I get a small glow of pride reviewing this wine as I tasted it at a Three Wine Men event and told the Rude Wines team how good it was. I’m delighted to say they agreed with me and listed it. Cottonworth is not one of the best-known English bubbly producers, but it’s definitely a name to keep an eye on if this is typical of future releases. Balanced, elegant and refined, with small bubbles, notes of summer berries and candy floss, a creamy, textured, mid palate and a long, satisfying finish. Great as an aperitif or with a bowl of strawberries.
Food Match: Desserts
1998 Fonseca, Guimaraens Vintage Port, Douro Valley( £27.99, 20.5%, Waitrose )
Mid-way between a single quinta and not-quite-a-vintage Port, this is rich, sweet and easy to drink, but with more structure and concentration than is immediately apparent. Spicy, peppery and showing a little bit of fiery spirit, this has dark, creamy fruit flavours and a complex, chocolatey finish.
NV Taylor's, 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley( £35, 20%, Amazon, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, The Wine Society, thedrinkshop.com )
Taylor’s isn’t as well known for its Tawnies as some houses are – its LBVs and Vintage Ports are up there with the very best – but it should be, based on the quality of this 20-year-old release. Figgy, sweet and complex, with beautifully integrated spirit and notes of umami and orange zest. One of those Ports that you don’t want to pass to your neighbour.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Qualitätswein, Mosel( TBC, 12%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
This is only the “entry point” Riesling in Sybille Kuntz’s range, but it’s enjoyably fresh, pithy and crisp with green apple acidity and a taut, refreshingly dry finish. The ripeness of the year makes this quite a full flavoured style.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Auslese Feinherb, Mosel( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
One of a series of delicious releases from Sybille Kuntz in 2015, this is rich, but not heavy in the slightest, handling its 50 odd grams of residual sugar with ease, thanks to its thrillingly vivid acidity. Honey, spices, lime and remarkable palate length are the hallmarks of this classic-meets-modern Mosel style.
NV Quinta do Noval 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley( £54, 21%, H2Vin, Soho Wine Supply, The Wine Society )
Tawny Port doesn’t get a whole lot better than this incredible elixir of a wine. Fig, Christmas cake and rancio notes combine beautifully in this savoury/sweet delight. The fortifiication is perfectly judged, while the finish lingers enticingly on the tongue.
NV Torres Florales Moscatel Oro, Penedès( £10, 15%, Fareham Wine Cellar, Waitrose, Winedirect )
A rich, even heady expression of the Moscatel (Muscat) grape, this is luscious and palate-coating, with flavours of orange peel, dried fruits and beeswax and spirity note that complements rather than overwhelms the wine. Sweet and complex, it’s really good with full-flavoured desserts.
2013 G.D. Vajra, Moscato d'Asti, Piedmont( £12, 5.5%, Liberty Wines )
How many wines make you want to start dancing? I love the perfumed frivolity of this wine. Sweet, frothy and perfumed, it’s a wonderful expression of the Moscato grape. The alcohol is low, the flavours are fresh and aromatic. What’s not to like? Try it with a bowl of strawberries.
2000 Domaine Cazes, Ambré, Rivesaltes, Languedoc-Roussillon( £15.95, 16.5%, Prohibition Wines )
At only £15.95 a half bottle, this has to be one of the best value fortifieds on the market at the moment. It’s a mature, salty, rancio-style wine made from Grenache Blanc and Macabeu that’s mid way between a Sherry and a Tawny Port in style. Try it poured over vanilla ice cream or with a walnut tart.
2013 Sybille Kuntz, Riesling Auslese Feinherb, Mosel( €39, 13% )
The best and oldest parcels on the Niederberg-Helden Einzellage are used to make this remarkable wine. It’s on the dry side for an Auslese, with 51.9 grams of sugar, with the concentration and slaty minerality beautifully entwined. Floral and appealingly honeyed, with notes of nectarine and ripe pear sustained by citrus- and pink grapefruit-like acidity
2013 Sybille Kuntz, Riesling Beerenauslese Edelsüß, Mosel( €95, 12% )
What an incredible bottle of wine. Sybille Kuntz is better known for her dry than sweet styles, but this shows that she’s equally adept at both. This comes from mostly ungrafted vineyards planted in the 1920s in Niederberg-Helden. It’s an exotic wine all right, but the tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and mango are tempered by acidity and extract. A Riesling that lingers tantalisingly on the palate.
2012 Baumard, Carte d'Or, Coteaux du Layon, Loire Valley( £9.99, 12%, Sheridan Coopers, The Vineyard )
Rich, unoaked Chenin Blanc made in an unoaked style, Florent Baumard’s wine is quite forward in style, with soft pear and ripe apple flavours, a touch of honey and some nectarine sweetness. A well priced introduction to sweet Loire wines.