Enjoy the year’s most opinionated case, chosen by our writers
To celebrate 50 years of the Sunday Times Wine Club, our discerning writers have selected delicious wines, for you, our discerning readers.
The wines featured in the Columnists' Cases have been endorsed by Will Lyons, The Sunday Times wine columnist, and offer you a fantastic variety of red, white and rosé at a really affordable price plus a free bottle of bubbles with the 12 bottle case, perfect for the festive season!
My choice – Domaine du Mas Ensoleillé Rosé
Real men drink pink. It's true. Just ask Brad Pitt. I personally ingest significant quantities of the stuff. That is, when I’m not cracking into a case of my Hawkstone lager or an ice cold pint on draught. And you really can’t go wrong with a glass or two of Domaine du Mas Ensoleillé. Sunny by name, it's also tasty commiseration when it's raining, foggy, windy, drizzling, overcast or cold. And I should know. I've test driven more Provence pink than most.
My choice – Kutjevo Graševina
This white wine is made by a Croatian vineyard that was once run by monks, and I think it shows in what they produce in the 21st Century. At least, I really enjoyed drinking it over a quiet lunch, alone. Its fruity, fresh, original character almost demands to be appreciated in silence.
My choice – Villa Broglia Gavi di Gavi
I first drank a Gavi di Gavi at the hotel Splendido in Portofino in my mid 20s on holiday with a girlfriend when we stopped for lunch and I had no idea how expensive it was going to be. It was the only affordable thing on the menu (about £50 in lira which was a ton of money then) and the only dish we could afford was the pesto genovese - which was absolutely superb. A bottle of Gavi down, I enquired after a room and was told the cheapest was £700. Ha ha ha. It remains a favourite summer white and can't eat pasta without it. In this case we drank it with Spaghetti alla Bottarga, a signature dish of mine and great for self catering because you just sling a couple of bottargas (which is pressed dried grey mullet roe) in the glove box and can make super posh supper with spaghetti from the local Spar. But it's a strong, fishy taste and very hard to pair wine to, as it brings out weird mineralities and alkalis so you need something fruity but not too fruity and this Villa Broglia Gavi was perfect.
My choice – RedHeads Catbird Seat Cabernet Sauvignon
I was introduced to New World wines on my first tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1990- 91. We had some serious wine lovers (drinkers) on that trip including David Gower and Allan Lamb, who were both on the last of the many trips down under they had made during their careers. They had gathered a few wine contacts along the way. One was Geoff Merrill, an Aussie with a big heart and a ready laugh who makes outstanding wines in the McLaren Vale, just south of Adelaide. Another was Kevin Judd, now at Greywacke but then making wines at a little-known vineyard called Cloudy Bay in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. We visited both on that trip and drowned some sorrows after defeats along the way. So the wines of New Zealand and Australia bring back a lot of happy memories of that early tour, and those made since. There has always been a strong connection between wine and cricket- Bob Willis and Ian Botham went on to partner with Merrill in a wine venture- so my choice for the Sunday Times Wine Club reflects that. Among them is Redheads Catbird Seat Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra area in South Australia, a sturdy red that should drink well.
My choice –Split Rock Nelson Sauvignon Blanc
A perfect reminder of my happiest moments on holiday.
My choice – Le Prince de Courthézon Côtes du Rhône
The Côtes du Rhône, Le Prince de Courthézon, lets you taste the rough, sunny slopes of the Rhone valley; its a dead ringer for Châteauneuf-du-Pape without paying the premium for the name, highly recommended.
My choice – Opi Malbec
Warm and rounded; happy memories of sultry Buenos Aires evenings.
My choice – w/o Frappato
Summer fruits abound in this easy-going red.
My choice – Pillastro Primitivo
The word 'Puglia' conjures fond memories of missing a flight to Naples for the only time in my life, and almost getting dumped by my future wife just weeks into our relationship. Luckily she calmed down, not least with the aid of the excellent local food and drink, of which this is a shining example.
My choice – Vinha do Fava Touriga Nacional
We'd just got back from holiday in Portugal to be confronted with some wines to taste. It was Saturday night, we were trying to recreate their duck rice, oven-based with the scorched, crisp, bottom, soccarat I think it's called. I really didn't want it to be the cliche of the Portuguese wine working best, but after a journey across the northern and southern hemisphere, by the end, out of seven bottles there was a clear winner. It's the national wine, that's a national dish, why resist? Goes with any meat, full-bodied, fruity, even a hint of chocolate. No surprise it's the grape commonly used in Port blends. The thing with soccarat, of course, is that mis-judge it and you end up with rice that's burnt, not crisped. But not to worry, dinner's ruined but at least you've got a nice bottle of wine.
My choice – Sendero de Campos Albariño
Smells so much like honeyed pear drops that I'd quite happily get my fix just sniffing it all evening. It tastes light, citrusy and slightly acidic. Pleasant enough with a bag of crisps on the sofa while watching University Challenge, but possibly even better with a plate of boquerones on a sun-scorched veranda somewhere south of Toledo.
My choice – Queen Bee Viognier
I'm a great fan of the perfumed, peach-scented viognier grape, and this one, helped along by a dab of Chenin Blanc, gets the balance between flavour, ripeness and acidity just right.
Terms and Conditions
Offer valid for new members only, and one case only per household while stocks last. No further discount or offers can be applied. Savings based on individual bottle price. Free standard delivery, usually £7.99. Delivery to UK only (excluding CI and BFPO). Offer ends 31/12/23 or while stocks last. You or anybody you buy wine for must be 18 years or over. All goods are subject to availability and all orders are subject to acceptance by us. If a wine becomes unavailable, a substitute of similar style and of equal or greater value will be supplied. Order acceptance and the contract between us is formed on despatch of products.
The Sunday Times Wine Club is operated by Direct Wines Ltd. Registered in England and Wales. Registered Number 1095091. One Waterside Drive, Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire, RG7 4SW. Unless otherwise stated, all wines contain sulphites.