Lea & Sandeman is 30 years old this year and I can remember exactly when Charles Lea and Patrick Sandeman set this elite wine merchant up – not least, because I became an immediate customer. In fact, I knew them both in their previous jobs as highly regarded wine warriors, whose knowledge of their wines was only equalled by their thirst for them!
It is hard to believe that three decades have passed, and that Patrick Sandeman is, very sadly, no longer with us. While they are ostensibly an upmarket wine specialist, L&S has moved with the times, often setting the pace, and has a stunning selection of everyday-priced wines to balance its more famous top-end offerings.
The recent announcement that Lea & Sandeman has been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen comes as no surprise and it recognises how much work Patrick, Charles and the team have invested in their company.
Its selection of wines is fastidiously put together and the forensic information behind each label is on the tip of every staff member’s tongue. Here are six of the best for summer drinking, which I venture will encourage you to go in and introduce yourself to this incredible independent wine merchant.
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, saving you over £25. You’ll enjoy FREE UK delivery on all orders.
Offer ends 1 June 2018.
The label is painfully trendy as well as respectfully retro, with a snake or sea monster snacking on a perfectly behaved city gent! There is no illumination on the Màquina website as to why this poor fellow is approaching his doom but it looks rather fun.
I can say that this Verdejo, boosted with a touch of Malvasia, is extraordinarily well-made with a firm, mineral, raspy, spine enrobed in super-fresh, grippy, vital fruit. There is nothing in this world with which to reference this scintillating wine, but it will fire up your taste neurons like never before.
Patrizia Felluga left the family business over a decade ago and she has gone from strength to strength, or rather from strength to subtlety. I clearly remember tasting my first Zuani – I wrote up the 2009 vintage in this august tome, eight years ago, squealing with delight at its charms.
It is fair to say, that this mesmerising blend of Friulano, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon is on finer form than I have ever seen. Indeed, I obliterated a bottle of it at The River Café earlier this year with their stellar grub. This is a sensational and complex, dry, unoaked white wine which is bursting with distinction.
It’s the time of year for rosé, but rather than push you into buying just one epic wine, I have decided to pitch two cheeky candidates – one for posh guests and one for uninhibited glugging. MIP started off its life in the latter category, many moons ago, and it has graduated, every vintage, to a higher plane.
In 2017 it has arrived on the plateau of excellence and when wines step up to this mark, their flavours are not simply about fruitiness or juiciness but about balance, freshness and length. This is sheer class and it will go with any summer dish imaginable.
By contrast to MIP (do not be a snob while you peruse this tasting note), this wine has no pretensions whatsoever. It is simple, clean, innocent and balanced. I have a feeling that we might have lost sight of what genuinely honest rosé is. This much-maligned category of wine is all about joy, whether the finish is minutes or seconds long.
Forget the Provence word for a second and throw your palate at this energetic and uncommonly classy wine! I will not let you down – and nor will the mighty palates at L&S!
The two reds in this seasonally adroit offer feature exuberant flavours which are well-suited to both al-fresco, fire-based dining and also full-flavoured, spicy, Pan-Asian fare. I rarely write about the behemoth variety Zinfandel but this wine is eminently noteworthy.
While offering the flamboyance of spice and fruit which Zin makes its own, this is not a porty, nor is it a heady wine. It is superbly accurate, 14% alcohol, bright and bouncy. If this grape has sent you running for the hills in the past, then think again. This is a suave, layered, polished wine with lashings of vinous élan.
This comedic name rather undersells the brilliance of this wine. It is, in fact, one of my 100 Best Australian wines for 2017/18 and that means it came through out of over 3500 samples!
Made by the highly talented Mr Tim Smith, this wine is the antidote to his powerful, age-worthy, old vine Shiraz and it is precious, thrilling, light-hearted and stunningly juicy. Smooth and accurate with superb ripeness and length, this is a modern, awesome-value, world class wine from Australia’s most famous wine region.
PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW via Lea & Sandeman’s website, or call them direct: 020 7244 0522 and quote “MoneyWeek”
Terms & Conditions: Terms & Conditions: Offer ends 1 June 2018. Free delivery is to UK mainland only. Payment can be made by credit or debit card over the phone or online. Prices quoted are all inclusive of duty and VAT. Subject to availability. For full terms and conditions, please visit https://www.leaandsandeman.co.uk/content/terms.html.