91

2020 Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough

( £12.50-£16.99, 13.5%, Harvey Nichols, Specialist Cellars, The Wine Society, Vinum )

Ahead of Sauvignon Blanc day tomorrow, I’ve been enjoying a few glasses of this Kiwi example from the brilliant Craggy Range. Most New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc comes from Marlborough, so this is something a little different, not least because a part of the wine was fermented in foudres and smaller oak barrels, but also because it comes from Martinborough, a region best known for its Pinot Noirs. Tangy, zesty and complex, with lime, passion fruit and nectarine flavours, racy acidity and a dry finish. The mid-palate is textured and slightly salty.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £12.50, £16.99, 90-94, New Zealand, White, Sauvignon Blanc
91

2019 Domaine Jean-François Quénard Mondeuse Terres Rouges, Vin de Savoie

( £13.50, 12%, The Wine Society )

Light-bodied Alpine reds are some of my favourite wines: bright, tangy and intense with tremendous perfume and vitality. This pure Mondeuse from Jean-François Quénard is a case in point. Fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and concrete eggs, it’s pithy, zesty and lip-smackingly fresh, all violet, rose petal and white pepper aromas, intense bramble and raspberry fruit, tangy acidity and more underlying tannin and structure than you expect.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Mondeuse
92

2016 Ktima Foundi Xinomavro, Ramnista, Naoussa

( £14.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

Calling all Burgundy and Barolo drinkers in search of a bargain! Greek Xinomavro has become one of my go-to wine styles over the last year and this is a delicious example of its charms from a traditional producer. Benefiting from a few years in bottle before release, it’s pale, scented and enticing, with aromas of rose petal and rosemary, savoury red cherry and tobacco leaf flavours, sinewy tannins, understated wood and thrilling freshness and minerality.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
91

2017 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Roche Roulée, Alsace

( £21, 13%, The Wine Society )

I have a deserved reputation as someone who doesn’t like Pinot Gris, but there is Pinot Gris and Pinot Gris, or rather Pinot Grigio and Pinot Grigio. The ones I avoid are those that taste of nothing, but that’s certainly not a charge you could level at this full-flavoured, just off-dry example from superstar winemaker Olivier Humbrecht MW. It’s weighty, textured and perfumed, with notes of quince, peach and pear and more than enough acidity to freshen and lengthen the finish. Great with lightly spicy food.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, France, White, Pinot Gris
91

2019 Pisano Progreso Tannat Reserve, Progreso

( £9.95, 14%, The Wine Society )

The Pisanos are among the most famous wine families in Uruguay, as well known for their asados (barbecues) as their Tannats. This is a really good, well-priced introduction to the joys of the country’s signature grape, relying on fruit rather than oak for its impact. Focused and aromatic, it has classic Atlantic freshness, plum and black cherry fruit and a racy, stony finish. The tannins are way less forbidding than on some French examples of the variety from Madiran.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-26Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Uruguay, Red, Tannat
91

2018 The Society's Exhibition Moulin à Vent, Beaujolais

( £11.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Beaujolais Nouveau day may have passed you by last month – it certainly did me – but you don’t have to pay much more to get hold of something infinitely more serious from one of the region’s ten “crus”. Moulin à Vent tends to make some of the most structured examples of the Gamay grape, and that’s the case here. Spicy, peppery and refreshing, it has good structure and weight, succulent raspberry and red cherry fruit and just a hint of oak. A lip-smacking delight.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Gamay
93

2018 Pepe Mendoza El Veneno, Alicante

( £22, 14%, The Wine Society )

Pepe Mendoza is one of the best producers in the historic region of Alicante, bringing bags of energy and creativity to the denominación de origen. Called “poison” because of the strong character of the bush vine vineyard that supplied it, this pure Monastrell is fresh, bright and intense, with plum and black cherry fruit, some spices from 50% whole bunches, very subtle wood and tannins that are grippy but not overwhelmingly so.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-26Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, Spain, Red, Monastrell
92

2019 Thymiopoulos Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes, Naoussa

( £10.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

Xinomavro is one of those grape varieties that ought to be wider known, but isn’t because it’s mostly confined to northern Greece. Crafted by the talented Apostolos Thymiopoulos, this example from Naoussa is way less toothsome than some examples, partly because it’s made with fruit from young vines. Peppery, spicy and scented, it’s like a cross between a Gamay and a Nebbiolo. with rose petal aromas, red cherry and raspberry fruit, tangy acidity, hints of liquorice and mint and a nip of underlying tannin. Ludicrously good value at only £10.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
93

2019 Kumeu River Village Hand Harvested Chardonnay, Kumeu

( £10.50, The Wine Society )

If Michael Brajkovich MW were a Burgundian rather than a New Zealander, he would be among the most celebrated white winemakers in the Côte de Beaune, right up there with the likes of Dominique Lafon, Pierre-Vves Colin Morey and Jean-Marc Roulot. The good news for us is that we can buy his amazing Chardonnays at ludicrously cheap prices. This is only his entry-point wine, but is typically well balanced, refreshing and focused, with just a hint of oak spice, leesy complexity, some struck match undertones and a chiselled, refreshing finish. A Kiwi wine that’s better than many Puligny-Montrachets.

BuySimilar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay
91

2019 Ignacio Recabarren Pinot Noir, Casablanca

( £15, 13%, The Wine Society )

Supplied as an exclusive to the Wine Society – and something of a coup for buyer Toby Morrhall – this is a delicious Pinot Noir from the legendary Chilean winemaker, Ignacio Recabarren. Sold at a very affordable price for a red of this quality, it’s bright, perfumed and gently wooded, with lovely cool climate elegance and zip, black cherry and raspberry fruit and a stony, well-structured finish. Pacific Ocean freshness in a glass.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Chile, Red, Pinot Noir
95

2004 Urbina Gran Reserva Rioja, Rioja

( £19, 14%, The Wine Society )

The Urbina family’s appealingly traditional Riojas age brilliantly thanks to the acidity that comes with growing Tempranillo in the cool, limestone-dominated Cuzcurrita zone. This isn’t a blockbuster wine, but it’s remarkably complex, savoury and scented with notes of wild strawberries, forest floor and pouch tobacco, filigree tannins and haunting balsamic sweetness.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-2025Similar Wines: Spain, Red, Tempranillo
93

2015 Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay, Marlborough

( £21, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Not as well known as the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc releases, but every bit as good in my opinion, this is frequently among my favourite South Island Chardonnays. Toasty, savoury and enticing, it has citrus and beeswax notes supported by fresh, palate cleasning acidity and a nutty finish. Just starting to develop bottle-aged complexity. 

BuyDrinking window: 2018-24Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay