17 MAY 2003, Page 86

Nv hat a pleasure it is to return to Avery's of

Bristol, one of our oldest and finest wine merchants. Not only are they offering an eclectic assortment of old and new fine wines, but selling them to us at startling discounts. This is not as mad as it sounds. Often merchants buy stocks of first-rate wines that might not be well known to the public and so move rather slowly. Offering them cut-price to Spectator readers is one way of getting the word out, and I guarantee you will want to try all these many times.

There are also two bin-end offers, which aren't included in the sample case because supplies are tight and you'll need to get in early. One is the Château Chanteloup 2001", a Bordeaux blanc which is reduced from £6.95 to an astonishing £3.75. This is not a great wine, but it's fresh and crisp and just right for summer glugging; Richard Davis of Avery's tells me this one is flying off the shelves.

The main body of the offer begins with a Burgundy from just outside Chablis. It's the excellent 2000 vintage of Domaine Felix, Cotes d'Auxerre''', and it's been reduced by a sensational 23 per cent to just £5.75 a bottle. This is crisp and very much of its region; a treat for fans of bone-dry Burgundy.

Now two Sauvignon Blanes, made in entirely different styles. The Southern Right 20023 is from the Western Cape and is another example of the terrific wines coming from South Africa now. This has the light, crisp, grassy taste of the best New Zealand Sauvignons. It's a wine with real backbone and character — which makes it sound like a cadet at Sandhurst, but should not put you off, especially as the £6.50 tag is an 18 per cent saving on the list price.

The other Sauvignon is from New Zealand. The Goldwater 2002) is, however, rather different from most of its compatriots, since it's packed with a gorgeous fresh, zingy, juicy flavour which hits the palate running, so to speak. In America — where it consistently appears in lists of the top ten Sauvignons — it sells in great quantities, which is why the £6.95 price is only £1 off — a very substantial saving in any offer except this.

Now two from the Grenache grape, or 'Garnacha tinto' as it's known in Spain. This variety is making some sensational new wines, having, as Oz Clarke says, 'a raw-boned power that sweeps you along in its intoxicating wake. It exudes a blithe bonhomie — all ruddy cheeks and flashing eyes.' Not only could 1 not put it better myself, I wouldn't even dare try.

The Dme les Vignottes 2002'5', from the

Pays d'Oc, is scrumptious, rich and full. It is also very strong, declaring itself at 14.5 per cent alcohol possibly to avoid the higher duty its real strength would attract. It's also reduced by 75p. The Garnacha Mitica 2001°' from Campo de Borja is a real fruity beauty. It's made from old vines in small quantities, so the flavour is powerfully concentrated. Richard has knocked £1 off this excellent wine.

The Vitiano Rosso 200P7' from Umbria is an astounding bargain. It's reduced by £1.95 to just £6, a saving of virtually 25 per cent. We've offered this velvety, perfumed, fullbodied wine — made from Cabernet. Merlot and Sangiovese — before, and it was a big hit. At this price it is quite unbeatable.

Finally, another bin-end. The extraordinary Luddite Shiraz 2000°' is made, virtually by hand, in the Western Cape by Niels Verburg, using only the most old-fashioned, low-tech methods — hence its name. Verburg is obsessed by quality rather than commercial success, and only 500 cases were made in 2000. It's rich and full and herby and minty and quite extraordinary. There isn't much left, but at £12.95 — a £3 reduction you'll want to order quickly. Delivery as ever is free.