16 JUNE 1990, Page 43


Something delicious for summer

Auberon Waugh

0 nce again, Corney and Barrow have given us our pick of their enormous stock at prices which are very substantially under their own list prices, and once again they have given us the extra advantage of £6 a case or 50p a bottle off for orders of two cases or more in London, three cases or more outside. The result of this concession on the cheaper wines - reducing the Chateau Bel Air(3), for instance, from £3.65 to £3.05 (from £43.80 to £37.80 the case) - is quite spectacular, and I urge punters to move fast before C & B wake up to what is happening. If someone in London, for instance, really wanted to buy only a case of Coulanges la Vineuse(4) at £66.60, he could add a case of Bel Air for good measure and, by saving £12 on the two cases, secure it for an effective price of £31.80 or £2.65 the bottle.

First, a traditional white burgundy. Cor- ney and Barrow always have a good showing of these. From the 1988 range, I thought Dudet's Macon Priss6(1) beat Lef- laive's 'Les Setilles' this time round as well as being 90p cheaper. It is paler in colour than I like, and its smell, although subtle, is faint, growing in the glass only with a little encouragement, but its taste fills out and ends up a good, high-class luncheon burgundy which I would not be ashamed to serve to the Princess of Wales. At £5.24 it is excellent value; at £4.74 with the bulk allowance it is a gift.

Pokolbin's Hungerford Hill Char- donnay(2) from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, needs no introduction. It is at the other end of the Chardonnay range nothing subtle or elegant in the massive black banana smell of this 1988 example, nothing dainty in its lovely, rich, oily taste. Those who like a ripe, colonial style will adore it. Corney & Barrow, who import it, already offer it cheaper than anyone at £7.08. Our price, of £6.51 the bottle, £6.01 discounted, is almost certainly the best in the country. Those who can afford to do so should put in a big order, as we will not see such a price again. The Chateau Bel Air 1987(3) is a fine, strong, clean, very superior bordeaux su- perieur produced by the famous Moueix family from old casks. It has a good light ruby colour with enough tannic bite to accompany quite strong food. Ideal, I should say, with rabbit pie. The price of £3.65 the bottle is excellent. Under the crazy discount system, a country dweller who adds a case to his existing two-case order will be buying it at £2.15 the bottle. Next a red Burgundy(4). There may be those who remember my discovery of the northern village Coulanges La Vineuse, with the 1982 vintage from a maker called Paul Dupressoir. This wine claims to come from the Domaine du Clos St Georges, whatever that might be. Punters went wild for Dupressoir's tipple when I offered it in July 1985 at £3.86 the bottle, from young Price-Beech's emporium. It was the best offer he ever had. Those who have been following Burgundy prices will be astounded to find anything as cheap as £5.55 now, while the discounted price of £5.05 puts it on a par with grocers' Beau- jolais. Once again, it is disconcertingly pale, as one must expect from a village within spitting distance of chablis, but the intense elegance of its taste would cost £20 and upwards from any of 140 reputable negociants and growers in the Cite d'Or. It belongs to the new style but it is fuller and richer than many premiers and grands crus and could never be mistaken for anything else but good French burgundy. The Coonawarra 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon(5) from Hungerford Hill, while unmistakably Australian, is also lighter than the Coonawarra norm and without any of the high acid volatility which some- times upsets more conventional wine drinkers. At £6.13 (£5.63 discounted) it is bursting with good, strong cabernet but ready for drinking now. Finally, my joker in the pace). I have tasted several of these peach fizzes (I go to prison if I call it ch*mp*gn*) and enjoyed them without being able quite to conquer my snobbish horror at the idea of a peach wine. I also found that they cloyed after a couple of bottles, leaving the sugary burn on the throat which tells you that some- thing is wrong. Corney and Barrow have bottled their own peach fizz from Savoie with a very pretty and elegant label. It may be the most delicious summer drink ever made. Sweet on the nose, dry in the mouth, its exquisite peach taste ends fresh and clean with no sugary cling to it. At £5.99 (£5.49 discounted) the bottle it is, quite simply, a taste of heaven.

The mixed case, two of each, works out at £5.52 or £5.02 with the quantity discount - a very reasonable price, although I wish the Coonawarra Cabernet were cheaper, until the taste for these superior Australian reds is established. At any rate I am ordering recklessly this time, and nay order will include two cases of the peach fizz.