A rich, even heady expression of the Moscatel (Muscat) grape, this is luscious and palate-coating, with flavours of orange peel, dried fruits and beeswax and spirity note that complements rather than overwhelms the wine. Sweet and complex, it’s really good with full-flavoured desserts.
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.
At its best, Franciacorta can rank among the best sparkling wines in the world. This is rich, bready and nicely developed with toasty complexity, fine bubbles and a dry, savoury finish. Tangy, chalky and long on the palate.
Pewsey Vale, Yalumba’s Eden Valley outpost, makes some of my favourite Aussie Rieslings. They are good young but develop stylshly in bottle. This is crisp, focused and tangy with lime and pink grapefruit flavours and a stony, pithy backbone of acidity. Long and focused on the palate.
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.
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.
The Viognier is more obvious in this wine than it is in most Côte Rôties, but that’s part of the style. It’s ripe, soft and slightly apricotty, with supple red fruits, touches of oak. liquorice and blackberry and medium weight tannins.
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.