Twitter @Daveydaibach

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