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Long Live the independents! Jancis Robinson 13 Nov 2012

13 Nov 2012 by Jancis Robinson, Richard Hemming & Tamlyn Currin

"This array of more than 200 wines provides proof, we hope, of how interesting the independent wine merchants of Britain are. However hard supermarkets such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and to a certain extent Sainsbury's are currently working to demonstrate to the wine media that they also sell fine wine, I think it would be fair to say that few of the wines below would ever be found on a supermarket shelf."

Jancis selects the following Vine Trail wines after attending The Dirty Dozen tasting in September - "a great collection of finds found by 12 particularly enterprising importers. Vivent les indepéndants! They will never be able to match the multiple retailers' prices for cheap wines, but see, for example, Domaine Direct treasures, which shows that they can sometimes - quite often in fact - beat their prices for fine wine, for which experience is worth far more than the size of the order."

Wines are grouped by country/region, and within those groups in order of descending score. GV = good value; QGV = quite good value; VGV = very good value.

Agrapart et Fils, Terroirs Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV Champagne 16 Drink 2012-2016
Nicely complex and layered. Lip smacking. 12%
£33.50 Vine Trail

Bérèche & Fils, Réserve Brut NV Champagne 16 Drink 2012-2015
Easy and open textured with real attack. Bone dry and very sincere even if not that old. QGV 12.5%
£25.50 Vine Trail


Gérard Boulay, Clos de Beaujeu 2010 Sancerre 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Tingly/tangy. Very clean and limpid. Masses of personality and integrity. Hint of lychees. Distinction. 13%
£22.50 Vine Trail

Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes 2009 Morgon 17 Drink 2012-2016
Polish, substance and structure. Very impressive. Real attack. VGV 13.5%
£12.25 Vine Trail




Gilles Berlioz 2010 Vin de Savoie Chignin 16 Drink 2012-2014
100% Jacquère. Very, very delicate and subalpine. Delicacy personified. (Compare and contrast with Koshu.) Great care needed to decide how to serve this – apero? Perhaps slightly chewier than ideal? 11%
£11.95 Vine Trail

Gallety 2009 Côtes du Vivarais 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Still very dark crimson and lovely texture and development. So much smoother than most southern Rhône wines with real interest and savour. Beautifully made with some restraint. GV 14%
£16.96 Vine Trail



La Grange de Quatre Sous, Bu N'Daw Petite Arvine 2010 Vin de Table 17 Drink 2012-2015
100% Petite Arvine from Assignan, Languedoc. Very enterprising to plant this variety here. Scented, herbal and with no shortage of either body or acidity. Really alpine and with great delicacy and freshness. Underpriced! 13%
£13.40 Vine Trail

Le Conte des Floris, Arès Blanc 2010 Coteaux du Languedoc 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Broad, spicy, complex and interesting. Enough freshness. Tight and herbal. Well done! 13.5%
£14.95 Vine Trail


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