90

2012 Torre del Falasco, Cantina Valpantena, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Veneto

( £9.99, 14%, Rude Wines )

Less sweet than many commercial Ripasso bottlings – and none the worse for that – this is also showing a bit of bottle-aged complexity, combining notes of plum, strawberry and fig, a nip of tannin and no obvious oak. The combination of fruit, acidity and residual sugar is very well handled here. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, Red, Corvina
90

NV Torres Florales Moscatel Oro, Penedès

( £10, 15%, Fareham Wine Cellar, Waitrose, Winedirect )

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.

Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Fortified, Muscat à Petits Grains
90

2013 Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

( N/A, 13.5% )

Inky, youthful and richly oaked, this is an impressive Gimblett Gravels blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec that needs a year or two to marry in bottle. Spicy, vanilla-scented notes are complemented by flavours of graphite, dark plums and cassis with bright, underlying freshness. 

Drinking window: 2018-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, New Zealand, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon
89

2014 De Bortoli La Bohème Act Three, Pinot Gris & Friends, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £13.95, 13.5%, Slurp )

One for opera buffs, or possibly just bohemians, this is an Aussie take on an Alsace-style blend, based on Pinot Gris. Aromatic and appealing, with orchard fruit and spring blossom on the nose, it segues into waxy, pear and apple spice flavours and a tangy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio
90

2010 Marquis de Castéra, Medoc, Bordeaux

( £15, 13.5%, Borough Wines )

The second wine of Château Castéra, this is a stylish, Merlot-based claret with restrained oak, plenty of perfume and polished tannins. It’s good to see a 2010 wine of this quality that’s ready to drink on retail shelves, showing the balance that’s the hallmark of the vintage. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
89

2012 Bodegas Tonel Malbec, Mendoza

( £5.99, 14, Lidl )

Hard to beat for its sheer exuberance and gluggability, this is a brilliantly priced Argentinean Malbec with classic violet perfume, a touch of smoky oak and oodles of plum, blackberry and liquorice fruit. Made for a juicy steak, but this is smooth enough to work with spring lamb, too.

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Argentina, Red, Malbec
88

2014 Weingut Markus Huber Grüner Veltliner Morrison Signature, Niederösterreich

( £8, 12%, Morrisons )

It’s great to see an Austrian Grüner of this quality in a major supermarket. It’s not a power packed wine, but what it lacks in weight, it makes up for in freshness. Floral and medium weight, with some pepper spice, pear and citrus fruit flavours and a zesty, tangy finish. A really good food wine – and I don’t say that very often.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Austria, White, Grüner Veltliner
90

2013 Chez Rocailleux Braucol Rosé, Côtes du Tarn, South West France

( £11.99, 12%, Red Squirrel Wines )

Light, elegant and refreshing, this is a south-west French wine that wouldn’t look out of place in Provence, give or take a slightly green, grassy undertone that’s typical of the Braucol grape. Summer berries, tangy acidity and bone dry with a note of capsicum and a long, tapering finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Rose, Braucol
90

2014 Josmeyer Le Pinot Blanc, Mise de Printemps, Alsace

( £11.50, 12%, The Wine Society )

Pinot Blanc tends to get overlooked in Alsace behind Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, but when it’s as good as this biodynamically farmed example, it’s delicious. Textured, rich and focused with a touch of appealing bitterness, presumably from skin contact, and notes of white flowers, honey and beeswax. The wine finishes refeshingly dry.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, White, Pinot Blanc
90

2013 Palatia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

( £10 (down to £8), 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to buy wine for Marks & Spencer before he returned to his former life as a winemaker in Germany. M&S’ loss is our gain (and they are still stocking his wines anyway) because this is an oustandingly well priced Pinot from a country that has more of the variety in the ground than New Zealand does. It’s a smooth, savoury, easy-drinking red with some spice, sweet plum and raspberry fruit, good texture and a long, supple finish underpinned by subtle oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Germany, Red, Pinot Noir
89

2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

( £6.66, 14.5%, Majestic )

If I were tasting this blind, I’d put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There’s quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it’s more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo