Maury 1928 Solera

Maury Solera 1928 Cask 849, Les Vignerons de Maury, 17%, France

(£19.95 for 50cl, Berry Bros & Rudd)

The day after Kantar published research indicating a third of Brits wouldn’t countenance paying more than a fiver for a bottle of wine, I popped into Berry Bros & Rudd.

Who don’t list a single wine under £5.

Elitist? If that’s the way you want to paint it, then go ahead. It’s one point of view.

But times change. You used to be able to pick up a decent wine under a fiver – as we once regularly did in supermarkets all around the land on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.

But those days are long gone. There’s the (very) odd exception – I tasted a couple at Tesco’s tasting last week. But an increasingly punitive tax regime plus a depreciated pound, among other things, means that £5 leaves just pennies to be spent on the liquid.

And you can taste it.

The difference between £5 and £7/£8 these days is huge. Over £5 is the point at which more starts getting spent on the wine itself. Giving a decent living back to the people who work hard on the land all around the world to deliver these wines. And making for a far more satisfying taste experience.

But not everyone has tons of cash to splash on wine – that’s entirely normal. So what’s the solution?

Well, if things carry on as they are, we’d better start preparing ourselves for £10 to become ‘the new fiver’. It may not sound pleasant, but it’s a reality.

And, short of emigrating, that will mean drinking less but better. Being a bit more picky about what you drink.

And perhaps there are opportunities for alternative formats here too – 50cl bottles, or cans, or bag in box – all to meet a different price point and help people find decent wines at an affordable price.

There were plenty of decent wines on show at BBR’s tasting.

Sure, there wasn’t much under £15. But these were special occasion wines across a variety of styles, well worth drinking a little bit less of to help the budget stretch further.

Particular highlights included the elegant, savoury, complex Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py  2017 (£18.95), which we’re big fans of. Also a refined, expressive range of English sparkling wines by Hambledon.

But it was hard to overlook this sumptuous Maury. It’s not a big bottle (50cl) but it’s stunning stuff – virtually an entire dessert course in itself. Rich, sweet muscovado and baked fruit flavours cascade into a gorgeously nutty finish. Like a cross between Oloroso sherry and aged tawny port.

(Peter, 8/10, October 2019)

Other hotly tipped wines from Berry Bros & Rudd’s portfolio, as tasted by Peter, October 2019:

Sparkling – Let’s Get Fizzical

  • Massottina Organic Prosecco Brut, Italy, £14.95
  • Berry Bros & Rudd English Sparkling Rosé by Hambledon, 12%, England, £27.95
  • Hambledon Classic Cuvée Sparkling, 12%, England, £29.95
  • Berry Bros & Rudd Champagne by Mailly Grand Cru 2009, France, £39

White – Fresh & Racy

  • Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 2018, 13.5%, South Africa, £15
  • Frankland Estate Riesling 2018, 12%, Australia, £17.95

White – Mellow Yellow

  • Monte del Frà Custoza 2018, 12.5%, Italy, £12.50
  • Mullineux Old Vines Whites 2018, 13.5%, South Africa, £24.95
  • Crittenden Estate The Zumma Chardonnay 2017, 13%, Australia, £27
  • L’Esprit de Chevalier Blanc 2015, 13%, France, £38
  • Passopisciaro Graci Contrada da Arcuria Etna Bianco 2016, 14%, Italy, £47

Red – Feeling Fruity

  • Berry Bros & Rudd Cotes du Rhone Rouge by Remi Pouizin 2018, 13%, France, £11.50
  • Berry Bros & Rudd Argentinean Malbec by Pulenta Estate 2018, 14.5%, £12.95
  • Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py 2017, 13%, France, £18.95
  • Berry Bros & Rudd Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir by Au Bon Climat 2018, 13.5%, USA, £25.95
  • Domaine Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chênes 2017, 13.5%, France, £26.50

Red – Big Smoothie

  • Berry Bros & Rudd Extra Ordinary Claret by Ch Villa Bel-Air 2016, 13%, £16.95
  • Finca Allende Rioja 2012, 13.5%, Spain, £25.50
  • L’Esprit de Chevalier Rouge 2013, 13%, France, £26.50
  • Château Giscours 2011, 13.5%, France, £50
  • Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2015, 14%, Italy, £57
  • Magnum of VIña Tondonia Reserva Rioja 2006, 13%, Spain, £82

Sweet – Sticky Fingers

  • Berry Bros & Rudd Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos by Oremus 2013, 12%, Hungary, £37.50
  • Les Vignerons de Maury Solera 1928, Cask 849, 17%, France, £19.95 (for 50cl)