Jim Clendennen makes some of the subtlest Chardonnays on the West Coast, and this understated effort is typical of his style, favouring subtle oak, fresh acidity and medium body. This is textured, aromatic and fresh, with some honey and cinnamon spice, a touch of oak, creamy lees and a zesty finish. I’d love to see more California Chardonnays like this.
Majestic Autumn Tasting09 September 2012
2006 Parcel Series Riesling, Eden Valley( £6.99, 12.5%, Majestic )
A 92 point wine for only £6.99? You betcha. I can’t believe that this mature parcel of Eden Valley Riesling is so cheap. Sourced from McWilliams (better known for their aged Semillons), this is a delicously developed wine, showing classic flavours of lime and toast. It’s fresh, beautifully balanced and complex, with amazing length on the palate. Get on line, drive to your local Majestic, do whatever it takes, but make sure you buy this stunning wine.
2011 Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin blanc, Western Cape( £9.59, 14.5%, Majestic )
You can really taste the old vine concentration is this ripe, textured, tropical fruity Cape Chenin. The flavours coat the palate: honey, pineapple and cinnamon spice, some vanilla sweetness from oak ageing and crisp, appley acidity. Weighty, concentrated and full of flavour, this has impressive length and freshness too.
2011 Blind River Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough( £9.99, 13%, Majestic )
There’s so much mediocre Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc around (bland, sweet, overcropped and sometimes all three) that it’s a pleasure to recommend one that has real personality. This comes from the cooler Awatere Valley and is beautifuly taut and refined: a focused, almost minerally white with one foot in the Loire Valley, stylistically speaking. Fresh, crisp and tangy with notes of elderflower, wet stones and kiwi fruit, it lingers tantalisingly on the palate.
2010 Viñalba Reserva Cabernet/Malbec/Petit Verdot, Mendoza( £8.99, 14.5%, Majestic )
Viñalba makes some of the most consistently tasty red wines in Argentina, and at very approachable prices. This full-bodied Bordeaux style blend is plush and concentrated with sweet, well integrated oak, flavours of chocolate and plums, ripe tannins and good underlying freshness. If you’re bored of Malbec, try this instead.