97

2009 Drouhin-Laroze, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Vibrant, purple-hued Pinot from one of the top producers in Gevrey, specialising in deliberately modern style. Yes, it’s a big, bold, powerful wine, but it’s harmonious too. Youthful, vigorous and sweet with a subtle interplay between red and blacks fruits, succulent tannins and a finish that promises more to come in the bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-2022Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir
98

2009 Hubert de Montille, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

The De Montille family (remember them from Mondovino?) are more commonly associated with the Côte de Beaune, but that is beginning to change thanks to some recent acquisitions in the Côte de Nuits. This is very pale in colour, showing marked whole bunch character on the nose and palate. And what a wine it is: a Grand Cru that lives up to its name: balanced, sweet, nuanced and very long with refined tannins and complexity to age. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir
97

2009 Georges Mugneret-Gibourg, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

If you can get past the outrageously heavy bottle (and I had trouble lifting it off the table), this is a superb wine. Bright, youthful, ruby red in colour. Lovely bramble and wild strawberry fruit on the nose. Plush and sweet with good acidity for balance. So Pinot? Silky, scented, beguiling, gentle with impressive delicacy for the vintage. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir
92

2011 Vinyes dels Aspres, Empordà

( E13, 14.5%, El Celler Petit )

Sourced from the frontier village of Cantallops, this is a rich, powerful, wild wine that is almost unruly on the nose and palate. Even for a young wine, this is starting to show secondary notes of honey and marzipan, but there’s massive concentration and acidity to back it up. A slow burner of a wine, very dense, minerally and herbal with a salty, food welcoming finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 96-100, Spain, White, Grenache Blanc
97

NV All Saints Grand Rutherglen Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria

( £75, 18%, Cockburn & Campbell )

Rare sums it up. It’s not often that I’m reduced to silent contemplation, but that happened here. This is a tresure of a wine, one to be sipped and supped and drooled over. Incredibly perfumed, rose petal and rancio aromas sashay intocomplex, nut fig and walnut flavours on the palate. Decadent, complex, concentrated and intense. Essence of Rutherglen. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-25Similar Wines: £50-£100, 96-100, Australia, Fortified, Muscat à Petits Grains
97

2002 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, Reims, Champagne

( Approx £100, 12, Widely available )

If I had to choose just one Blanc de Blancs Champagne to lay down on a regular basis, this would be it. It’s hard to believe the wine is 10 years’ old, given its freshness and perky acidity. Floral, understated, citrus and brioche aromas sashay into a pure, focused, beautifully defined palate showing flavours of citrus, fresh bread and lighty grilled nuts. The finish on the wine goes on for a minute. Great now, but tuck some away if you can keep your hands off it.  

Drinking window: 2012-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Sparkling, Chardonnay
94

2009 Bertagna, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Mid ruby/red with a pinkish rim. There’s some evidence of whole bunch fermetnation on the nose and palate here – a slight greenness that adds some texture and structure. The wine is quite extracted, but is clearly built for the longer haul, with notes of vanilla, fresh earth and raspberry and summer pudding fruit. 

Drinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir