NV Laithwaite Private Cuvée, Champagne

( £44, 12.5%, Laithwaites )

This is a Chardonnay-dominated blend, but it’s the 33% Pinot Noir that really comes through on the nose and palate, giving the wine a malty, raspberry fruity richness. The Chardonnay really kicks in the finish, lifting the wine and giving it frehsness and zest. Classy stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, France, Sparkling

2008 Tenuta di Fessina Musmeci Etna Rosso, Etna, Sicily

( £36, 13.5%, FortyFive10º )

Tenuta di Fessina’s winemaker Federico Curtaz is from Piedmont, and there’s definitely a nod to Nebbiolo in this wine. 15 months in French barriques has created a serious, age-worthy Etna Rosso, with smoky dark fruit, but plenty of freshness and the typical saline/mineral finish that defines good Etna Rosso. Above all, this is elegant and balanced, in the manner of a top-quality Barolo or a Nuits-San-Georges.

Drinking window: 2013-2020Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nerello Capuccio, Nerello Mascalese

2010 Passopischiaro Porcaria Etna Rosso, Etna, Sicily

( N/A, 14%, N/A UK (Available from the winery) )

Passopischiaro make no less than four single vineyard Nerello Mascaleses, and the range of flavour and character just goes to show how sensitive this variety is to the varying terroir in different parts of the Etna region. Porcaria is a vineyard at 650m, with a thin layer of lava on the topsoil. This is a monolithic, smoky and tannic wine, which nonetheless remains fresh and herbaceous – there’s a pronounced note of sage.

Drinking window: 2013-2023Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nerello Mascalese

2008 Can Sais Expressio, Empordà

( E35, 15%, El Celler Petit )

The price is certainly ambitious, but it’s matched by the scarcity (only 845 bottles made) and the very ow yields (less than half a kilo per vine). Marta Arenas’s pure Grenache is biodynamic and made without added sulphur. It’s a wild, complex wine with a faintly pruney note, sweet underlying red fruits and savoury tannins. It’s quite fragile, with a nod towards Pinot Noir, and a nip of volatility on the finish. Drink up as the tannnins are starting to dry on the finish. 

BuyDrinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £30-£50, 86-90, Spain, Red, Grenache

2008 Vinyes d'Olivardots 2.08, Empordà

( E35, 15%, El Celler Petit )

Sandy soils, low production, 100-year-old vines: essence of Samsó. Wow! Super dense, very complex, savoury, spicy, lovely fruit sweetness, fine tannins, subtle oak and a finish that lingers on the palate. Wild, Mediterranean herbs, some wood smoke, fresh acidity, liquorice and red and black fruits. A superb wine. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Spain, Red, Carignan

2008 Terra Remota Clos Adrien, Empordà

( E40, 14.5%, El Celler Petit )

Low-production, Syrah-based red  with 10% Garnacha from one of the  region’s outstanding producers. Herbal, still youthful nose, with sweet, savoury, liquorice and blackberry fruit, fresh acidity, medium weight tannins and a tarry smoky finish. Syrah, but with minerality underpinning the fruit. Complex and long. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Spain, Red, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz

NV All Saints Grand Rutherglen Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria

( £40, 18%, Cockburn & Campbell )

Wow! When Aussie stickies are as good as this, they are some of the greatest fortified wines in the world. This ambre-hued, mature, non vintage Muscat is a stunner, all dates and rose petal, with a hint of Oloroso Sherry. Treacle, molasses, unctuous sweetness and a finish that goes on for ever. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-25Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Fortified, Muscat à Petits Grains

2010 Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay, Nelson

( £35 (approximately), 13.5%, Local stockists from the vineyard )

Neudorf’s status as one of the very best Chardonnay producers in New Zealand is only enhanced by this delicious new release: nutty, savoury, bready notes with well integrated oak, citrus acidity and nuanced lemon, vanilla and peach flavours. The wine has the concentration and structure to age further in bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £30-£50, 0-80, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay