Anthony Rose: 'The Dirty Dozen are passionate advocates of wines that speak of individuality from artisanal producers'

 

Was it the prospect of The Dirty Dozen yapping at their heels that prompted The Bunch to pull out the stops at their autumn tasting a fortnight ago? Let me explain. The Dirty Dozen is a new grouping of some of the UK's top independent wine importers, The Bunch an association of independent wine merchants that's been going strong for a little while now. No one's suggesting that The Bunch has been resting on its laurels, far from it, but The Dirty Dozen is a new force in the land.

Choosing a name to reflect a dirt-under-the-fingernails approach (in the winemaking sense), The Dirty Dozen reflects a growing interest in distinctive wines of character, in contrast to the brand-orientated fare churned out by supermarkets. Largely specialising in specific regions or countries, what the 12 have in common is their focus on wines made with TLC. The wine merchant Roberson, says, "we remain passionate advocates of wines that offer value, character and substance; we choose wines that we like – that speak of place and individuality from small artisanal producers".

Last year, Roberson won Decanter Magazine's London Wine Merchant of the Year for wines such as the lime-zesty 2009 Marcel Deiss Riesling, £19.95, the smoky 2010 Domaine les Goubert Côtes du Rhône Blanc, £10.50, and the outstandingly complex 2002 Domaine Peyre Rose Coteaux du Languedoc, £46. One of the major differences between The Dirty Dozen and The Bunch, whose six members are totally focused on consumer retailing, is that TDD includes both retailers and suppliers to the trade. Most of TDD will sell by the mixed case to consumers.

Barely known outside the trade, The Wine Barn, for instance, has established itself within the restaurant trade as a supplier of high-quality, often dry, German wines. Over 11 years, its founder Iris Ellmann has built up an impressive portfolio, selling a host of excellent German rieslings, among them the refreshingly dry 2009 Hans Wirsching Riesling Spätlese Iphofer Kronsberg, £24.75, and introducing a raft of fine German pinot noirs such as the sweetly raspberryish 2009 Spätburgunder 'Franz Anton' from Franz Keller, £20.10.

With a focus on family-run estates in France, Portugal and Spain, Indigo Wine is another similar supplier. A terrific Spanish list includes, among others, the tangy, bone-dry El Maestro Sierra Fino Sherry, £14.95, Indigo, as well as the smoky-scented, stonefruit-flavoured 2009 Coto de Gomariz Blanc, Ribeiro, £14.50, The Sampler, and the richly concentrated and ultra-stylish 2009 4 Kilos, Mallorca, £31.95, The Sampler, Harvey Nichols.

Flint Wines is a relative newcomer specialising in high-quality burgundy and including a few gems from the Rhône, too – and Oregon. Among its quality white burgundies, look for the dry, mineral 2009 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er cru Côte de Lechet, £18.50, and the spicy, strawberryish 2009 Cristom Vineyards Mount Jefferson Pinot Noir, £25.95.

H2Vin, for its part, only two years old, is the brainchild of sommelier Matt Wilkin and the experienced Christian Honorez. Their portfolio includes superb burgundies such as the 2008 Domaine Moreau Naudet Chablis Vieilles Vignes, £15, and the wonderfully savoury 2007 Bruno Colin Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot, £38.75. This may be the first you've heard of The Dirty Dozen but not, I suspect, the last. For their full contact details, check out anthonyrosewine.com.

The Wine Gang Christmas Fair 2011 ticket giveaway

The Wine Gang is five of the UK’s most respected wine critics: Anthony Rose of The Independent, Joanna Simon of House & Garden, Tom Cannavan of wine-pages.com, David Williams of The Observer and Jane Parkinson of janeparkinson.com.

For the third year running, they have put together an incredible all-day festival of wine where you can taste from 600 wines priced £6 to £80, take part in a fun and a free wine walk conducted by the Gang, and meet and learn from some famous names who will present tutored masterclasses including Bollinger Champagne, Michael Chapoutier of the Rhone, Bodegas O Fournier from Argentina and Jane Ferrari presenting the icon wines of Yalumba.

This is Britain’s brightest, best and most relaxed wine event and is a fabulous chance to plan your wine drinking for Christmas and beyond. Many of the exhibitors at the fair will be offering exclusive discounts on the day, too.

We have three pairs of tickets to the event, including a masterclass of your choice (subject to availability) to give away (each of the three prize packages is worth £70).

The Wine Gang Christmas Fair 2011, Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, London, SE1; Sat 29 Oct; £20, early bird £15, optional tickets for each masterclass £15; ticketSOUP.com; 0844 481 8898

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003