92

2011 Gandolini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Las 3 Marias, Maipo Andes, Maipo Andes, Maipo Valley

( £25, 14%, The Wine Society )

This impressive Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the foothills of the Andes rather than the flatter expanses of the Maipo Valley and it shows in the quality and definition of the wine. It’s a dense, compact, ageworthy red with rich flavours of plum, cassis and blackberry, sweet, toasty oak, structured tannins and excellent concentration. Built to last, it should develop further complexity over the next five to eight years. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Chile, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon
90

2012 Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia

( £17.95, 14%, South Down Cellars )

If you’re a fan of slightly old fashioned Aussie Chardonnays, rather than the Burgundian tastealikes that are increasingly being produced in regions like the Adelaide Hills and the Yarra Valley, you’ll love this peachy, ripe, pineapple fruity wine from Western Australia. It’s a big, bold wine with attractive, toasty oak and enough lemony acididty for balance. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Chardonnay
94

NV Henriot Rosé, Champagne

( £46, 12%, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Oddbins, Planet of the Grapes )

A rosé that deserves to be just as famous as Laurent Perrier’s, this is a blend of mostly Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs with a little Pinot Meunier. The high percentage of reserve wines (25%) gives the wine added depth and complexity. It’s a complex, red fruit-dominated rosé with a hint of blackcurrant leaf, a balsamic undertone, fine bubbles and refeshing acidity. A really good food rosé.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, France, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
92

2013 Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris, Nelson

( £23, 14%, Must Wines )

Neudorf is best known for its Pinots and especially its stellar Chardonnay, but winemaker Tim Finn can turn his hand to aromatic white grapes, too. This rich, musky, off-dry Pinot Gris is a case in point. Floral and intense, it combines notes of rose petal, sweet pears and quince, supported by acidity. Complex stuff with less residual sugar than many Kiwi examples of the grape. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £20-£30, 86-90, New Zealand, White, Pinot Gris/Grigio
92

2010 Harvey Nichols Sauternes, Sauternes, Bordeaux

( £15 per half, 14%, Harvey Nichols )

Any retailer that sources its Sauternes from Château Coutet (in Barsac) is aiming high and this is a delicious sticky from a vintage that is better known for reds than whites in Bordeaux. This is richer and sweeter than Coutet often tends to be, but it’s still a treat, with flavours of pineapple and barley sugar, medium acidity, subtle oak and rich, honeyed mouthfilling complexity. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Sweet, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
90

2012 Mavum Pinot Grigio/Pinot Nero, Veneto

( £9.50, 12.5%, Amp Fine Wines, Hennings Wine Merchants )

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero are very close genetically, so why not combine them in a white wine, vinifying the latter without its skins? The result is rather tasty, with aromatic, Golden Delicious apple, pear and quince notes, and just a hint of wild strawberry. Unoaked, refined and well balanced, this is a real find for less than £10.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, White, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris/Grigio
92

2011 Cambridge Road Syrah, Martinborough

( POA, 12.5, Les Caves de Pyrene )

“Martinborough in a cool year on a razor’s edge,” is how Lance Redgwell describes the growing season that produced this impressive Syrah from the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s got the classic, cool climate notes of black pepper and smoked meat, combined with notes of incense, iodine and subtle oak. Spicy and intense, yet refreshing at the same time, it’s the kind of wine that makes you wonder why the Kiwis don’t plant more Syrah. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
92

2008 Domaine Bessa Valley, Enira Reserva, Bessa Valley

( £17.95, 14.5%, Salisbury Wine Shop, The Fine Wine Company )

It’s a real pleasure to see such impressive wines emerging from Bulgaria, a country that has lost its way over the last 20 years, but is now back on the right path. This wine is the flag bearer of the new wave. It’s a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, made by a group of owners that includes Stephan von Neipperg of Château Canon La Gaffelière, and it has a smooth, international feel to it. Minty, fruit sweet and stylishly oaked, it combines flavours of cassis, fruitcake and red berries with a sheen of vanilla oak. Good now, but will age for another five years with ease.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Bulgaria, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah/Shiraz
92

2011 Cambridge Road Dovetail Field Blend, Martinborough

( POA, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )

There aren’t many wineries in the world that have successfully combined Pinot Noir with Syrah, but this biodynamic blend is so successful that I wish more people would follow suit. Pinot tames the peppery, iodine-like notes of Martinborough Syrah, adding a softer, more “feminine” touch. The oak is very understated, while the flavours of clove spice, red fruits and a hint of forest floor revolve around a core of bright acidity. Unusual, but very tasty indeed. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2012 Château de France, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

( N/A, 14% )

There’s been a lot of talk about the 2013 Bordeaux whites being the vintage’s silver lining, but it’s important to remember that there are some appealing older vintage on the market that are already in bottle, this being a case in point. This is quite an opulent Pessac-Léognan, exhibiting flavours of guava and melon, subtle oak, a touch of gunflint and a fat, lees-influenced finish. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: 91-95, France, White, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
93

2011 Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

( £29.50, 13.5% )

Te Koko is made in much smaller quantities than Cloudy Bay’s regular Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s a much more interesting wine, benefiting from wild yeast fermentation in French oak. Some people find the funky flavours a little challenging, but I love them. This is smoky and complex, with yeasty, doughy aromas, pithy grapefruit-like acidity, a touch of wax and gunflint and long, lingering finish. A wine that wouldn’t look out of place in Pessac-Léognan. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Sauvignon Blanc
89

2010 Lindes de Remelluri, Viñedos de Labastida, Rioja

( £16.99, 13.5%, Davis Bell McCraith )

Things have changed for the better, now that Telmo Rodriguez is back at Remelluri, one of Rioja’s first estates. This is a more forward expression of Tempranillo than the bodega’s more expensive releases, with bags of bright, brambly, red berry fruit, medium weight tannins and a sweet, succulent finish that emphasises gluggability. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo