93

2012 David Reynaud, Beaumont Crozes Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley

( £16.33, 12.5%, Liberty Wines )

This is my kind of wine. In fact, I could drink a bottle of this almost every day and never get bored. Classic, perfumed Crozes, with violet and rose petal aromas, textured tannins and lovely, gluggable flavours of blackberry, black olive and liquorice. The tannins are silky smooth, the oak beautifully integrated and there’s enough tannin to add some backbone. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
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
89

2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

( £6.66, 14.5%, Majestic )

If I were tasting this blind, I’d put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There’s quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it’s more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
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
91

2013 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont

( £13, 13%, Liberty Wines )

This is only the “entry point” Dolcetto from the Vajra family, but it’s still a deliciously aromatic example of Piedmont’s everyday red. Aromatic and fruity, showing flavours of plum and black cherry, as well as aromas of violets, it’s at its best when lightly chilled. Aren’t we all? Long and refreshing with chalky acidity. 

BuyDrinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £10-£20, 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
94

2010 G.D. Vajra Ravera, Barolo, Piedmont

( TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines )

More structured than the Bricco delle Viole, this comes from a 2.2 hectare, south- and south-east facing vineyard and is a first release. It’s got a bloody, almost iron-like note on the palate, firmish but well integrated tannins and minerally freshness. The tannins need food (preferably a lump of protein) to take away their edge. One to tuck away.

BuyDrinking window: 2018-32Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo
92

2012 G.D. Vajra, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Alba, Piedmont

( £16, TBC, Liberty Wines )

The straight Barbera d’Alba is mostly fermented in stainless steel, but sees a small percentage of new oak for extra complexity. Savoury, sweet and refreshing, it has a little more acidity and tannin than the Dolcetto, but is still deliciously approachable as a young wine. Pure, tranpsarent and appealing, this shows the elegance that is to typical of this producer’s wines. 

BuyDrinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red
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
92

2011 Seresin, Leah Pinot Noir, Marlborough

( £20.99, 14%, Armit Wines )

Leah is a blend of the three Seresin estate vineyards (Home, Tatou and Raupo Creek) and is often the most forward of the Pinots from this outstanding Marlborough producer. 2011 was a tricky vintage for Pinot in New Zealand, but this top-notch biodynamic producer has excelled. This is concentrated, spicy and textured with notes of white pepper and red fruits, plenty of concentration, well integrated oak and a complex, earthy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
94

2009 CVNE Imperial Reserva, Rioja

( £20.49, 14%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Majestic, The Co-operative, Wimbledon Wine Cellars, Wine Rack )

CVNE’s Imperial is one of Rioja’s best value, ageworthy wines. This is still an infant and will need at least another five years in bottle to come close to its best. Dense, concentrated and sweetly oaked with a chalky undertone adding freshness and bite to the plum and raspberry fruit flavours. Traditional Rioja at its youthful best.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Spain, Red, Tempranillo