94

2016 Le Faîte Producteurs Plaimont, Saint Mont, Gascony

( £20.95, 13.5% )

Gascony used to be regarded as foie gras and Armagnac country (not necessarily at the same time) until the Producers Plaimont co-operative came along and changed the image of the region’s dry reds and whites. Le Faîte is their top white blend, made from a trio of local grapes – Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu – and is a stunning cuvée, somewhere between a Spanish Albariño and a Greek Assyrtiko in style. Pithy, saline and very complex, with quince, apple and grapefruit flavours, mouth-watering acidity and the concentration to age brilliantly in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: 90-94, France, White, Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu, Petit Manseng
92

2019 Domaine de la Noë Vignoble Drouard Fief de l'Ancruère Muscadet Fût de Châtaignier, Loire Valley

( £12.99, 12%, Daniel Lambert )

Muscadet is something of a forgotten area these days, but at its best this Atlantic-influenced Loire region can make truly sublime whites that are both complex and affordable. This example from the Drouard brothers was fermented in chestnut wood – not something you find much in France or elsewhere these days – and is refreshing, textured and layered, with notes of pear and citrus, leesy weight, a hint of wood spice and a dry, tapering, almost salty finish. As good as many Chablis Premiers Crus, this is a Melon de Bourgogne that tastes like a classy white Burgundy. For local stockists, contact Daniel Lambert.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-23Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Melon de Bourgogne, Melon de Bourgogne
91

2018 Waitrose Blueprint Provence Rosé, Côtes de Provence

( £8.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )

This very stylish pale rosé is great value at £8.99, but at the offer price of £6.74 until July 7th (as long as you buy six bottles from the overall Waitrose range), it’s the kind of thing that would have people queuing up on the Côte d’Azur if it were available there. Racy, refreshing and delicate, it’s less than half the price of many more famous names but over-delivers in the glass. Textured and well balanced, with raspberry and redcurrant flavours and a satisfying dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-21Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-95, France, Rose, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah

Whither Bordeaux 2019?

by Rod Smith MW
Why on earth would anyone spend €370 for a bottle of Cheval Blanc when you can buy Figeac for €120? Both seem likely to score around the 98-100 point range...
90

2018 Villa Blanche Terret Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc

( £6.49 until June 2nd , 12%, Waitrose )

Terret Blanc is one of those very localised grape varieties that you only find in the Languedoc, mostly in the Hérault department. It comes in three, mutated colours – white, red and pink (gris) – and tends to be blended with other varieties. This white version is great value at its normal price of £8.49, but a steal at £6.49. Grown on the sort of clay and limestone soils you find in Burgundy, it has some of the zip, citrus crunch and steeliness of an unoaked Chablis, but with top notes of wild Mediterranean herbs. Long, tangy and refreshing.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-22Similar Wines: £5-8, 90-94, France, White, Terret Blanc

Ticking the right boxes

by Margaret Rand
I’ve been doing some recreational online shopping in the lockdown. But only for things I know will be reliable; only things which will be as I expect. Once upon a...

Why I love Chenin Blanc

by Ken Forrester
Chenin Blanc truly is the Cinderella of the wine industry, a shy grape, with no immediately outstanding features.  If you’ve ever seen a bunch on the vine – a medium...

Remaking Burgundy

by John Atkinson MW
“In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the...

Burgundy’s high flyer

by Tim Atkin
“Where’s the Fourrier?” is an increasingly common question at Burgundy tastings these days. Just as closing time visitors to the Louvre are loath to tarry in the Etruscan collection on...
92

2017 Famille Perrin Réserve du Mistral, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Rhône Valley

( £11.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

This impressive wine is sometimes described as a ‘mini Châteauneuf-du-Pape” but it’s much better than that. In fact, it’s superior to many supermarket CNDPs and cheaper, too. Made by the Perrin family who own Château de Beaucastel, it’s a poised, scented, integrated cuvée of mostly Grenache with 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, with fine red berry fruit, a dusting of Mediterranean herbs, understated wood and a refreshing, medium-bodied finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-95, France, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah