We launch our 2018 MoneyWeek Wine Club with a visit to one of the UK’s most quietly influential wine merchants. Haynes Hanson & Clark goes about its business with little fanfare and bluster, and is expert in many fields, but it’s the authenticity, accuracy and value for money it imbues in all of its discoveries which impresses me most.
I first found this merchant a quarter of a century ago when I was in search of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Loire for my own cellar. I have bought countless cases ever since and, from a punter’s point of view, let alone as a wine writer, it could not be more helpful. With a classical bent, and a fondness for wine built around a core of acidity and freshness, with overt fruit ripeness and overzealous oak thankfully absent from its list of requirements, all wines from HHC show elegance, poise and refinement. I have no doubt that you will embrace these wines with wide-eyed excitement and gustatory pleasure. See the full collection here.
How it works:
Prices and savings below are exclusive to MoneyWeek readers and are based on ordering a case of 12 bottles. You can also buy a mixed case, giving you two bottles of each wine, for just £160. You’ll enjoy FREE delivery on all orders. Offer ends 23 February 2018.
Let’s first talk about something which shouldn’t make a difference: the label on this wine is truly beautiful. Legions of sparklers have plain, dull script, yet Philippe Zinck, in his wisdom, gives us an image of the flavour of his wine by painting it as an alluring sprite. Made from the ‘méthode traditionelle’ (Champagne-style), from Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it is a beautiful wine which sits above all Prosecco in grandeur, above most Cava in fragrance and texture and well below Champagne in price. If you’re looking for a sophisticated Crémant, this wine will amaze you.
I have followed this wine for over 20 years and it always hits the high notes. There has been a growing trend in the Loire for Sauvignon Blanc producers to distance their wines from the more tropical tones found in versions from warmer climes, meaning some Sancerre are painfully strict and mineral in their youth, requiring two or three years to soften. This incarnation is smooth and cultured, with a benchmark gooseberry and lawn cuttings nose but pliant, silky fruit on the palate and a gentle, refreshing finish.
I simply couldn’t leave this stunning wine out of this collection. Coming from high altitude vineyards in northern Italy, this unoaked beauty rivals top Mâcons with its freshness, aromatic splendour and length. The mid-palate grows and stays far longer than you’d expect from any keenly priced white Burgundy and it’s easy to see why they are championing this elite white wine. This part of the world is seriously exciting for fans of clean, lean, but succulent whites.
On paper, this wine doesn’t make much sense, because Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy rarely impresses. However, this organically-grown, summer berry-soaked, refreshingly balanced red is a shockingly good wine. As an inexpensive Pinot it’s peerless, but as an elite ‘house red’ it will perform at the highest level for every palate and dish. Most people plump for a hearty Rioja, Malbec or a Côtes-du-Rhône as their all-purpose red, but these styles are often too forceful for most dishes. Mas Bres is perfect in every respect.
From the furthest southern reaches of the Loire wine region, benefitting from the influence of the Massif Central, this biodynamic Gamay is a storming wine with so much presence it puts legions of Cru Beaujolais to shame. With a nimble 12% alcohol, but a lionheart of fruit, the volcanic soils are the reason for the depth of plum fruit and thrilling acid line. One of the most arresting wines I’ve seen in a long while.
I must finish with a claret: one which draws on all of the classicism and restraint that this region nearly lost in the 90s and 00s when it became slave to the 100-point system and the prevalence of over-oaked and over-alcoholic wines. This Merlot-dominant wine has a tender 12.5% alcohol underpinning its core and nothing is forced and yet it is deeply red fruited and gently oaked. With superb build-quality and a flavour you crave at Sunday lunch, this is a delicious Graves.
PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW via Haynes Hanson & Clark’s website, or call direct: 020 7584 7927 and quote “MoneyWeek”
Terms & Conditions: Free delivery on all orders of 12 bottles of wine or more, otherwise £7.95. Orders will be dispatched within three working days of orders being received.
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