Aromatic, attractive and showing all the exuberance and fruit sweetness of Mendoza Malbec at its most appealing, this is all about fruit rather than power, alcohol and oak. There’s enough tannin and structure here to partner a Christmas roast or a thick steak.
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.
An unusual but (for Argentina) rather appropriate blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Malbec, this bronze-tinged rosé is savoury and flavoursome with notes of summer fruits, toast and leesy richness. A very drinkable bottle of bubbles at the price.
Easy drinking, commercial Chablis made in the classic style without oak. 2013 was a tricky vintage in the region, but winemaker Grégory Viennois has done a lovely job here, combining citrus fruit with minerality and good mid-palate creaminess.
Forward, soft and ripe, with notes of banana and vanilla oak, this is a well made Languedoc Chardonnay, showing refreshing acidity and brightness on the finish. The oak adds a spicy dimension to the wine.
It’s a pleasure to drink an Alsace Riesling made in a dry style like this one. Stony, minerally and unoaked, this is tangy and transparent with appealing bottle development but enough concentration to age for another four to eight years. Great with food.
Laurent Miquel has long been the leading Viognier producer in the south of France, making wines that are as good as most Condrieu but at less than half the price. This vintage is his best yet in my view, a rich, spicy, sumptuous, yet well balanced white, with sweet vanilla oak, just the right amount of acidity to temper the concentration of the wine and hedonistic flavours of apricot, fresh cream and fresh ginger. Available on line initially by the half case, so hurry.
Brent Marris’ well-distributed Sauvignon tends to be on a deal more often than not, but even at its full retail price it delivers in the glass, unfurling flavours of passion fruit, gooseberry and melon. Flavoursome stuff at a fair price.
Craggy Range makes some of the best Pinot Noirs in New Zealand, without charging the high prices of some of its competitors. This is a typically savoury Martinborough Pinot Noir, with less colour than examples from Central Otago, but more complexity than the majority from Marlborough. Red cherry and pomegranate, toasty oak, medium-weight tannins and a long, refreshing finish. It should age nicely, too.
A winery that is best known for its great value Argentinean reds, Viñalba can strut its stuff with white grapes too. This is a classically aromatic example of Torrontés, Argentina’s adopted white grape, with lemon peel and sherbet flavours, bright acidity and a hint of lime zest.
If summer ever arrives in the UK – come to think of it, spring would be welcome, too – this is a wine that I’d be happy to have in my fridge or ice bucket. Crisp and aromaitic, with notes of fresh limes and lemon peel, showing a touch of spritz and tastebud-tingling acidity. Tangy and light, it’s the sort of wine I could drink all afternoon. Portugal at its value for money best.
International varieties are overshadowed in Spain by local grapes, but Sauvignon seems to have found an ideal spot in Rueda, producing wines that are delicious as well as distinctive. This is a total bargain if you buy two bottles, and I promise you wont’t regret having a spare in the fridge. It’s got flavours of pink grapefruit and passion fruit, a hint of gunflint on the nose and, pithy, refreshing acidity. Not many places could better this at £6.49 for a tasty Sauvignon Blanc.