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.
2012 Château L’Hospitalet Grand Vin, La Clape, Languedoc( £16.66, 14.5, Majestic )
One of the best wines of the Languedoc, delivering incredible value for money and a rich array of aromas and flavours, this strapping, Syrah-based blend is smooth and intense, with bags of black fruits and Mediterranean herbs and seamlessly integrated oak.
2014 Santa Ana Malbec, Mendoza( £5.99, 12.5%, Majestic )
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.
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.
NV Chandon, Rosé( £15.99, 12.5%, Majestic )
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.
2013 Laroche, La Collégiale, Chablis, Burgundy( £14.99, 12%, Majestic )
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.
2012 Laroche Mas de la Chevalière, Vignoble Peyroli, Chardonnay Single Vineyard, IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc( £12.99, 13.5%, Majestic )
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.
2011 Domaines Schlumberger, Riesling Les Princes Abbés, Alsace( £13.99, 12.5%, Majestic )
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.
2012 Laurent Miquel Vérité Viognier, Pays d'Oc( £14.99, 13.5%, Majestic )
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.
2013 The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough( £9.99, 12.5%, Majestic, Waitrose )
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.
2011 Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough( £22.50, 13.5%, Majestic )
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.
2012 Viñalba Torrontés Selección, Mendoza( £9.99, 13.5%, Majestic )
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.