At the request of our CEO, I organised a tasting of six wines for colleague just before Christmas; with no specific requests, budget or theme, I decided to go for French classics - mostly.
The wines came from Private Cellar and made for a road trip through France, zig-zagging our way from the east to the Atlantic coast and back before crossing over the Alps into Italy. As you might expect with an MW buying, all the wines were absolutely textbook and flawless, so if you want to get familiar with a particular style, these are as good a place to start as any.
For a bit of fun, I asked people to estimate selling prices for the wines and, in the main, they guessed around £5 - £10 high. So either a) my colleagues spend too much on their wine for the quality or b) Private Cellar are sourcing wines that outperform for the price. Or both.
In a number of cases, the wines carry a relatively unassuming official classification but are of a much higher standard that you would expect from the label alone; this is an area where smaller, better independent wine merchants can punch above their weight. And everyone apart from label snobs benefits.
At the end of the tasting, I asked people to name their favourite wine; there were a range of answers which is always a good sign when the wines shown are all of a similar price.
The final indicator was to see which bottles, when we sat down to drink with some food, emptied the most quickly.On this basis, the Bordeaux was a clear winner, closely followed by the Barbera and the fizz.
The wines in detail:
Crémant de Bourgogne Brut P100 Blanc de Noir Simonnet Febvre NV, Burgundy (£18.85)
Les Rafelières Sauvignon Blanc, IGP Val de Loire 2018
Mâcon Uchizy, Mallory & Benjamin Talmard 2018 (£14.50)
Château Tayet, Bordeaux Supérieur 2015
Château Beauchêne Premier Terroir, Côtes du Rhône 2016 (£14.70)
Barbera d'Alba, Rocche Costamagna 2017(£15.30)