91

2010 Château Sainte-Eulalie, Minervois La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £11.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

Syrah, Grenache and Carignan  combine to very good effect in this dense, spicy, garrigue-scented red from the best part of the Minervois appellation. It’s a sun-kissed number with ripe, yet full tannins, flavours of blackberry, rosemary, thyme and liquorice and a chalky undertone from its vineyard source. Inky and ripe, but fresh and fine at the same time. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
93

2011 Greywacke Chardonnay, Marlborough

( £21, 14.5%, Liberty Wines )

Kevin Judd was better known at Cloudy Bay, just as he is at Greywacke, for his Sauvignon Blancs than his Chardonnay, but he’s always been a very skilful producer of the latter grape. This is arguably the best Chardonnay he’s made yet at his new venture, a minerally, citrus-tinged white with deftly interwoven oak and flavours of oatmeal and honey. Very classy. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay
94

2012 Tolpuddle Chardonnay, Tasmania

( £39.00, 13%, Liberty Wines )

A remarkable Tasmanian Chardonnay from Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith, the team behind Shaw & Smith in the Adelaide Hills. This is dense, flavoursome stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in a Meursault Premier Cru bottle, with subtle, toasty oak, lots of mid-palate weight, flavours of struck flint, citrus and pear and a long, tapering finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, White, Chardonnay
92

2012 Tolpuddle Pinot Noir, Tasmania

( £45.00, 13%, Liberty Wines )

Not quite as thrilling as the Tolpuddle Chardonnay, but this is still an impressive Aussie Pinot from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. Supple and fragrant, with aromas of rose petal and red fruits, a touch of oak, fine tannins and good grip on the finish. The cool climate acidity gives the wine real length on the finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2010 Château Clément-Pichon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

( £12.50, 14%, Fine + Rare )

A cru bourgeois that punches well above its weight, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot typifies the best feautures of the 2010 vintage: freshness and concentration of flavour. It’s ripe, yet well balanced with flavours of cassis and plum, a hint of damson and fine, structured tannins. Needs time. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
93

2011 Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough

( £22.50, 13.5%, Majestic )

Craggy Range makes some of the best Pinot Noirs in New Zealand, without charging the high prices of some of its competitors. This is a typically savoury Martinborough Pinot Noir, with less colour than examples from Central Otago, but more complexity than the majority from Marlborough. Red cherry and pomegranate, toasty oak, medium-weight tannins and a long, refreshing finish. It should age nicely, too. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
91

2012 Clos Floridene, Graves, Bordeaux

( £16.99, 13%, The Co-operative )

Great to see a supermarket taking a punt on a top white Graves, especially one made by the brilliant Denis Dubourdieu. This lightly oaked blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Semillon and 3% Muscadelle is delicious, boasting notes of struck match, vanilla, pink grapefruit and subtle gooseberry. It’s the kind of wine that ages really well, too. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
90

2009 Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

( £13.99, 13.5%, The Co-operative )

On a deal for the next week, before it reverts to £16.99 after Christmas, this is a well-balanced, aromatic claret that is more focused and refined than many 2009s, but is still pretty forward and full of flavour: with subtle oak, riple plum and blueberry fruit and medium weight tannins. Very drinkable. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
92

2012 Albariño de Fefiñanes, Rías Baixas

( £15.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )

A bottle of this superlative Albariño is never far from my hand when I’m on holiday in Spain in the summer. The 2012 is well up to the high standards of recent vintages, possibly with a little more weight. Floral pefume, lemon and lime on the palate, crisp acidity and a hint of spritz: it all adds up to a delicious Atlantic-influenced white. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño