Let’s hear it for Sherry

by Tim Atkin
Cardiff is an unlikely place for an epiphany. The Welsh capital has its attractions, especially on rugby match days at the Millennium Stadium, but no one would mistake it for...

White wine rising

by Christy Canterbury MW
Though the “ABC”, or “Anything But Chardonnay” campaign continues to rail against it, Chardonnay remains the favourite white grape of USA wine drinkers. It is also the planet’s most planted,...

Beyond the Cellar Door

by Tim Atkin
The pencil was a sharp as a tack. The tasting sheets were beautifully designed, with just the right amount of information: geeky, yet precise, containing useful details about vineyards and...
93

2018 Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £15.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

Whether I’m on holiday in Spain or at home in London, this is my favourite summer white. Come to think of it, I drink it pretty much all year round. As crisp and refreshing as an early morning swim in the Atlantic, it’s the quintessential seafood tipple, with tangy, citrus and lime flavours, a hint of stone fruit and a zesty, spritzy finish. A delicious unoaked white that tingles your palate.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-22Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, White, Albariño

Misunderstood Wines

by Chris Wilson
There are certain rights-of-passage conversations that take place as we make our journeys in life. Which football team do you support? Where did you grow up? What was your first...
92

2017 Brisa de Verano Garnatxa Blanca, Cataluña

( £12.79, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Woodwinters Wines )

White Grenache might not be everyone’s idea of a summer white wine, but this Catalan example is remarkably refreshing, demonstrating the variety’s ability to maintain acidity in a hot Mediterranean climate. Lees-aged with some skin contact and the addition of 5% Macabeu (Macabeo in Spanish), this is stony, waxy and intense with a combination of coastal-influenced salinity and undertones of pear and lime.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: £10-£20, 90-94, Spain, White, Garnacha Blanca

Island of discoveries

by Tim Atkin
“You’re joking,” said María Hontoria, the oenologist from the governing Cabildo de Tenerife. “I thought everyone from the UK had been here.” Her surprise was justified. Nearly six million tourists...
90

2016 Tesco Viña del Cura Rioja Crianza, Rioja

( £6.75, 13.5% )

Is there a better value Rioja Crianza in the UK right now? If there is, I haven’t tasted it. Sourced from Bodegas Muriel, this is a wonderfully traditional style, made entirely from Tempranillo and aged in American oak. Supple, fragrant and sweet, with notes of coconut, fresh tobacco and wild strawberry underpinned by fresh acidity. Delicious.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: 90-94, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
92

2015 As Furnias, Juan González Arjones, Galicia

( £18.50, 12.5% )

Sold as a table wine (vino de mesa), despite the fact that it comes from the sub-zone of Crecente in the Rías Baixas DO, this is an intriguing and quite possibly unique cuvée of Brancellao, Caiño, Sousão and Espadeiro. (The Portuguese names are appropriate, given that the vineyards are close to the River Minho, which separates Spain from northern Portugal). Juicy, tangy and savoury, with an appealingly wild, funky note, bracing acidity, crunchy bramble and pomegranate fruit and the sort of freshness and bite you find in red Vinho Verde. One of a number of impressive wines from this dynamic Galician importer.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: Spain, Brancellao, Caiño, Espadeiro, Sousão
95

2004 Urbina Gran Reserva Rioja, Rioja

( £19, 14%, The Wine Society )

The Urbina family’s appealingly traditional Riojas age brilliantly thanks to the acidity that comes with growing Tempranillo in the cool, limestone-dominated Cuzcurrita zone. This isn’t a blockbuster wine, but it’s remarkably complex, savoury and scented with notes of wild strawberries, forest floor and pouch tobacco, filigree tannins and haunting balsamic sweetness.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-2025Similar Wines: Spain, Red, Tempranillo

Capital ventures

by Matt Walls
When London’s first urban winery opened in 2013, I was cynical. But London Cru is still going strong, having since won multiple awards for its wines and gained listings in...