94

NV Krug, Grande Cuvée, Champagne

( £80-£100, 12%, Widely available )

A blend of 20 wines from ten different vintages, some of which are 15 years old, Krug’s non-vintage blend is one of a kind. It’s rich, complex and palate coating, with small bubbles, savoury, umami notes, hints of hazelnut and honey and a dry, refeshing palate. The kind of Champagne that works extremely well with food rather than as an aperitif. 

BuyDrinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £50-£100, 91-95, France, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
90

NV Hambledon, Classic Cuvée, Hampshire

( £28.50, 12% )

Sourced from England’s oldest commercial vineyard (we are talking 1952), this blend of the Champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is delicious, a fizz that manages to taste English while showing the complexity and nuances of a top Champagne. It’s chalky and dry, with subtle bubbles, hints of fresh pastry and citrus and a tapering finish: elegant, refined and understated. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, England, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
94

2013 Thousand Candles Syrah, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £45-50, 13.5%, Alliance Wine )

Bill Downie is best known for his extraordinary Pinot Noirs, which rank among the best in Australia, but he’s no slouch when it comes to making Syrah either, as this Southern Yarra Valley example demonstrates. Spicy, refreshing and subtly oaked this is made using what Downie calls “enhanced biodynamics”. The acidity, structure and perfume of the wine, with a savoury undertone from whole bunch fermentation, are deliciously well integrated. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Australia, Red, Syrah/Shiraz