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Berry Bros & Rudd selection

by Tom Cannavan, 07/07

I recently tasted some of the newest wines and vintages being stocked by Berry Bros for summer 2007. Having chosen my four favourite wines from the selection, I have arranged with Berry Bros to offer a mixed case with a substantial discount.

In fact Berry's are offering over £23 off of the mixed case - which is more than 15%. That makes this a truly exceptional deal: you are effectively getting a bottle each of Berry's Extra Ordinary Graves and red Burgundy absolutely free.

If you purchase this mixed case you will get a better discount than the "unmixed case" price on all wines.

white wines

Joostenberg (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2006
Awarded 'Wine of the Week' on wine-pages a couple of weeks ago, I'm a huge fan of South African Chenin Blanc when it is made in this style with the crisp, naturally refreshing character of the appley Chenin tempered by some weight and texture from a touch of lees and barrel ageing. In fact, the barrel component of this wine is Viognier, 6% of which is blended with Chenin from 23-year-old bush vines. The nose is a lovely melange of crisp orchard fruit, oatmeal and honeysuckle, with tiny nuances of summer flowers and a very delicate spiciness. On the palate there's a full, sweet attack of very ripe apple fruit, that is quite rolling and expansive, with touches of ripe melon and apricot. But a fine, decisive acidity pushes through the mid-palate, along with a warming touch of vanilla, to leave this tangy and fresh, yet with a textural quality and plenty of fruit. £8.50, Berry Bros & Rudd, or £7.65 by the case.

Berry's Extra Ordinary White (France) 2005
Jean-Michel Cazes, of Lynch-Bages, Ormes de Pez and other top estates, makes this white Graves for Berry Bros & Rudd, to accompany the Extra Ordinary Claret, that he also makes, and which has been a runaway success with BBR's customers and the critics. A classic Graves blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, there are really ripe passionfruit and tropical overtones with a hint of marzipan from a limited amount of exposure to new oak. On the palate it is really pithy and zippy, with a mass of orangy fruit and mouth-watering grapefruit acidity. Rich, juicy and well-balanced, this wine with its modest 12.5% alcohol is an absolute winner for summer drinking. £11.00, Berry Bros & Rudd, or £9.90 when bought by the case.

red wines

Berry's Extra Ordinary Red Burgundy (France) 2005
Made for Berry's by Nicolas Potel, one of Burgundy's hottest young winemakers, this wine was awarded Wine of the Month for June on wine- pages. From an extremely good vintage, this has a vibrant but delicate garnet colour, and a very expressive Pinot Noir nose of sweet, damp earth, sous-bois and gentle cherry fruit. There is spice and a lick of sweet vanillin in the background. On the palate this wine has lovely poise and precision: there's a freshness about the crisp raspberry and red cherry fruit, and just a gentle support of truffly, leafy character and background oak. This wine is long and focused, and the role played by the wood - adding gentle spice and toast - is always secondary to the refined fruit and crisp tannin and acid structure. £11.95, Berry Bros & Rudd, or £10.75 by the case.

Stoney Rise (Australia) Pinot Noir 2005
Winemaker Joe Holyman is a bit of a Burgundy obsessive by all accounts, planing his entire estate to just Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Legend has it that the first thing he did after buying his vineyard was rip out all the Cabernet Sauvignon vines and drink a great bottle of Burgundy whilst a Cabernet bonfire burned. Whilst his Chardonnay spends 12 months in all new French oak, the Pinot is exposed only to older barrels. It has a very nice delicacy and rose-hip and violet femininity on the nose, with cherry and raspberry fruit and a background note of creamy, quite cedary oak. On the palate this has a silky texture, allied to a sweet-edge to the fruit to give a very appealing initial impression. There's black cherry and a really juicy quality here, with some plum and blackberry richness, but a real sense of freshness and life too. The tannin and acid structure is tight and crisp, and a lovely Pinot quality of earth and sweet, damp undergrowth comes through in a very impressive Pinot Noir. £16.00, Berry Bros & Rudd or £14.40 if bought by the case.