89

2014 De Bortoli La Bohème Act Three, Pinot Gris & Friends, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £13.95, 13.5%, Slurp )

One for opera buffs, or possibly just bohemians, this is an Aussie take on an Alsace-style blend, based on Pinot Gris. Aromatic and appealing, with orchard fruit and spring blossom on the nose, it segues into waxy, pear and apple spice flavours and a tangy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio
92

2014 Domaine de la Noblaie Le Temps des Cerises, Chinon, Loire Valley

( £8.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

Is Loire Cabernet Franc finally getting the recognition it deserves, partly because of the rise in the grape’s fortunes elsewhere? If so, it’s about time. Where else can you find a wine as complex as this Chinon for under £9? It’s a classically grassy, refreshing red with no apparent oak and remarkable elegance and fruit purity. Drink it chilled, and drink lots of it. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
90

2014 Josmeyer Le Pinot Blanc, Mise de Printemps, Alsace

( £11.50, 12%, The Wine Society )

Pinot Blanc tends to get overlooked in Alsace behind Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, but when it’s as good as this biodynamically farmed example, it’s delicious. Textured, rich and focused with a touch of appealing bitterness, presumably from skin contact, and notes of white flowers, honey and beeswax. The wine finishes refeshingly dry.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, White, Pinot Blanc
93

2009 Berry Brothers & Rudd Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy

( £29.95, 13%, Berry Bros & Rudd )

Showing the sweetness and silky drinkability of the 2009 vintage in Burgundy, this Gevrey from the excellent Rossignol-Trapet domaine is one of the best wines in Berrys’ newly-launched own-label selection. Supple, textured and forward, it has aromas and flavours of summer pudding and a hint of savoury oak, underpinned by just the right amount of acidity. So good, you’ll want to drink it now, but this has more stuffing than you think.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, France, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2013 Palatia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

( £10 (down to £8), 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to buy wine for Marks & Spencer before he returned to his former life as a winemaker in Germany. M&S’ loss is our gain (and they are still stocking his wines anyway) because this is an oustandingly well priced Pinot from a country that has more of the variety in the ground than New Zealand does. It’s a smooth, savoury, easy-drinking red with some spice, sweet plum and raspberry fruit, good texture and a long, supple finish underpinned by subtle oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Germany, Red, Pinot Noir
95

2010 Seresin Sun & Moon Pinot Noir, Marlborough

( £52.99, 14%, Armit Wines )

Sun & Moon is the top Pinot from Seresin (made in this instance from the Raupo Creek vineyard) with a price tag to match. It is consistently among the best New Zealand reds and that’s the case here with this outstanding 2010, which is maturing with grace and elegance. Concentrated, savoury, yet also refreshing this combines structure with succulence, sustained by acidity and not afraid of tannin. A wine that will age for another ten years. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £50-£100, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
94

2008 Contino Reserva, Rioja

( £19.99, 14% )

Contino is one of the properties that launched the single estate movement in Rioja, a superb wine that develops beautifully in bottle. 2008 was a late, cool vintage in Rioja, giving this blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano a refreshing, low key elegance. Sublte and refined, with red fruits, subtle oak, some plummy tannins and deftly integrated oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Graciano, Grenache, Tempranillo
93

2011 G.D. Vajra, Barbera d'Alba Superiore, Barbera d'Alba, Piedmont

( £23, 15%, Liberty Wines )

Slightly higher in alcohol than the regular Barbera, this is mostly sourced from the Bricco delle Viole vineyard, where the vines are 40 years old. Aged in neutral Slavonian oak, it’s creamy, smooth and savoury, with impressive texture, notes of liquorice and dried herbs, polished tannins and a warm, full-bodied finish. A Barbera that’s definitely worth keeping for a few years. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-19Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Italy, Red
96

2010 G.D. Vajra Luigi Baudana, Cerretta, Barolo, Piedmont

( TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines )

Even chalkier and fresher than the Baudana bottling under the same label, this has more perfume, elegance and finesse, with a tautness and minerality that are thrilling to taste. Essence of Serralunga, with fine, silky tannins, good structure and a sweet, complex finish that goes on and on and on. Beautiful Barolo. 

BuyDrinking window: 2018-30Similar Wines: £30-£50, 96-100, Red
93

2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko, Santorini

( £14.95, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Winedirect )

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it’s grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko