91

2010 Mere et Fils Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( NA, 13%, Contact the winery for details )

The qualty of Australian Chardonnay has leapt forward like a roo on heat over the last few years. This cool climate example from the Adelaide Hills is typical of the quality on offer from Down Under. Wild yeast fermented in older oak, some creamy lees on the palate and fine, citrus-tinged fruit with an echo of apricot. Subtle winemakin from Matt Gant.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, Australia, White, Chardonnay
94

2010 Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay, Nelson

( £35 (approximately), 13.5%, Local stockists from the vineyard )

Neudorf’s status as one of the very best Chardonnay producers in New Zealand is only enhanced by this delicious new release: nutty, savoury, bready notes with well integrated oak, citrus acidity and nuanced lemon, vanilla and peach flavours. The wine has the concentration and structure to age further in bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £30-£50, 0-80, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay
94

2010 Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir Home Vineyard, Nelson

( NZ$79.90, 14.5%, Contact the winery for details )

This is unashamedly New Zealand, even Nelson, in style rather than a Burgundian copy. It’s rich, savoury and textured, a wine whose pale colour belies its concentration, depth and complexity. The oak is a little too evident at the moment, but don’t hesitate to give it five or more years in bottle. Sweetly fruited, perfumed and very long.

BuyDrinking window: 2014-2020Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
93

2010 Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir, Nelson

( NZ $49.90, 14%, Contact the winery for details )

Lighter and more approachable than the Home Block release, but not far behind it in quality, this is a ripe, structured, red fruits scented Pinot with savoury, toasty oak, subtle, filigree tannins and some grip on the finish. Another wine that needs a year or two in bottle to show at its best.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-2017Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
89

2010 Thymiopoulos Rosé de Xinomavro, Naoussa

( £12.99, 14%, Theatre of Wine )

This is something of a curiosity, but there’s nothing wrong with that: copper-tinted, almost Pinot Noir like, with sweet and savoury fruit flavours, refresing acidity and a long, wild strawberry finish. It’s got a nip of tannin, too, which makes it perfect with food. Try it with a summer salad. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, Rose, Xinomavro
91

2009 Château Ksara, Clos St Alphonse, Bekaa Valley

( £9.49, 13%, Marks & Spencer )

It’s great to see a few Lebanese wines breaking into the retail mainstream, especially at a price and quality level such as this. It’s a blend of mostly Syrah with 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and it underlines the country’s potential with Bordeaux-meets-the-Rhône-Valley style blends. Elegant, sweetly oaked stuff with restrained alcohol for the Bekaa Valley, some spice and an undertone of green pepper. A very modern wine from Lebanon’s oldest winery. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Lebanon, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz
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