Specialist wine merchants, unlike their brash rivals among the supermarkets, keep discount sales to a minimum. Margins are, after all, commonly just as tight for high-value, single-estate wines as they are for the kind of mass-produced wines favoured by the retail multiples. But in January, even the grandest merchants do permit themselves a seasonal clear-out, and there are bargains to be had.
Berry Bros & Rudd, the London merchant with a terrific additional shop at Houndmills in Basingstoke, Hampshire, has just launched its January sale, with discounts of up to 40%. A few of the wines are known to me, and are very good buys. Visit www.bbr.com/sale for full details.
Sale wines are offered by the case. I suggest Jean-Yves Devevey Rully Blanc 2008, usually £18.95 a bottle, reduced to £155.40 per dozen (£12.95 a bottle). It's a radiantly rich and ripe white burgundy of epic proportions, made and aged in cask, now mellow in maturity and still thrillingly fresh and edgy.
Jordan Estate Bradgate Syrah 2010, usually £9.95, is now £83.40 a case (£6.95 a bottle). Jordan is one of South Africa's premier family-owned estates and this silky-spicy, ideally balanced red is a rare experience.
Laiolo Reginin Barbera d'Asti Sulis 2009, usually £16.95, is £141 per case (£11.75 a bottle). It's an exotic example of a wine style familiar from supermarket brands – red glugging wine from Barbera grapes grown in Piedmont, Italy. Here, from a leading producer, is Barbera in its deluxe manifestation, lush and fascinating.