Warning: I can't promise any of the following is still relevant. But some sale offers demand special attention, and two of them are currently running at prominent UK wine retailers. The sale material is Burgundy, a species of wine that rarely gets sold off at seriously reduced prices, and these offers are just too tempting to pass up. But, again, I have to warn you that the sales have been running for a while so there's no guarantee of what you'll be able to get.
First sale venue is Berry Bros & Rudd (tel: 0870 900 4300, www.bbr.com), which has stock left over from its acquisition last year of the wonderful Burgundy specialist Morris & Verdin. Jasper Morris MW, co-founder of the takeover target, is one of the UK's leading experts on Burgundy and he dealt only with the best producers. The offer list is chock-a-block with them, names including the Domaines Jacques Prieur, Boillot, Michelot, and Belland among many others. Prices have been cut by as much as 50 per cent, and start at just £4.95, but £10 to £20 is the most common price range. With £15 or so buying (to take just one example) mature Meursault from producers such as Michelot and Gerard Thomas, this is an offer you can't refuse.
The second offer comes from Majestic, which has just carried off a special purchase similar to those it made of clarets from the Swedish state monopoly in the year 2000. This time the wines come from an offshore investment fund that bought a whole load of Burgundy before discovering that it doesn't have the same investment potential as claret and... well, as claret. (Glad I didn't place any of my millions with that fund.) So they've sold them to Majestic as a large but "fragmented" parcel - around 500 wines, from the lowly to the exalted. Full details are hard to come by because of the disjointed nature of the acquisition, and allocations to individual Majestic stores do not follow any systematic regime for the same reason. But the producers once again include some top names, such as Vincent Girardin, Bouchard Père et Fils, Olivier Leflaive, Marc Colin, Dominique Laurent, Bernard Morey and Domaine Verget. All of which makes this another unrefuseable offer. Trundle along to your nearest Majestic as soon as you can.
If that all sounds too rich for your blood, there's another sale of merit at Sainsbury's. Its annual Drinks Festival features the three hot items to the right, and there are others, including a raft of organic beers and wines, all at hefty discounts. The fun lasts till 13 September. But my attention is drawn to something completely off the map of good taste, the imminent launch of a new product from Anheuser-Busch (the perpetrators of US Budweiser). The product is called BE, and it's a beer-based assembly containing 60.4mg of caffeine along with guarana, ginseng and fruit flavours (cherry, blackberry and raspberry). By way of comparison, an espresso has around 100mg of caffeine.
I haven't had the chance to assess BE, but I do know that various organisations, including AA, Action on Alcohol and the Portman Group, are concerned it will be sold as an "energy" product that helps you to drink for longer. Anheuser-Busch denies that it plans to do this, and instead refers to it as "a fresh new taste that is unique and fun", and no doubt they're right.
But I'm still bemused. Beer, like all alcohol, acts first as a stimulant and then as a depressant. Caffeine, needless to say, acts only as a stimulant. Putting a stimulant and a depressant in the same drink, along with those supposedly therapeutic botanicals, reminds me of Homer Simpson's eulogy to alcohol: "The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems." Here we have the cause and the solution in the same bottle. Will wonders never cease?
Top Corks: Three Sainsbury's savers
El Burro Kickass Garnacha (£4.99, from £7.99) This is indeed a kicking wine, with the exuberant spice riding in on the back of appealing, upfront fruit flavours. Well worth a fiver.
Fuller's London Porter (£1.32/500ml, from £1.76) From London's best brewer, a complex blend of malts yielding velvety richness with generous doses of chocolate and coffee. Stock up now.
Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé 2004 (£4.99, from £6.99) From the Pfalz, as good you would expect from owner Ernst Loosen. Lovely late-summer cocktail of ripe berries with good acidity.Reuse content