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.
2011 Vega de la Reina Sauvignon Blanc, Rueda( £6.49, 13%, Majestic )
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.
2010 Montes Alpha, Merlot, Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley( £12.99, 14.5%, Majestic )
Montes is a winery that has mastered the art of delivering flavour and some complexity at affordable prices, as typified by this ripe, deeply-coloured Merlot from the Colchagua Valley. This has some classic Chilean mint, with attractive plum and black cherry flavours, mid-weight tannins and sweet, assertive oak.
2010 Château de Pennautier, Cabardès, Languedoc( £5.99, 13.5%, Majestic )
A lipsmacking blend of five red grapes from one of the cooler, more Atlantic influenced sub-regions of the Languedoc, this is light and refreshing in a Bordeaux meets the Midi sort of way, with some pepper spice, a bit of mint and oak and bags of aroma. Great value, too.
1996 Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha, Douro Valley( £25, 20%, Majestic )
This may “only” be a single quinta wine, supposedly from a non-vintage year for Port, but it’s still delicious. It’s great to drink right now, with lots of spice and heat, succulent red and black fruits, some fig and dark plums and a thrust of spirit. Just the thing to drink with blue cheese.
2011 Finca Flichman Gestos Malbec, Mendoza( £5.99, 14%, Majestic )
This Portuguese-owned operation in Mendoza makes someof the best value wines in Argentina at the moment, typified by this pungent, sweetly oaked Malbec. It’s got a ripe, almost honeyed sweetness to it, balanced by notes of vanilla, blackberry and spice. You have to serve this with a juicy steak.
NV Taittinger, Prélude, Champagne( £47, 12%, Fortnum & Mason, Hailsham Cellars, Harrods, Majestic, Wine Rack )
If you can’t afford Comtes de Champagne (the 2000 is delicious), this is a more than acceptable substitute at under £50. It’s got lovely toasty, autolytic complexity, notes of grilled hazelnuts and citrus fruit and a very long, satifying finish. A delicious fizz.
NV Taittinger Brut, Champagne( £37.99, 12%, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Wine Rack )
Taittinger is in a rich vein of form at the moment, from this its non vintage blend right up the Olympian heghts of Comtes de Champagne. This is dry, toasty and well balanced with Chardonnay providing the freshness and lift on the palate. Appealingly dry for non vintage blend, using bottle age rather than sweetness for balance.
2007 Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône( £25, 15%, Majestic )
Too many UK retailers are already on the 2009 and even 2010 vintage of CNDP, so it’s good to taste a wine that, while still young, is showing some bottle maturity. This is rich and deeply coloured with dark berry fruits, a hint of clove and a spicy, meaty finish.
2009 Vignobles Jeanjean, Les Hauts de Castelmaure, Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon( £11.99, 14%, Majestic )
Heady, aromatic, garrigue-saturated red blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, made in a modern style with some carbonic maceration and French oak. Richly aromaitc, with lots of fresh herbs and a sweet, spicy succulence. Needs a barbecue to show at its best.
2010 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, Santa Barbara( £18, 13.5%, Majestic )
Jim Clendennen makes some of the subtlest Chardonnays on the West Coast, and this understated effort is typical of his style, favouring subtle oak, fresh acidity and medium body. This is textured, aromatic and fresh, with some honey and cinnamon spice, a touch of oak, creamy lees and a zesty finish. I’d love to see more California Chardonnays like this.
2006 Parcel Series Riesling, Eden Valley( £6.99, 12.5%, Majestic )
A 92 point wine for only £6.99? You betcha. I can’t believe that this mature parcel of Eden Valley Riesling is so cheap. Sourced from McWilliams (better known for their aged Semillons), this is a delicously developed wine, showing classic flavours of lime and toast. It’s fresh, beautifully balanced and complex, with amazing length on the palate. Get on line, drive to your local Majestic, do whatever it takes, but make sure you buy this stunning wine.