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Berry's July Sale

by Tom Cannavan, 07/11

various bottles Latest of the summer sales to hit the shelves and cyberspace is Berry Bros & Rudd, whose summer sale starts 15th July 2011 and will run until 31st August 2011, individual wines available whilst stocks remain. My notes on a number of wines from the sale follow. There are some mixed cases in Berry's offer, but other than that the wines are offered by the unmixed case. All orders will be delivered free, anywhere in the UK, though note Berry Bros has a minimum online order value of £100.

See Berry Bros & Rudd for the full sale list and ordering.

white wines

Jean-Claude Bessin, Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2008, France
Burgundy, France, Dry White (Synthetic cork), 13% abv
Bottled with a high quality 'Nomacorc' closure the oyster-shell typicity of Chablis comes through nicely on this wine, with some apple fruit and a hint of pastry in the background. The palate is gorgeous: brimming with ripe, concentrated fruit like juicy apple and fat, fresh lemon, that salty tang of minerality is very evident in the long finish. 90/100. Case price £119.40 down from £195.60 (£9.95 per bottle)

Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard, Sous Eguison Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2007, France
Burgundy, France, Dry White (Screwcap), 12.5% abv
Four-year-old white Burgundy bottle under screwcap, which has done its job well preserving a certain freshness in the Chardonnay aromas of apple and a touch of flinty, stony minerality. There is a creaminess too (the wine is barrel-fermented but the touch of oak is very light). On the palate it is a stony, apple and lemon freshness that powers this wine, with richness only apparent in the broadening finish as a touch of nutty, creamy weight comes through. Not fantastically long, but a very intelligently made, fish-friendly wine with a lovely, natural concentration and focus. 89-90/100. Case price £179.40 down from £252.00 (£14.95 per bottle)

red wines

Domaine Capmartin, Cuvée Tradition Madiran 2008, France
Madiran, France, Dry Red (Synthetic cork), 13% abv
Madiran is the Southwest's most famous appellation, and the once very tannic reds made from the Tannat grape have been tamed to produce relatively elegant wines like this with its soft berry fruit and little touch of leather and firm but not unyielding palate framed with nicely biting, honestly rustic tannins and acidity. Bags of personality and a bargain. 87/100. Case price £71.40 down from £118.80 (£5.95 per bottle)

Domaine la Soumade, Côtes du Rhòne 2008, France
Rhône, France, Dry Red (Cork), 14.5% abv
This Rhône blend from a fine vintage has a nicely charcoally, schisty note of cool earth and tight black fruit. On the palate there is lovely juicy, tight, pepper-edged black fruit with a real sense of freshness and clean, long finish. Delicious and quite serious stuff. 88/100. Case price £87.00 down from £119.40 (£7.25 per bottle)

Chono, Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Chile
Maipo Valley, Chile, Dry Red (Cork), 13.5% abv
Aged in French and American oak for 10 months, there's a touch of tomato-leaf to this, and solid black fruit softened by a smidgeon of oak. On the palate the fruit is sweet but savoury too, that little hint of olive-like underripeness quite authentically Bordeaux-like, with spice and a touch of tobacco rounding things out. Balanced and food-friendly, this drinks very nicely. 87/100. Case price £83.50, down from £115.90 (£6.95 per bottle)

Quinta dos Carvalhais, Callabriga Dão Red 2008, Portugal
Dão, Portugal, Dry Red (Cork), 13.5% abv
A sumptuous blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro aged 12 months in oak, this is deep and vivid on the nose, but little notes of kirsch and herbs lift above the plum and smoky notes. On the palate it is generous and has plenty of fruit that fills the mouth, the oak adds a warming coffee and spice, but there is good freshness here with tight tannins and good acidity. 89/100. Case price £119.40 down from £153.40 (£9.95 per bottle)

Domaine de Bellene, Bourgogne Rouge Maison Dieu Vieilles Vignes 2008, France
Burgundy, France, Dry Red (Cork), 12.5% abv
Most of the fruit for this wine made by Nicolas Potel comes from close to Pommard, and a vineyard planted in 1928. Attractively fresh colour and a lovely nose of cherry pits and raspberry, with all sorts of herby and truffly nuances. On the palate it is sweet-fruited and ripe, but then there is also freshness thanks to the agile tannins and racy acid at the core. Delightful Pinot this on the lighter side that should easily satisfy Burgundy purists at the sale price. 90/100. Case price £131.40 down from £179.40 (£10.95 per bottle)

Bodegas Palacios Remondo, Rioja La Montesa 2007, Spain
Rioja, Spain, Dry Red (Cork), 14% abv
This is a tightly-wound, dark fruit-driven Rioja in the modern idiom, the majority of the blend being Garnacha (Grenache). Aromas of liquorice and damson plum sit over creamy, savoury oak. On the palate it has a fine sense of gravitas, the fruit at the core is tight and muscular, with plenty of depth and black olive savour. Chewy, serious stuff and delicious too, this will age for a few years. 89-90/100. Case price £143.40, down from £183.60 (£11.95 per bottle)

Château St Georges Côte Pavie, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2006, France
Bordeaux, France, Dry Red (Cork), 13.5% abv
From a small property on the right bank, the nose marries classic pencil-shaving and cedar with leafy blackcurrant fruit. On the palate this wine has lovely harmony with the black fruits edged by tobacco, clove and peppery spice, and the sinewy tannin and acidity giving some length and structure. Medium-bodied and very classic in style, it is a wine that should cellar well for several years. 90/100 Case price £179.40 down from £294.60 (£14.95 per bottle)

Domaine de la Charbonnière, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2006, France
Rhòne, France, Dry Red (Cork), 15.5% abv
Note the hefty 15.5% ABV of this Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah blend, aged 18 months in a combination of vats and smaller barrels. Lovely intensity on the nose, the mineral-focused cherry and blackberry fruit quite tight and hints of chocolate, coal dust and roses adding subtle complexity. This is firm and racy on the palate, the juiciness of the fruit combining with the tannins and a certain broadening richness to give an umami savoury quality that is chewy and dense on the finish. 90/100. Case price £179.40 down from £269.40 (£14.95 per bottle)

Campi di Fonterenza, Rosso di Montalcino 2008, Italy
Tuscany, Italy, Dry Red (Cork), 13% abv
Only 4,700 bottles of this organic Sangiovese were made. Dried herbs, tobacco and delicate briar notes dominate the nose, before a palate that is crisp, crunchy and fresh, the redcurranty, cherryish fruited wreathed in a little smoke and ash, and the finish shows a little spice, but is juicy and long. This is the opposite of blockbuster with its fresh acidity and light mid-palate weight, but is delicate, decisive and delicious. 91/100. Case price £210.00 down from £315.00 (£17.50 per bottle)

fortified wine

Broadbent Selection, 5-Year-Old Reserve Madeira, Portugal
Madeira Portugal, Fortified Tawny (Cork), 19% abv
Selected by Michael Broadbent and wine importer son Bartholomew, this wine made from Tinta Negra Mole was aged in oak casks for at least five years. Cappuccino and rum-soaked raisins, as well as lovely walnut fudge notes are gorgeous and very inviting. On the palate this delicious, marmalade rich and sweet wine has fantastic chocolate richness, intense raisin flavour and sweetness and terrific lemony acidity that just streaks away into the finish. Really a very lovely Madeira this. 91/100. Case price £167.40 down from £227.40 (£13.95 per bottle)

See Berry Bros & Rudd for the full sale list.