93

2011 Emma Zuccardi, Bonarda, Mendoza

( £19.75, 14.5%, Corkingwines.co.uk )

Bonarda is regarded as something of a quaffing variety in Argentina, good for everyday drinking but not capable of anything more exciting. But hang on…this is an incredible red from Sebastián Zuccardi, which takes the variety to new heights. Brambly, savoury and intense, with plum and blueberry fruit, sweet oak and old vine concentration.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Argentina, Red, Bonarda
90

NV Jansz, Premium Non Vintage Cuvée, Tasmania

( £15.75, 12.5% )

Jansz’s “ordinary” cuvée is pretty good, so you’d expect a premium cuvée to be even better. And, guess what, you won’t be disappointed. This is a little richer and toastier than the regular release, with notes of toast and cream and a supple cushion of bubbles. Appealingly dry. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, Sparkling
92

NV Tio Pepe, Fino En Rama, Jerez

( £13, 15% )

If you love Fino Sherry – and who doesn’t? – this is about as good as it gets: an unfined, unfiltered fortified that was bottled in April when the flor yeast is at its thickest on the surface of the wine, giving it that bready, savoury complexity. More deeply coloured than the regular Tio Pepe, this is a salty, tangy delight that’s absolutely brilliant with a plate of anchovies or almonds. Essence of Andalusia.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Fortified, Palomino Fino
94

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon, Marlborough

( £17.49, 14%, Excel Wines )

Kevin Judd is a master of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As its name suggests, this is his wild yeast-fermented expression of the grape, along the lines of Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko. It’s a stunning wine, combining notes of white Burgundy, white Bordeaux and Kiwi fruit exuberance. The older oak is very subtle, the savoury, grapefruity, yeasty flavours perfectly judged. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Sauvignon Blanc
88

2011 Esprit de Puisseguin, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux

( £11.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

After the hoopla surrounding the 2009 and 2010 vintages in Bordeaux, 2011 was bound to be a bit of a let down, despite the fact that it produced plenty of decent wines. This is a case in point: a Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend that’s supple and forward (especially for the vintage), with attractive, grassy, refreshing flavours and a nip of tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red
94

2006 Elio Grasso, Gavarini Chiniera, Barolo, Piedmonte

( £48, 14%, Lay & Wheeler )

2006 is a delicious vintage in Piemonte – less ripe than 2007, perhaps, but more classic in structure. This is still in short trousers, but it’s already approachable, with lifted aromas of tar, red fruits and incense, medium weight tannins, bight acidity and a core of savoury, focused fruit. Needs food to shine. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-20Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo
89

2012 Cristina Ascheri, Arneis, Langhe, Piedmont

( £13.95, 13.5%, Great Western Wine )

Arneis is Piedmont’s best white grape in my opinion, especially when it offers the sort of value and fruit concentration on show here from Ascheri in Bra. Refeshing and zesty, with a slight spritz, but with plenty of weight and concentration behind, with pear and angelica spice and a deliciously bitter twist.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Italy, White, Arneis