Cellar notes #34: Wheeler dealing

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"These wines are becoming very popular, are more full-bodied than Claret, and are recommended by the highest medical authorities."

"These wines are becoming very popular, are more full-bodied than Claret, and are recommended by the highest medical authorities." This endorsement of Australian wines from Lay & Wheeler's 1883 list is a snippet from a fascinating series reprinted in the Suffolk merchant's 150th-anniversary list. Lay & Wheeler (0845 3301855) deserves its longevity - it has adapted to changing trends, always puts the customer first and, commendably, every wine has its own mouthwatering tasting note.

At its spring tasting in London, Lay & Wheeler showed a series of newly minted wines with sections on Languedoc, the Americas, New Zealand and Burgundy. In the Languedoc section, two wines from Chateau St Martin de la Garrigue stood out: the 2001 Bronzinelles (£8.45), a pure southern-French red with juicy red-berry qualities, and the more intense, complex and spicy 2001 Château Martin de la Garrigue, £10.95.

From Chile, Casa Marin's 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Laurel Vineyard (£13.95), showed superbly opulent fruit balanced by grapefruity characters, while both the raspberryish 2000 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel (£10.95) and the concentrated, mulberry fruit and oak spice of the 2001 Alta Vista Malbec Grande Reserve (£10.95) will make terrific summer reds.

Finally, a white and red grand burgundy for the well-heeled: Jean-Marc Pillot's rich, racy 2000 Montrachet 1er cru Les Baudines, £31.95, and the perfumed, voluptuous red-berry class of the 2000 Chambolle Musigny 1er cru Les Feusselottes, £29.95.

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