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
91

2014 Pascal Marchand Selection, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy

( £30, 12.5%, Majestic )

Pascal Marchand made his name at Domaine des Epeneaux in Pommard, but is now producing some equally impressive wines under his own label. This is a pale, even delicate Pinot, especially by the standards of Gevrey-Chambertin. Aromatic, nuanced and floral, it shows crunchy redcurrant and pomegranate flavours, plenty opf zip and focus and the faintest whisper of oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, France, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2010 Marquis de Castéra, Medoc, Bordeaux

( £15, 13.5%, Borough Wines )

The second wine of Château Castéra, this is a stylish, Merlot-based claret with restrained oak, plenty of perfume and polished tannins. It’s good to see a 2010 wine of this quality that’s ready to drink on retail shelves, showing the balance that’s the hallmark of the vintage. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
91

2015 Château de la Parenchère, Bordeaux

( £11.30, 13.5%, Peter Osbourne Fine Wines )

Made for the first time in 2006, this was grafted over from Cabernet Franc vines to produce a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle. Proving that you don’t need a swanky address in Pessac-Léognan to make tasty Bordeaux Blanc, it’s tangy, aromatic and sappy with hints of struck match and grapefruit and a waxy, herbal undertone from the Semillon. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Sauvignon Blanc
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