93

2014 Maquina & Tabla Blanco, Rueda

( £15.95, 13.5%, Lea & Sandeman )

One of an excellent line-up of regional delights from an exciting new Spanish venture, this tastes as good as it looks. Made from biodynamically farmed, old vine Verdejo, it’s a savoury, textured white with subtle oak, tangy acidity and just a hint of oak framing the pear and citrus fruit flavours. Almost Burgundian in terms of weight, concentration and complexity, this is a remarkable Verdejo.

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White
92

2012 Rippon Sauvignon Blanc, Central Otago

( £17.95, 13%, Lea & Sandeman )

If you’re bored of identikit Kiwi Sauvignons that taste as if they’ve emerged from the same enormous tank farm, this complex, Loire Valley-like example from one of Central Otago’s best producers will come as a pleasant respite. The estate is much better known for its superlative Pinot Noirs, but this biodynamic white deserves to be (almost) as famous. Fermented in old oak barrels, it has a mealy undertone to set alongside the flavours of lime, cream, grapefruit and gooseberry. It’s a very subtle number that wouldn’t look out of place in Sancerre, thanks to its chalky, palate-tingling freshness. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Sauvignon Blanc
93

2009 Alberto Longo Le Cruste Rosso, Puglia

( £17.95, 13.5%, Lea & Sandeman )

Nero di Troia is the least well known of Puglia’s three main red varieties, but to me it’s the one with the most finesse. This is remarkably light and refreshing for a wine from the south of Italy, reminiscent of a Tempranillo, with elegant red fruits, a nip of tannin and impressive length on the palate. It hangs around. And you’re grateful. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nero di Troia
90

NV Le Petit Roy, 11ème année, Domaine Jean Royer, Rhône Valley

( £12.25, 14.5, Lea & Sandeman )

French law means that this Vin de France can’t carry a vintage, but the words “11ème année” are a chunky hint. It’s basically a declassified Châteauneuf du Pape, made in a slightly (and I mean slightly) lighter style. Given the high prices of CNDP these days, this is a great way to taste a stylish, full-throated blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre at a more than reasonable price. Spicy and savoury with medium weight tannins, hints of rosemary and thyme and a core of sweet raspberry and bramble fruit. Perfect autumn drinking. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
89

2011 Domaine Les Yeuses Vermentino, IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £6.50, 13%, Lea & Sandeman )

Vermentino, or Rolle, is one of those grapes that should be more widely planted, partly because it retains acidity and freshness in warm climates, but also because it has plenty of flavour. This is typical of the variety, and at a very appealing price: orange peel and citrus zest with an undertone of Mediterranean herbs and a tangy aftertaste. Perfect for the last few days of summer. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, White, Vermentino
91

2010 Langhe Nebbiolo, Andrea Oberto

( £14.95, 14, Lea & Sandeman )

If you love Nebbiolo (and who doesn’t?) but can’t afford to drink top Barolo, this lighter style is a brilliant introduction to one of Italy’s two best red grapes. It’s subtle and fragrant, with a raspberry sweetness that reminds me of red Burgundy, backed up by fine, but not remotely aggressive tannins. Complex, leafy and well balanced, this is delicious now, but will develop for at least another five years. 

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo
90

2010 Domaine de la Bastide "Abondance", IGP Hauterive

( £9.95, 12.5%, Lea & Sandeman )

A delicious, unoaked blend of two under-rated Mediterranean varieties, Roussanne (80%) and Vermentino (20%) from a little known area in the Languedoc. It’s fresh and tangy with notes of wet stone, green olive, fresh herbs, stone fruit and lemon peel. Crisp and refreshing but with underlying weight and concentration in reserve.

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, White, Other Whites
91

2009 Langhe Nebbiolo Bricco Maiolica

( £12.50 by the case, 13%, Lea & Sandeman )

If the price of Barolo and Barbaresco leaves you spluttering into your pasta, some of the regional wines made from the Nebbiolo grape can be good value alternatives, enabling you to enjoy this most brilliant (and temperamental) of Italian varieties without raiding your savings account. This is very elegant and comparatively forward, showing considerable finesse and poise, medium-weight tannins, a core of sweet and savoury tobacco and red cherry fruit, fresh acidity and a fine tapering finish.

Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo