Highlights from the January Sale


Photograph: Jason Lowe

Photograph: Jason Lowe

As shopping-fever seizes the nation, we pick out a few ‘unmissables’ from our January Sale. These choice bottles come recommended by those in the know: the journalists with their ear to the vine and – of course – our expert buying team

Champagne J.L. Vergnon, Conversation, Brut, Grand Cru

Recommended by both Olly Smith and Rose Murray Brown earlier in the year, this is grower Champagne at its best: in Olly’s words: ‘a top-notch blanc de blancs with a zing in every sip’.

Simon Field MW, our Champagne buyer, describes ‘a deeply satisfying nose of mirabelle plum, almond and acacia leads to the palate where the mousse is fine and the texture rich; hints of flint and brioche add to the happy assemblage and the finish is impressive.

With a six-bottle case working out at just £23.00 a bottle, it is the perfect conversation-starter for New Year’s Eve.

Coates & Seely, Rosé, Sparkling, Hampshire, England

If you haven’t yet tried some of our home-grown talent, it is your patriotic duty to pick up a bottle (or six) of Coates & Seely’s pale pink fizz – described by Tom Stevenson (a leading Champagne and sparkling wine expert) as ‘one of England’s greatest sparkling rosé wines’.

Mr Stevenson isn’t alone in his praise, Tom Cannavan (of wine-pages.com) had this to say: ‘Quite beautiful, with a gossamer light construction, pale in colour with scents of rose-hips and strawberry, but a fabulously vibrant palate which teases with sweet fruitiness and its very fine mousse, before ravishing acidity through to the finish.

2010 Mâcon-Chardonnay, Clos de la Crochette, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Burgundy

Given 89-91 points by Allen Meadows (burghound.com) upon release in 2011, this wine is a staple for every wine rack. Produced from old vines by the fabled Lafon family in an excellent vintage for white Burgundy, you can’t go wrong with the 2010 Clos de la Crochette.

Our Burgundy Director Jasper Morris MW describes the wine as ‘gentle […] with a touch of cream on the nose, a good volume of pure fruit on the palate and a delicious finish.

2011 Condrieu, Côteau de Vernon, Domaine Georges Vernay, Rhône

This property’s papal heritage (the vigneron Georges Vernay is often called the ‘pape de Condrieu’) is evident in the quality of this truly superior Condrieu.

In the words of Simon Field MW, our Rhône buyer: ‘The wine flirts with perfection; it is antithetical to the deeply coloured and overly viscous Condrieus that one sometimes finds. This is the ‘real deal’; it is a wine of great, almost saline, depth and adamantine clarity.’ With a case saving of over £250 in the sale, grab one while you can.

2011 Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates, Denis Jamain, Loire

A fresh and cool Pinot Noir from the Loire, this Reuilly is utterly charming. Light with fleshy plums and summer fruit, this is an elegant easy-drinker.

Jancis Robinson described it as having ‘gymnast taut with deferential tannins’. Our Loire buyer, David Berry Green, talks about ‘its swooning delivery of pinpoint Pinot purity’.

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château la Nerthe, Rhône

Since the property didn’t produce their top cuvée (Cuvée des Cadettes) in 2011, all their best fruit (from old vines and top plots) went into their 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, much to its benefit. Hold onto this for 10 years and it will only improve.

Robert Parker pronounced it ‘dense, dark ruby, with notes of boysenberry, black cherry, licorice, lavender, pepper and wood spice, the wine is richly fruity, round and elegant’ (89-91 points); whileJancis Robinson described it as having sophistication and ‘exotic maraschino cherry flavours’ (16 points).

Simon Field MW (our Rhône buyer) had this to say: ‘An extremely impressive wine, the 2011 captures all the qualities that I have admired in the wine over the years, in particular aromatic restraint balanced by a wealth of ripe fruit.’

2011 Croft, Vintage Port

With a 95-point score by James Suckling and 92 to 95 points from Neal Martin, the calibre of this Vintage Port is self-evident.

Described by James Suckling as having ‘beautiful aromas of violets and blueberries with hints of blue slate. Full body, medium sweet with chewy tannins and a long, long finish. A leafy, stemmy, nutty undertone to this with hints of shaved milk chocolate. Very refined and beautiful’, the 2011 Croft shouldn’t disappoint. Wait until the early 2020s to uncork.

Explore the January Sale in full on bbr.com.