The shock of the new

by Matt Walls
When tasting my way through a large number of unfamiliar wines, there are a few tell-tale signs that I’ve encountered something special. Firstly, an involuntary smile creeps over my face....
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
90

2013 Palatia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

( £10 (down to £8), 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to buy wine for Marks & Spencer before he returned to his former life as a winemaker in Germany. M&S’ loss is our gain (and they are still stocking his wines anyway) because this is an oustandingly well priced Pinot from a country that has more of the variety in the ground than New Zealand does. It’s a smooth, savoury, easy-drinking red with some spice, sweet plum and raspberry fruit, good texture and a long, supple finish underpinned by subtle oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Germany, Red, Pinot Noir

On wine and wondering

by Andrea Frost
Even though I spend a lot of time wandering in and wondering about nature, I confess I felt foolish being dropped in a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, so I...

Marlborough: The Fear of France?

by Matt Walls
If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll love Marlborough in New Zealand. Of its 22,903 hectares of vineyards, 19,639 of them are planted with it. Undoubtedly this feels like an awful...
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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
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

NV Krug, Grande Cuvée, Champagne

( £80-£100, 12%, Widely available )

A blend of 20 wines from ten different vintages, some of which are 15 years old, Krug’s non-vintage blend is one of a kind. It’s rich, complex and palate coating, with small bubbles, savoury, umami notes, hints of hazelnut and honey and a dry, refeshing palate. The kind of Champagne that works extremely well with food rather than as an aperitif. 

BuyDrinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £50-£100, 91-95, France, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
90

NV Hambledon, Classic Cuvée, Hampshire

( £28.50, 12% )

Sourced from England’s oldest commercial vineyard (we are talking 1952), this blend of the Champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is delicious, a fizz that manages to taste English while showing the complexity and nuances of a top Champagne. It’s chalky and dry, with subtle bubbles, hints of fresh pastry and citrus and a tapering finish: elegant, refined and understated. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, England, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
90

NV Chandon, Brut, Mendoza

( £14.99, 13%, Majestic )

Moët’s sparkling wines in South America have mostly been a disappointment, but this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is a huge improvement on what has gone before. It’s a rich, toasty style with some sweetness from dosage, flavours of hazelnut and brioche and a baking spicy, well balanced finish. 

Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay