Food and Drink: Bin-end sleuths should get on the case: There are duds but also bargains in the wine merchants' sales, says Anthony Rose

Shoppers with a nose for a bin-end can sniff out the odd real bargain at the January sales. And, as the rule is strictly first come, first served, my advice is to get stuck in as soon as possible, even if the sales notionally continue until the end of the month or beyond. There are, however, a couple of caveats.

Most merchants sell by the case only, although cases may be mixed and delivery may sometimes be free. Relatively few wines are genuine bargains. The annual sales present wine merchants with an ideal opportunity to muck out their Augean stables, to unload stock that has passed its metaphorical sell-by date.

There is, for instance, rather a large number of 1984 clarets doing the rounds. This was the worst claret vintage of the Eighties, though there are good buys to be had where the price is right. Berry Bros & Rudd is offering a six-bottle pack of 1984 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou at pounds 19.84 per bottle (no joke, apparently, and it is an even unfunnier pounds 25 at Unwins).

You might be better off at Corney & Barrow, however, which has the same wine, on a long list of mature clarets and burgundies, at a still-expensive pounds 15.33. And even there you will find the occasional nonsense, such as the 1992 Loron Beaujolais Nouveau, decribed as 'maturing nicely, super value', at pounds 3.25 a bottle.

Still in largely traditional territory are the sales at Laytons, John Armit and Peatlings. Thos Peatling, the East Anglia merchant, is offering 20 per cent off all table wines over pounds 10 for the whole of January and February. (Why stop there?) Meanwhile, Laytons, disposing of the tail-end of a pounds 3m cellar, says it has 'not seen a list of so many top wines at these prices since the difficult days of the mid-Seventies'.

Some of the reductions do look tempting, even allowing for prices that started too high in the first place. At pounds 57.58 a case, or pounds 4.80 a bottle (down from pounds 86.40 a case), it is worth investing in a case or two of the 1990 Chateau le Bernadot, a classic, ripe and easy-drinking medoc. Among other interesting propositions are the 1989 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, down from pounds 270 to pounds 218, 1990 Domaine de Chevalier, from pounds 280 to pounds 220, Chateau Cos d'Estournel, from pounds 270 to pounds 218, and Chateau Canon, from pounds 253 to pounds 205.

John Armit's new year sale includes a number of goodies, notably the popular 1992 Domaines Virginie Chardonnay, from pounds 64 a case to pounds 56, or pounds 4.75 a bottle, and a fine claret, which will drink beautifully over the next three to five years, the 1990 Chateau Commanderie, Lalande de Pomerol, reduced from pounds 115 to pounds 108.

Both Bibendum and Lay & Wheeler offer more varied selections of reductions from around the world, slicing off an average of 20 per cent. Bibendum is offering the 1992 Puiatti Pinot Grigio for pounds 4.99 a bottle, while the graves-like 1991 Sonoma Valley Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc is down from pounds 8.98 to pounds 6.50 a bottle. At Lay & Wheeler, all the best buys have already gone, but there are plenty of useful bin-ends still going.

Full details of sale-price wines from:

Lay & Wheeler, John Lay House, 97 Gosbecks Road, Colchester, Essex (0206 764446). Sale ends 31 January.

Peatlings, Westgate House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1QS (0284 755948). Sale ends 28 February.

Bibendum, 113 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8UR (071-722 5577). Sale ends 26 February.

John Armit Wines, 5 Royalty Studios, 105 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QF (071-727 6846). Sale ends 11 February.

Laytons, 20 Midland Road, London NW1 2AD (071-388 5081). Sale ends 31 January.

Corney & Barrow, 12 Helmet Row, London EC1V 3QJ (071-251 4051). Sale ends 28 January.

Berry Bros & Rudd, 3 St James's Street, London SW1A 1EG (071-396 9600). Sale ends 11 February.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits