91

NV Anna de Codorníu Brut, Catalonia

( £8.99 each for six, 11.5%, Waitrose )

There’s so much focus on Prosecco these day when we’re looking for a good value sparkling wine that we often forget about the joys of Cava. This cuvée of mostly Chardonnay with 10% each of the three local grapes – Parellada, Xarelo-lo and Macabeo – is complex, dry, energetic and well-balanced, with fine bubbles, notes of pear, citrus and fennel and a long, faintly savoury finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Spain, Sparkling, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo
95

2020 Morandé Black Series Chardonnay, Malleco

( £11.99, 13%, Majestic )

Ricardo Baettig produces this stunning Chardonnay with grapes from two sources in Malleco – Baettig (owned by his brother, Pancho) and Kofkeche – both of whom grow the 95 clone. It’s a brilliant first release from Morandé, making the most of one of the most exciting cool climate regions in Chile right now. Chiselled, scented and refined, with effortless balance, concentration and focus, flinty minerality and a pure, tapering citrus and aromatic spice finish. Amazing value.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-30Similar Wines: £10-15, 95-100, Chile, White, Chardonnay
90

2022 Athlon Limited Edition Assyrtiko, Macedonia

( £6.99, 12%, Aldi )

Greek Assyrtiko has become so trendy these days that even Aldi are doing an own-label. The top wines, especially from the volcanic island of Santorini, have crept up in price, so it’s a pleasure to find a very drinkable example of the grape on the high street. This one hails from Macedonia in the north west of the country and was judiciously blended with 10% Chardonnay. Crisp and unoaked, with citrus, wet stone and chamomile flavours complemented by a hint of peach.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Greece, White, Assyrtiko, Chardonnay
92

2020 Heinrich Spindler 3 Trauben, Pfalz

( £11.95, 12%, The Wine Society )

The name of this intriguing wine from the Pfalz region of Germany – three grapes in English – refers to the unusual combination of varieties it contains – Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, which are rarely combined. The result is a fresh, tangy, perfumed white with grapefruit, lime and lychee flavours, subtle wet stone top notes, lots of acidity and zip and a satisfyingly dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Germany, White, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
91

2021 La Chablisienne Petit Chablis, Chablis, Burgundy

( £14, 12%, Marks & Spencer )

Chablis has had a run of warmer vintages over the last eight years, robbing it of the things that make it so distinctive  – sea breeze freshness and chiselled acidity. But 2021 was a partial return to the later, cooler harvests of the past, and all the better as a result. This unwooded Chardonnay from the impressive La Chablisienne co-operative is tangy and textured, with citrus and oyster shell flavours and a pithy finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Chardonnay
93

2021 The Foundry Grenache Blanc, Voor Paardeberg

( £15.50, 14%, The Wine Society )

The Voor Paardeberg is sometimes described as “Swartland Lite”, to distinguish it from the wines made on the other side the mountain, but the region has come into its own in the last five years. This is one of a growing number of stand-alone Grenache Blancs being made around the world, especially in warm regions where the variety retains its acidity. Tangy, pithy and well-structured, with layers of complexity from ageing in barrel, terracotta and stainless steel, as well as 30% malolactic, it has citrus, camomile, aniseed and wet stone flavours and thrilling minerality.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-27Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, South Africa, White, Grenache Blanc
92

2021 Little Giant Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills

( £12.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

Australian Chardonnays have been through a revolution over the last decade, emerging as fresher, brighter and better balanced wines that work really well with food. This example from the cool climate Adelaide Hills is a real find at the price, with aromas of gunflint, lemon butter, and layers of peach and citrus zest. Beautifully balanced.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Australia, White, Chardonnay
92

2021 Caves Orsat Dôle Romane, Valais

( £13.99, 13%, Majestic )

This delicious Alpine red comes from close to the source of the Rhône river, but has more in common with Burgundy than, say, Crozes-Hermitage. Made with Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay, it’s a Swiss version of a Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, using fruit from some of the highest vineyards in Europe. Racy, juicy and lip-smackingly fresh, with red cherry and pomegranate flavours and fine-grained tannins.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Switzerland, Red, Gamay, Pinot Noir
91

2021 M&S Found Weißburgunder, Pfalz

( £9.50, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp, the winemaker behind the very tasty Found Pfalz Pinot Blanc (aka Weißburgunder) used to be a buyer at Marks & Spencer but is now back in his native Germany sourcing wines like this one. Creamy and textured, with some weight from lees contact in tank, flavours of pear, quince and wet stones and a fresh, palate-cleansing finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, White, Pinot Blanc
90

2021 Tesco Finest Chenin Blanc, Bottelary Hills, Stellenbosch

( £7.50, 13.5%, Tesco )

I missed the recent Chenin Blanc conference in South Africa, but I was there in spirit. The French grape has made its home from home in the Cape, where it is responsible for many of the country’s best whites. This one comes from Stellenrust, a winery that makes several different interpretations of the variety, and represents wonderful value. Green apple and pear flavours are framed by vivid, sappy acidity, with just a hint of oak spice as a backdrop.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
93

2020 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, Beaujolais

( £13.50, 14%, The Wine Society )

Given the prices of half-decent red Burgundy these days, it’s little wonder that people are looking for alternatives. This varietal Gamah is a  superb Beaujolais from the Cru of Fleurie that massively over-delivers in the bottle. Spicy, juicy and lightly savoury, it has haunting balance, plenty of colour and intensity, sappy acidity and layers of dark cherry, raspberry. pomegranate and tobacco leaf. Intense, mouth-watering stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Gamay
93

2019 Pegasus Bay Main Divide Riesling, Canterbury

( £10.99, 13%, Majestic )

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is what (almost) everyone seems to want to drink from the so-called Land of the Long White Cloud these days, but why not try this amazing Riesling from Matt Donaldson’s Pegasus Bay Winery in the South Island instead? Rich, textured, perfumed and slightly exotic, it’s a medium-dry style with flavours of honey, lime juice and nectarine, lots of racy acidity and wonderful structure and depth. Brilliant with spicy food.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, New Zealand, White, Riesling