Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

A band of indies that really rocks

    If you read this column with any regularity, you have probably noticed that most of the wines recommended here come from national chains. Does this mean that I like those wines better than others? Not for a second.

    Don’t get me wrong — the big outfits sell plenty of good wine. They allow us to buy it together with the food it’s going to accompany, which is how most people buy wine. And they sometimes bring us decent wine for astonishingly low prices. If you’ve ever tasted Tesco Corbières 2011 at £3.79, you know what I’m talking about.

    But if I had my way, everyone would buy wine from independent merchants, whether in person or online. The good indies give something that big chains rarely provide — personalised advice and, at least some of the time, a selection based on personal zeal rather than a need to cater for all tastes.

    I have my personal favourites, and in this first of an occasional series I am highlighting one of the newest. The Vintner (www.thevintner.com), just two years old, limits its list to 100 wines. Apart from a handful of fine wines, nothing costs more than £30 and around one third are under £10. There are few famous branded wines, and when they do brand names(eg Laurent-Perrier NV), it is with impeccable taste.

    The rest of the list is a mildly eclectic selection featuring both familiar and unfamiliar names. Unfamiliar — Rueda Blanco 2011, Maria de Molino (£7.95). Rueda often produces characterless whites, but this citrus-fresh verdejo-dominated zinger is anything but and makes a good aperitif. Also unfamiliar — Main Divide Merlot/Cabernet 2009 (£12.95), a well-structured but opulent, even voluptuous blend from New Zealand’s South Island.

    And familiar — Chateau Cissac 2008 (£16.99). Cissac is a Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc which delivers pretty consistent quality at prices commensurate with its status in the Bordeaux hierarchy. This vintage is drinking well. More structure than opulent fruit, but that’s the nature of the Bordeaux beast. And I love it. Just as I love a good indie merchant. Use ’em or lose ’em.

Blogs

A recipe for better hamantaschen

The Fresser

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A recipe for better hamantaschen
Food

Orange hummus and kim-chi: only at Kosherfest

Dave Gordon

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Orange hummus and kim-chi: only at Kosherfest
Food

Party like it's Simchat Torah

Victoria Prever

Friday, October 21, 2016

Party like it's Simchat Torah
Food

Fine dining at Israeli hotels offer guilty pleasures

Anthea Gerrie

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fine dining at Israeli hotels offer guilty pleasures
Food

An alternative manifesto

Anonymous

Thursday, November 17, 2016

An alternative manifesto
Food

Fast-breaking with tradition

Victoria Prever

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fast-breaking with tradition
Food

Vegan shmegan - can an animal-free diet be kosher?

Sandy Rashty

Friday, November 25, 2016

Vegan shmegan - can an animal-free diet be kosher?
Food

Big flavours from Israel's White City

Felicity Spector

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Big flavours from Israel's White City
Food

Honey Jews

Anonymous

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Honey Jews