Steve Pannell was making great Grenache in McLaren Vale before the variety began to enjoy its modern renaissance as the so-called “Pinot of the south”. This combines plum and raspberry fruit sweetness with a backbone of tannin and refreshing acidity, supporting the concentration of the old vine fruit. The oaking is almost imperceptible here.
Score Range: 91-95
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Mosel( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
Delicious, mouth-watering dry Riesling from one of my favourite Mosel producers. The extra palate weight and the warmth of the vintage are a perfect foil for the mienralyy, cirtrus-edged acidity here. Pear and apple, with a hint of spice and a stony, bone dry finish.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Auslese Feinherb, Mosel( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
One of a series of delicious releases from Sybille Kuntz in 2015, this is rich, but not heavy in the slightest, handling its 50 odd grams of residual sugar with ease, thanks to its thrillingly vivid acidity. Honey, spices, lime and remarkable palate length are the hallmarks of this classic-meets-modern Mosel style.
2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Mosel( TBC, 12%, www.sybillekuntz.de )
A little less concentrated than the Spätlese release (as you’d expect) but this has ghe focus and freshness that are typical of all of Sybille Kuntz’s 2015s. Citrus, green tea and spring flower notes are underpinned by minerally acidity and stony, mouthwatering crispness. As pure as Riesling gets.
2013 Domaine Jones, Les Perles de Jones Carignan Vieilles Vignes, Vin de France, Languedoc Roussillon( £18.50, 14.5%, www.domainejones.com )
Carignan is one of those under-rated grapes that can make fantastic wines if the vines are old and grown in a propitious terroir. This is on the ripe side, but it’s not top heavy in the slightest. Damson and blueberry fruit flavours are complemented by minerality and acidity and a wild herb-like note. Surprisingly refreshing for a wine of this ripeness.
2010 Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard, Kent( £60-80, 12% )
An ambitious – and ambitiously priced – single vineyard blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the producer that continues to lead the English sparkling wine revolution. The bubbles are particularly fine here, the low dosage beautifully judged, the acidity refreshing and citrus-edged, while the bready, leesy, autolysis-influenced flavours linger tantalisingly on the tongue. Classy stuff.
2015 Thistledown Suilven Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia( £20-£30, 13%, Alliance Wine )
One of those wines that tastes every bit as good as it looks, this Scottish/Australian collaboration eschews the leaner, reductive, early picked style that’s favoured by some winemakers Down Under in favour of something a little more substanial and textured. Deftly oaked, oatmealy and refreshing, with a focus and minerality that wouldn’t look out of place in the Côte de Beaune.
2015 Domaine Brunet Les Travers, Cairanne, Rhône Valley( £10-£15, 13%, Vinconnexion )
Cairanne whites are something of a rarity – even more so than in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but when they are as impressive as this blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, you wonder why. Textured, complex and oatmealy, this shows deftly interwoven oak, subtle pear and apricot fruit and a mineral flourish.
2014 Domaine Brunet Les Chabriles Vieilles Vignes, Cairanne, Rhône Valley( £10-£15, 13.5%, Vinconnexion )
A concentrated, yet lighly oaked, unfiltered, old vine blend of Grenache and Syrah from one of the best domaines in the village of Cairanne, this is my kind of southern Rhône red. Spicy, mineral and focused with youthful red and dark berry fruit, hints of pepper and clove and firm but beautifully integrated tannins. Great value, too.
2013 Domaine Gallety Cuvée Spéciale, Côtes du Vivarais, Rhône Valley( £25, 14%, Scarlet Wines )
Who would imagine that the unfancied Côtes du Vivarais could produce a 50/50 Syrah/Grenache blend that tastes as good as anything at this price in the Rhône Valley. Spice and fresh tobacco notes, with some stemmy, whole bunch flavours, focused, mineral-edged red fruits, fine tannins and delicious perfume and balance. One of my discoveries of the summer.
2015 Château Gassier, Le Pas du Moine, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, Provence( £13.95, 13%, Great Western Wine )
By the standards of some celebrity-endorsed or consumed Provençal rosés, this is positively great value. It’s a crisp, refreshing, bone dry pink with notes of red cherry and rosehip, tangy acidity and a long, palate-cleansing finish. Just the thing to quaff on the beach or in the garden this summer.
2013 Domaine Jones, Fitou, Languedoc Roussillon( £13.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )
Once upon a time, I used to own a bit of vineyard land in Fitou. I just wish I’d done something as useful with it as Katie Jones has. This blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah is all about perfume and dark, sun-kissed fruit, constructed around a core of freshness and stony minerality. One of the most exciting Fitous I’ve tasted in years.