92

2017 Brisa de Verano Garnatxa Blanca, Cataluña

( £12.79, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Woodwinters Wines )

White Grenache might not be everyone’s idea of a summer white wine, but this Catalan example is remarkably refreshing, demonstrating the variety’s ability to maintain acidity in a hot Mediterranean climate. Lees-aged with some skin contact and the addition of 5% Macabeu (Macabeo in Spanish), this is stony, waxy and intense with a combination of coastal-influenced salinity and undertones of pear and lime.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: £10-£20, 90-94, Spain, White, Garnacha Blanca
91

Magpie Estate SF2, Barossa Valley

( £13.99, 14.5, Noel Young Wines )

If you want to drink a Barossa red with very little oak but bags of flavour, this unfiltered, co-fermented cuvée of Mataro (Mourvèdre) and 35% Grenache is well worth tracking down. Spicy and peppery, with some stemmy whole bunch flavours, floral top notes, mint, raspberry and bramble fruit and fine-grained tannins.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-24Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre
91

2014 The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc, Piekenierskloof

( £12.49, 14%, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Noel Young Wines, Woodwinters Wines )

Sourced from vineyards at 750 metres (which is high for South Africa), this was made by the talented Donovan Rall from the under-rated Piekenierskloof region. Tangy, refreshing and crisp, it’s tauter than some Cape Chenins with apple, pear and herbal notes and a creamy mid palate.

Drinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
93

2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko, Santorini

( £14.95, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Winedirect )

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it’s grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
90

2013 Le Grand Cros, L'Esprit de Provence, Côtes de Provence, Provence

( £11.49, 13.5%, Noel Young Wines )

A pale coloured Provençal blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s just the thing for summer, this has more weight and concentration than many examples of an increasingly popular style. Raspberry fruit, bright acidity and a whiff of Mediterranean herbs all add to the sense of balance here. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Rose, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
89

2011 Yalumba Running with Bulls Tempranillo, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £10.99, 13.5%, Auswinesonline.co.uk, Direct Wines, Noel Young Wines, The Oxford Wine Company )

Tempranillo ought to be more widely planted than it is in Australia, given its adaptability. Think Somontano and Toro in terms of the diversity of Spanish climates it works well in. This is a very decent, wine bar style red that wouldn’t look out of place in Pamplona, the city to which its name alludes. Brambly and supple, with gentle oak and sweet red fruits.

Drinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, Red, Tempranillo
94

2006 Yalumba, The Octavius, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £48.99, 14.5%, Harrods, Noel Young Wines, Slurp, Winedirect )

Serious, strapping Shiraz, but with a feminine side, this is a seriously delicious Aussie red, which encapsulates the best of the Barossa, both modern and traditional. It’s ripe, soft and sweet, with succulent blackberry and raspberry fruit, a hint of coconutty oak and appealing bottle maturation. Spicy, rich, yet very well balanced.

Drinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2010 Yalumba The Strapper Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 14%, AC Gallie, Direct Wines, Noble Green Wines, Noel Young Wines )

Great name (I had to read it twice, too), a smart package and one hell of a glug for under £12. This is judiciously oaked, with the accent on soft, ripe, red fruits flavours. There’s a touch of sweet vanilla, a whisper of liquorice and supple, textured tannins on the palate. Essence of Barossa; essence of GSM.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
93

2009 Yalumba Chardonnay FDW, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £17.99, 13.5%, Noel Young Wines, Slurp, Winedirect )

Typical (and gratifyingly so) of the top end Chardonnays emerging from Australia’s best cool climate areas at the moment, this is all about structure and acidity rather than easy, up front fruit flavours. Notes of lemongrass, vanilla and citrus fruit are nicely intertwined on the palate, wrapped in a creamy, lees-derived texture.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, White, Chardonnay
90

2012 Pewsey Vale Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 12.5%, Auswinesonline.co.uk, Noel Young Wines, Slurp, Winedirect )

An Eden Valley Riesling that rarely disappoints, this is as reliable as ever, a dry, aromatic, minerally white with notes of apple and pear and an underlying seam of fresh limes. The wine will get toastier with age, if you can keep your hands off it.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Riesling
90

2011 Planeta La Segreta Bianco, IGT Sicilia

( £9.25, 12.5%, Noel Young Wines )

An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts. 

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, White, Chardonnay, Other Whites, Viognier