Carmen is among the oldest wineries in Chile, but has one of the most dynamic young winemakers in Emily Faulconer. This is a classic Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that has benefited from a few years in bottle but will age and develop for a while yet. Serious, structured and intense, it has appealing notes of bramble, eucalyptus and blackcurrant leaf, sinewy, savoury tannins, deftly handled oak and impressive freshness and acidity for a hot vintage.
Louisa Rose is the queen of Australian Viognier and probably makes larger volumes of the variety – to a commendably high standard – than anyone else in the world. This unoaked example, made from organically grown grapes, is everything you want from the grape: honeysuckle and stem ginger aromas, lots of creamy, pillowy weight, flavours of peach and apricot and a lively, refreshing finish. The Ocado price is the best right now, but the wine is widely available elsewhere.
You can only applaud a winery – especially one as famous as Kanonkop – that makes 1.7 million bottles of a wine of this quality. Dominated by Pinotage, with the remaining 63% made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it’s a floral, textured, well-structured cuvée with notes of mint and dried herbs and a core of cassis and raspberry fruit.
There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to drink claret. I’m generally far too busy enjoying less classic fare to think about the Gironde, but red Bordeaux is just the thing with the turkey. This marriage of Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, curated by ace consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, is entirely unoaked, relying on fruit purity, fine tannins and supporting acidity. It’s just tipping over into middle age, with tobacco and autumn leaf aromas and fleshy red berry and fruitcake flavours. Really delicious at the price.
Made by David Hohnen, the Aussie who created Cloudy Bay Sauvignon, and British Master of Wine Clem Yates, this is a tangy, smoky, reductive style with notes of struck match, citrus and pink grapefruit. It doesn’t taste like a Kiwi Sauvignon, but that’s no bad thing. Taut and refreshing, it shows that Hohnen hasn’t lost his touch with Sauvignon.
The older I get, the more I want to drink refreshing wines that don’t tire my palate, which may explain why I’m drinking more and more Beaujolais. This is Gamay and its gluggable, lip-smacking best, with juicy red berry and bramble fruit, bright acidity and supple tannins. Chill it before serving and see how versatile it is with food.
It’s a reflection of how Albariño, one of Spain’s best white grapes, has entered the UK mainstream that the major supermarkets nearly all have own-label examples these days. This is from the ever-dependable Martin Codax, and it’s a classy example of the style, showing some spritz, floral aromas, tangy acidity and notes of citrus and honeysuckle. Very quaffable.
Janice McDonald is one of the best white winemakers in Western Australia, with a particularly adept touch with Bordeaux varieties. This Sauvignon/Semillon two step has no oak, so it’s very much a New World rather than a Graves (Bordeaux) style, but that’s part of its appeal. Aromatic and herbal, with palate-tingling acidity and fresh grapefruit and gooseberry notes.
This cool climate, low alcohol white from the Hunter Valley is consistently one of the stars of Tesco’s range. Its crisp, lazer-like acidity is offset by a little sweetness (although you don’t notice it), but it’s still leafy and green, with notes of dill and green olive and a tangy finish. Like Hunter Semillons, this wine ages extremely well.
I told you Janice McDonald was an ace white wine maker and this is further proof of her talents, this time with Riesling. This is a beautifully, poised, ageworthy style, focused and pithy with youth on its side and bone dry, lime-scented fruit. Buy a few bottles and see how they age over the next decade or so.
You don’t get much for less than £3.50 these days, but this Garnacha pink from Bodegas Borsao is very drinkable stuff: dry and pleasantly fruity with flavours of rosehip, cherry and strawberry and vibrant acidity, especially noteworthy from such a warm Spanish region. A chance of celebrate the end of a memorable summer in the UK.
This unoaked, old vine Carignan comes from one of my favourite parts of the world – the Roussillon in southern France. It’s a wild, appealingly unruly red with firmish, sun-kissed tannins, ripe, plum and blackberry fruit and a rich, concentrated finish. You get a lot of wine for your money here.