90

2012 Torre del Falasco, Cantina Valpantena, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Veneto

( £9.99, 14%, Rude Wines )

Less sweet than many commercial Ripasso bottlings – and none the worse for that – this is also showing a bit of bottle-aged complexity, combining notes of plum, strawberry and fig, a nip of tannin and no obvious oak. The combination of fruit, acidity and residual sugar is very well handled here. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, Red, Corvina
91

2011 Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva, Cava

( £19.50, 12% )

A prime example of why it’s worth paying just a little but more (and still less than most Champagne and English fizz) to drink top end Cava rather than the basic supermarket stuff. Rich, honeyed, yet bone dry, this is a traditional style with toasty maturity and the slight bitterness that’s often a feature of Xarel-lo based wines. 

Drinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Sparkling
94

2014 Gramona Xarel-lo Ovum, Penedès

( 13.50 euros, 12%, Decantalo )

One of a trio of still Xarelo-los from Cava producer, Gramona, this was fermented in concrete eggs (hence the name) and is a thrilling wine that puts the variety on a pedestal where it belongs. Bone dry, rich and complex, with spice, texture and focused minerality, even at a comparatively modest 12%, it’s an unbelievable bargain. You can order it from Spain, but (to my knowledge) it’s not available in the UK. It should be. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Xarel-lo
93

2006 Drappier Grande Sendrée, Champagne

( £45, 12%, Widely available )

This is a comparatively forward style of vintage Champage, as many of the 2006s are. It’s rich, toasty and stylish with an undertone of wild mushroom, some spice, fine, pin-head bubbles and a lingering dry finish. Delicious to drink now, but should keep for another four or five years thanks to its taut underlying acidity. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, France, Sparkling
92

2015 Granbazán Albariño, Etiqueta Ambar, Rías Baixas

( N/A, 12.5%, Contact the winery for details )

Grown on granitic soils close to Cambados – the self-styled capital of the Albariño grape – this is a remarkable old vine cuvée from one of the best producers of the grape in Rías Baixas. Scented, pure and beautifully balanced, with undertones of lime and apple, it unfurls impressive richness on the palate with pear and stone fruit flavours and a fine, linering finish.

Drinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
90

NV Torres Florales Moscatel Oro, Penedès

( £10, 15%, Fareham Wine Cellar, Waitrose, Winedirect )

A rich, even heady expression of the Moscatel (Muscat) grape, this is luscious and palate-coating, with flavours of orange peel, dried fruits and beeswax and spirity note that complements rather than overwhelms the wine. Sweet and complex, it’s really good with full-flavoured desserts.

Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Fortified, Muscat à Petits Grains
91

2013 Trinity Hill The Gimblett, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

( £17, 13.5% )

An impressive, four-way blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, assisted by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a dash of Petit Verdot, that nods towards the Médoc as much as its native New World. Floral, refined and well balanced with stylish, savoury oak, a solid backbone of tannin and a tangy, refreshing finish. A wien that slides over the tongue. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-21Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
90

2013 Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

( N/A, 13.5% )

Inky, youthful and richly oaked, this is an impressive Gimblett Gravels blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec that needs a year or two to marry in bottle. Spicy, vanilla-scented notes are complemented by flavours of graphite, dark plums and cassis with bright, underlying freshness. 

Drinking window: 2018-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, New Zealand, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon
89

2014 De Bortoli La Bohème Act Three, Pinot Gris & Friends, Yarra Valley, Victoria

( £13.95, 13.5%, Slurp )

One for opera buffs, or possibly just bohemians, this is an Aussie take on an Alsace-style blend, based on Pinot Gris. Aromatic and appealing, with orchard fruit and spring blossom on the nose, it segues into waxy, pear and apple spice flavours and a tangy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio
91

2013 Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

( £15, 14% )

Winemaker Gordon Russell is better known for his skills with Bordeaux than Rhône varieties, but he’s very bit as adept at both. This is a classic Kiwi Syrah, combining intensity with freshness, perfume with fruit weight. Pepper spicy, firm and focused, it’s more Cornas than Crozes-Hermitage in style, with the structure to age. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Syrah/Shiraz