Dorothy Parker Wines

by Harry Eyres
For the past three years I’ve been serving on the committee of my local tennis club in west London. Calling it a tennis club is accurate up to a point;...
90

NV Taste the Difference Cava, Catalonia

( £7.50 until May 14, 11.5%, Sainsbury's )

Just the thing if you’re looking for a party fizz – especially at the reduced price until May 14th – this is a Cava made from traditional local grapes, rather than interlopers like Chardonnay. Blending 40% Xarel-lo with 30% each of Macabeo and Parellada, this is a bargain bubbly from Castillo de Perelada, with lots of zip, notes of cream and petrichor, citrus and yellow apple flavours and a hint of sweetness.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-27Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Spain, Sparkling, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo
91

2022 Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla

( £13, 14.5%, Aitken Wines, Cheers Wine Merchants, D. Byrne, Noel Young, Premier Cru Wine Merchants, The Battleship, The Bottleshop, Vin Neuf )

Thanks to its preponderance of old vines and a new generation of winemakers, Jumilla is becoming one of Spain’s most talked about regions. This is an understated, sensitively wooded, organically farmed Monastrell from Familia Gil with lots of sweet spices, red berry, bramble and raspberry fruit and plenty of supporting acidity from its high-altitude terroir at 700 metres. Great value from the Castilla a Mancha.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, Red
96

2021 Sierra de Toloño La Dula Garnacha, Rioja

( £21.95, 14%, Lea & Sandeman )

This is the fourth vintage of Sandra Bravo’s brilliant, cool climate old-vine Garnacha from Rivas de Tereso in the high part of the Rioja Alta sub-region and it’s every bit as good as its predecessors. Aged in 300-litre clay amphoras, it’s wonderfully perfumed and intense, with engaging bramble and red cherry fruit sweetness, fine tannins and a long, energetic palate. A majestic expression of the wonderful 2021 vintage.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £20-25, 95-100, Spain, Red, Garnacha
94

2021 Gallina de Piel Manar dos Seixas, Ribeiro

( £23.98, 13%, Shelved Wine, The Fine Wine Company )

David Seijas was the sommelier at El Bulli, considered the best restaurant in the world at the time, for 11 years, but is now making an excellent range of Spanish wines under his Gallina de Piel label. This is brilliant cuvée of mostly Treixadura with lesser amounts of Godello, Albariño and Loureira, sourced from the granite soils of the Ribeiro region. Intense, stony and bone dry, it has flavours of lemongrass and pink grapefruit, plenty of grip and intensity and top notes of green tea, chamomile and juniper. Utterly delicious.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-28Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, Spain, White, Albariño, Godello, Loureira, Treixadura

Vintage Intrigue

by Charlie Leary
One-time Deputy Paymaster to the British Forces, Richard Hill (1655-1727) had an honest soul and functioned as a forthright servant of His Majesty’s Government. For although he loved wine, perhaps...
92

2022 Guímaro Tinto, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia

( £17.33, 12.5%, Joseph Barnes Direct. Shrine to the Vine, Les Caves de Pyrene, Tivoli Wines )

Blending components from the steep-sided Sil and Miño Valleys, this wonderfully gluggable, organically farmed  red is based on Mencía with bits and pieces of other co-planted grapes, according to Pedro Rodríguez. Engagingly intense and floral, it’s a white wine drinker’s red in some ways, with lots of zip and acidity, violet and rose petal aromas, refined tannins and layers of raspberry, pomegranate and wild strawberry. Drink lightly chilled.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Mencia
93

2019 Muga Reserva, Rioja

( £19.99 as part of a purchase of six bottles, 14.5%, Majestic )

One of a dwindling number of top Riojas that combines grapes from the Rioja Alta and Rioja Oriental sub-regions, this impressive Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Pairing Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 6% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano, with ageing in a 80/20 mix of French and American oak, it’s spicy, succulent and smartly wooded, with raspberry and blueberry fruit, sinewy tannins and plenty of acidity to freshen the finish. Will develop further in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-2035Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Tempranillo
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2020 Vinos López La Bodegaza Blanco Valdejalón, Aragón

( £16.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

A wine that blew my mind at the Wine Society’s recent press tasting, this is an excellent new discovery from buyer Pierre Mansour. A Garnacha Blanca that tastes as good as it looks, it hails from 50-year-old vines in Valdejalón, and has incredible intensity and focus. Salty, bone dry and lightly toasty, it has lovely aromas of wet stones, jasmine and thyme and a palate of quinine, sourdough bread and citrus peel.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, White, Grenache Blanc
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2022 Finca Sandoval Fundamentalista, Manchuela

( £19.95, 13%, Noel Young Wines )

Originally founded by a Spanish journalist, Finca Sandoval has been one of the driving forces behind the revival of the high-altitude Manchuela denominación de origen, located close to the Mediterranean on the slopes of the Cuenca mountains. Based on Bobal, the most important local grape, with support from four other rare varieties and a splash of more international Syrah, this is juicy, vibrant and entirely unwooded, with understated old-vine concentration, raspberry, plum and strawberry flavours, granular tannins and a fresh, chalky finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Bobal, Morávia Agria, Rojas, Syrah, Tortosi, Verdal

Pouring Politics

by Charlie Leary
A recent article in Punch argued that we must re-inject politics into wine: “Without politics, terroir is just soil.” The article’s pretext was that some sort of ideological power play...
91

2021 Bodegas Alonso Stripped Desnudo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Jerez

( £13.75, 12.5%, Great Wine Co )

Palomino has an undeserved reputation as a neutral grape, a variety that needs the alchemy of the solera system to turn it into something magical in Jerez. But a new generation of winemakers is busy demonstrating that dry, unfortified wines have considerable appeal. Brothers Fran and Fernando Asencio made this “naked” wine with early picked grapes from an organically farmed vineyard on classic, chalky Albarizas soils. Long lees ageing adds some texture to this unfiltered white, which combines aromas of aniseed and wet stones with a palate of lemon and lime. Deliciously refreshing.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, White, Palomino