90

2010 Txomin Etxaniz Chacolí de Guetaria, Basque Country

( £13.99, 11.35%, Waitrose )

The wines of the Basque country don’t often leave Spain, partly because they are glugged so enthusiastically in the bars of San Sebastián and Bilbao, but also because they are difficult to pronounce. If you don’t know Chacolí as a wine style, it’s made from the Hondarribi Zuri grape, light in alcohol and often slightly spritzy. This one is tangy and refreshingly acidic, with a little fatness from lees contact and notes of apples and fresh lemons. Try it with sea food or a lip-smacking aperitif. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, White, Hondarribi Zuri
91

2009 Louis Max, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Very light in colour, although there’s nothing wrong with that in Burgundy. Leafy, balanced and aromatic with summer pudding and wild strawberry fruit. The palate is very different, showing more oak, slightly firm extracted tannins, medium acidity and not quite enough fruit to balance the dryness. This may oopen up over the next two or three years. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-19Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, France, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2010 Taste the Difference Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley

( £8.99, 13%, Sainsbury's )

It was a smart move by Sainsbury’s to source their Crozes from the biodynamic wild child of the Rhône Valley, Michel Chapoutier. Sourced from three different terroirs in this comparatively large appellation, it’s a classis example of a cooler climate Syrah, albeit an unoaked one. Blackberry spice and smoked meat are the dominant aromas and flavours here, underpinned by good structure and supple tannins. Try chilling it slightly. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
91

2010 Catena Malbec, Mendoza

( £12.49, 13.9%, Waitrose )

This may be the best mid-priced Malbec yet from Argentina’s leading producer. It’s perfumed and stylish, with notes of violets and fresh plums on the nose, followed by ripe, but not over-ripe blackberry fruit, subtle vanilla oak, textured, grainy tannins and refreshing minerality and zip. The oak is better integrated than in previous releases and there’s welcome finesse here. Great now, but will develop in the bottle for another three to five years. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Argentina, Red, Malbec
88

2009 Château de la Tour Vieilles Vignes, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

A mid ruby wine showing a slight cloudiness when I tasted it. This old vine cuvée is marked by smoky, vanilla oak on the nose, with meaty aromas that owe as much to Syrah as they do to Pinot Noir. Very woody on the palate too, with a chunky extracted finish. This may soften over time, but I think the oak will continue to dominate the fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Pinot Noir
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
86

2009 La Reine Pédauque, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Mid ruby with a pinkish rim. Youthfaul and bright on the nose, albeit witn an overlay of oak. On the palate the wine is quite extracted with marked acidity and not enough fruit to compensate. A wine that is closer to a 2008 than 2009 in style, with firm, dry tannins and rather thin fruit flavours. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Pinot Noir
86

2009 Chantal Lescure, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Deep ruby, youthful, garnet coloured at the rim. Dense, compact, with some minty reduction. A little bitter with high acidity, perhaps suffering from bottle shock? High acid and tannin, not very complex. Lacks what should be the redeeming feature of the vintage: namely, fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2011 Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé, Côtes de Provence

( £9.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

We may still be waiting for summer here in rain-sodden Blighty, but why not pretend you’re on the Côte d’Azur with a bottle of this slinky, floral, pale pink blend of Syrah and Grenache. It’s delicate and very subtle with notes of rosehip and raspberry, bright, sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. Great as an aperitif, even better with salad, fish or chicken dishes. Essence of southern France. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Rose, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Other Reds, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2011 Planeta La Segreta Bianco, IGT Sicilia

( £9.25, 12.5%, Noel Young Wines )

An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts. 

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, White, Chardonnay, Other Whites, Viognier
90

2009 South Ridge Cuvée Merret

( £19.99, 12.5%, Laithwaites )

If you want to be patriotic this weekend, why not buy a bottle of this excellent English fizz, made from a combination of mostly Chardonnay with 30% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier. It’s fresh and malty, with small, pin head bubbles, tangy acidity, a touch of sweetness and a long, refreshing finish. One to take to a street party and share with any wine lovers who are there. 

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Other Countries, White, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay