93

2019 Angeline Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California

( £19.99, 13.8%, Aitken Wines, Askew Wines, Cheers Wine Merchants, Flagship Wines, Framlington Wines, Harris Wines, New Forest Wines, Seven Cellars, St Andrews Wines, Stroud Wines )

It’s rare to find really good Californian Pinot Noir under £20 a bottle, especially if it comes from the ultra-trendy Russian River area. This is elegant, precise and very lightly oaked, with aromas of fennel and sweet baking spices, a palate of wild strawberry and goji berries, silky tannins and the supporting acidity that you’d expect from a region with cool Pacific influence. Fantastic value.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, United States, Red, Pinot Noir
93

2017 Quinta da Silveira Colheita Branco, Douro Valley

( £16.95, 12.5%, Davy's )

It’s something of a paradox. How can a region as hot as Portugal’s Douro Valley, home of full-throttle Ports, also produce elegant, graceful white wines? The answer lies in site selection, picking dates and the acidity of the local grapes. This cuvée of Rabigato, Gouveio, Viosinho and Arinto is a delicious example from winemaker Rodrigo Martins. It’s both lightly tropical and refreshing, with notes of caramelised pineapple, pear and green apple, fresh, almost salty acidity and a hint of kerosene that’s reminiscent of an aged Riesling. Remarkable at the price.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Portugal, White, Arinto, Gouveia, Rabigato, Viosinho
93

2021 Arbousset Tavel Rosé, Rhône

( £12.99, 13.5%, Tesco )

It’s not often that I get excited about a rosé – too many of them are like pale pink spots on a pink wall – but this is the real deal from the south of France. Made by Julie Rouffignac and Gérald Lafont, it’s an intense, deeply coloured number with lots of flavour and concentration to match. Structured and intense, Arbousset is almost a red wine, made from a harmonious cuvée of mostly Grenache with 20% each of Syrah and Cinsault. Juicy redcurrant, strawberry and red cherry fruit is complemented by a nip of savoury tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah
92

2021 Domaine Maby La Fermade Blanc, Lirac, Rhône

( £11.95, 12.5%, Wine Society )

Varietal whites are so popular these days – all those Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs – that it’s easy to overlook the charms of blended ones, especially when they’re made from an unusual combination of grapes. This wonderful, unoaked Rhône Valley example from Domaine May combines Clairette with 35% Grenache Blanc and 25% Picpoul and is engagingly fresh, stony and tangy, with citrus, quince and wild herb flavours and lovely mid-palate weight.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £11.95, 90-94, France, White, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul
90

2021 Tesco Finest Western Australia Chardonnay, Western Australia

( £8, 13%, Tesco )

I’m old enough to remember the days when most Australian Chardonnays were ripe, buttery and oaky. But the last decade or so has witnessed a remarkable transformation in the style of the country’s most famous white grape. This very lightly wooded, great value example from Howard Park shows you what I mean. Textured yet refreshing, with struck match and vanilla spice aromas, waxed lemon and grapefruit flavours and a taut, appealingly refreshing finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Australia, White, Chardonnay
91

2021 Domaine Zafeirakis Malagousia, Tirnavos

( £12.99, 13%, Waitrose )

This delicious Greek stunner isn’t available in all of Waitrose’s stores, but it’s well worth tracking down. Made from organically farmed Malagousia grapes on schist soils close to Mount Olympus, Christos Zafeirakis’ unoaked white is floral, musky and enticing, with passion fruit, citrus and clementine flavours and stony, refreshing acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Greece, White, Malagousia
90

2020 Incanta Pinot Noir, Romania

( £6.49, 12.5%, Majestic )

Given the high prices of top red Burgundy these days, we Pinot Noir lovers are always on the lookout for more affordable examples of our favourite red grape. Chile is a good place to start, but I don’t think it can compete with the quality of this Romanian red. Sourced as an exclusive parcel for Majestic, it tastes as good as it looks. Racy, supple and perfumed, with raspberry, pomegranate and wild strawberry flavours, tangy acidity and fine-grained tannins. Remarkable at £6.49.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Romania, Red, Pinot Noir
91

2020 Creation Chardonnay, Walker Bay

( £12.99, 13.5%, Majestic )

Winemaker Jean-Claude Martin calls this his “village wine”, produced from 11 different blocks at Creation, tucked away at the top end of the painterly Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Deftly wooded in 10% new barrels, it has an engaging combination of citrus, pear, nutmeg and beeswax flavours lifted by acidity. A very impressive Cape white from a Chardonnay master.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, South Africa, White, Chardonnay
93

2020 Laurent Miquel La Vérité, IGP Pays d'Oc, Occitanie

( £17.99, 14.5%, Waitrose )

Every bit as good as the much more vaunted (and expensive) wines of Condrieu in the northern Rhône, this is an appealingly rich, scented, heady Viognier from the Languedoc that still manages to keep its feet on the ground. Peach, citrus and honeysuckle notes are framed by nuanced, spicy oak and supported by acidity. Exotic, palate-coating stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, White, Viognier
90

2021 Luis Felipe Edwards Macerao Naranjo Orange Wine, Itata Valley

( £8.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

It’s good to see a well-made orange wine making it into the Chilean mainstream thanks to Luis Felipe Edwards. And this is definitely at the cleaner, less funky end of the spectrum. Macerated on skins for 90 days, it’s an unfiltered Moscatel de Alejandría from the undulating, spectacularly beautiful Itata Valley, with black tea, honey and orange zest flavours and bright, tangy acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90, Chile, White, Moscatel de Alejandría
94

2019 Martín Códax Cantigas Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £15.99, 13%, Majestic )

Albariño is fast becoming one of my favourite grapes, not only in its native Portugal and north-west Spain, but in Uruguay and Argentina too. It’s a variety that’s drinkable young but ages really well too. This wine from Katia Álvarez and Martín Códax is a single vineyard expression that looks as good it tastes. Tangy, crisp and wonderfully focused, with citrus, green apple and sea salt flavours, wonderful texture and enduring palate length. Seafood heaven.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, White, Albariño
92

2021 Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling, Great Southern, Western Australia

( £9, 13%, Tesco )

One of those wines that’s so good I still want to stop strangers in the street and tell them about it after all these years, Tingelup Riesling has been one of the very best – and best value – wines in the Tesco lineup for as long as I can remember. Made by ace winemaker Janice McDonald of Howard Park in Western Australia, it’s wonderfully tangy, bone dry Aussie white with lime and waxed lemon peel intensity, stony, mouth-watering acidity and a long tapering finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Australia, White, Riesling