These independent merchants offer intriguing wines and old-fashioned service, says Harry Eyres.
I look forward to the annual tasting put on by The Bunch, a group of stubbornly independent wine merchants ranging from some of London’s poshest (Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman) to Shropshire, Wiltshire and Suffolk’s finest and tweediest (Tanners of Shrewsbury, Yapp Wines of Mere and Adnams of Southwold). It’s good that such merchants thrive, offering intriguing and satisfying wines and proper, old-fashioned service
Why you should buy from them
This year, there was a changing of the guard as one of The Bunch’s members decided to opt out and two new merchants joined. New to The Bunch, that is – Haynes, Hanson & Clark has been in business since 1978 and Private Cellar was founded in 2005. Both are worthy additions to the group.
What to buy
I especially enjoyed Private Cellar’s selection of ‘lookalikes’ – less expensive alternatives to famous names. Bourgogne Blanc Clos de la Combe Domaine Jean Chartron 2015 (£19.33 from www.privatecellar.co.uk) not only looks and tastes like Puligny, with lovely peachiness and finesse, but actually originates in Puligny. Château Beauchêne Premier Terroir Côtes du Rhône 2015 (£14.50 from www.privatecellar.co.uk) is a ‘baby’ Châteauneuf with lots of garriguey, animal scents and savoury intensity on the palate.
Meanwhile, Château Tayet Cuvée Prestige Bordeaux Supérieur 2015 (£14.80 from www.privatecellar.co.uk), from the borders of Margaux, has a subtle silkiness worthy of that commune. From Haynes, Hanson & Clark, I loved the Quincy Villalin Domaine Jacques Rouzé 2018 (£14.75 from www.hhandc.co.uk) – delicate, stony and better than many a pricier Sancerre – the soft-textured and rich Auxey-Duresses Blanc Domaine Agnès Pacquet 2017 (£27.75 from www.hhandc.co.uk) and the violet-scented Lirac Baron Louis Château de Montfaucon 2015 (£18.15 from www.hhandc.co.uk).
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