SPECTATOR WINE CLUB
THE last offer from Heyman, Barwell Jones of Ipswich was in April 1999. It was com- posed entirely of French wines and very popular indeed they proved to be. This time, however, thanks to the amiable Richard Cobbold's advice and sound guidance, I have ranged rather further afield. I hope that readers will like the result and that they will approve of my offering both red and white wines at inexpensive, medium and slightly more expensive prices. This does give us a chance to show a broader choice of wines from which punters can make their selection. It also means that if you missed the Flemings Papillon spring double, you can still find something to help carry you through this so far rather dour spring.
Starting with the white wines, I have cho- sen the 1999 Sauvignon Blanc 'Tradition' Chateau Los Boldos(1) from Chile. At just over £5 a bottle the panel thought this was really good value. It would make a delicious aperitif or, indeed, an admirable table wine. It has a strong, rather marvellous golden- green colour and a delicious, crisp taste full of fruit with a glorious, slightly sharp nose. This is a well-balanced wine of an obviously good vintage and certainly worth a try.
Next up, the 1998 'Element' Chenin- Verdelho(2) from the Sandalford Winery in Western Australia. Despite its slightly pre- tentious reference to earth, air, fire and water, the panel was really struck with this wine from one of Western Australia's old- est wineries. Chenin Blanc is originally a Loire Valley grape and the Verdelho origi- nates from Madeira: they combine to pro- duce a delicious, crisp, full white wine, not too dry and with the ripe and rich texture of the Verdelho balanced against the crisp, white Chenin. At just under £7 a bottle this is not cheap but it is very good and well worth trying.
Finally, an entirely correct and very ele- gant Chablis, the 1998 'Champs Royaux'(3) from William Fevre. This comes from vine- yards close to the premiers ems and at £8.60 the bottle it represents good value. I am told that William Fevre has for long been a proponent of oak in Chablis and there is, in this excellent wine, a hint of oak in a complex smell. It is dry, rounded and elegant, and highly commended as a deli- cious mouthful.
Now to the reds. Firstly, the 1998 Tem-
pranillo-Merlot of Bodegas Nekeas, Navarre). This is a good, easy table wine made from Tempranillo, which is Spain's premier-quality red grape, and Merlot with plenty of fleshy flavour, suitable for drinking in large quantities. Bodegas Nekeas was established only in 1989 but has built itself a formidable reputation. Robert Park- er's Wine Advocate, for example, consistently rates Nekeas wines as 'best buys'. This is sound value at £4.68 and you should try it.
The 1998 Beaujolais Villages, Chateau de Souzy from Bouchard Pere et Fils(5), reminds one how simply delicious good Beaujolais can be. This is the real stuff made from old vines by one of Burgundy's greatest producers. With bags of luscious fruit, it is an ideal wine to be enjoyed now and through the summer months. At £6.39 per bottle I strongly recommend it.
Finally, another wine from the long- established Sandalford Winery in Western Australia. The 1996 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon(6) is a delicious and rich wine made from grapes grown in vineyards sited on the Margaret River. Sandalford Winery has made a really terrific full-bodied wine with a splendidly deep colour, a delicious taste and luscious smell. I think this is a fine wine and at £8.59 I very much hope you will try it.