90

2011 Finest* Boranup Sauvignon/Semillon, Western Australia

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Tesco )

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. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Australia, White, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
91

2012 Finest* Denman Vineyard Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 10%, Tesco )

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. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Australia, White, Semillon
91

2012 Finest* Tingleup Riesling, Western Australia

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 11%, Tesco )

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. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Australia, White, Riesling
90

2011 Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache, Barossa Valley, South Australia

( £11.99, 14%, Ocado, Slurp, Tesco, The Co-operative )

Grenache should be all about sun-kissed drinkability, which is exactly what you get in the bottle here. It’s quite pale in colour (as Grenache can be), with notes of Asian spices, red fruits and deftly handled oak. Savoury, peppery and deceptively forward, this is a wine that develops with time in the glass.

Drinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, Red, Grenache
90

2012 Tesco Finest Tingelup Riesling, Western Australia

( £9.99, 12.4%, Tesco )

This isn’t quite the amazing bargain it once was, but it’s still one of the best whites on Tesco’s books, a stylish, finely crafted white from Howard Park. It’s fresh and minerally, with haunting lime-juice and citrus peel flavours and a dry, stony aftertaste. On past perfermance, it will develop well in bottle, too. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Australia, Red, Riesling
88

2011 Tesco Finest Swartland Shiraz, Swartland

( £6.99, 14%, Tesco )

Adi Badenhorst has created some increasingly smart wines since he set up on his own, post-Rustenberg, in the Swartland. This lightly-oaked red from a region that is growing in importance and stature is elegant, smoky and gentle with appealing red fruits and a fresh, yet well rounded finish. A good wine to serve with turkey. Or at a Christmas party. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
92

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.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-17Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, France, Sparkling, Chardonnay
87

2011 Simply Garnacha, Campo de Borja

( £4.59, 13.5%, Tesco )

It’s not easy to find really good glugging reds under £5 any more, but the Campo de Borja region in northern Spain would be my first port of call. This unoaked example from Bodegas Borsao is juicy, brambly and full of raspberry and redcurrant fruit. Soft and supple: pure, uncomplicated pleasure.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, Spain, Red, Grenache
91

2004 Viña Mara Rioja Gran Reserva, Rioja Alta

( £13.79, 14%, Tesco )

Mature Rioja is one of my favourite wines, especially from a top vintage like 2004. This pure Tempranillo from the ever-reliable Barón de Ley winery will appeal to lovers of traditional Rioja, even though it is a varietal, rather than a blend with Garnacha. It’s savoury and sweet, with supple wild strawberry and game-like flavours, lovely vanilla oak and a complex, nuanced finish. At its best with lamb, but it’s a very versatile red. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
88

2011 Finest Côtes Catalanes Carignan, Roussillon

( £6.99, 13.5%, Tesco )

I sometimes feel as if I’m the president, founder and only member of the Carignan appreciation society, which is strange, given how good this grape can taste, especially when its vines are old. That’s the case here in this chunky Roussillon red, sourced from bush vines close to the Pyrenees. It’s a big, bold, appropriately rustic number with notes of thyme, rosemary and pepper spice, a touch of sweetness, bags of black fruits and a volatile lift. In short, classic Carignan. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Carignan
89

2010 Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc

( £7.29, 12.5%, Tesco )

On offer from April 2nd to the 30th (the price comes down to a very attractive £5.79), this is a textbook example of the Languedoc’s best seafood white. Citrus and white pepper on the nose, with a hint of white peach, this is zesty, medium-bodied and unoaked, with a fresh, tangy finish. Try it with a plate of oysters or mussels. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2013Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Other Whites