This wine was a hit when I recommended it on Saturday Ktichen recently, so I thought I’d give it another outing. It’s impressive value at just over a fiver and works really well with lamb dishes. The Tempranillo (Tinto Fino) in Ribera is fresher than in Rioja because it’s grown at altitude, and that’s the case here: fine tannins, bright red fruits and good balance.
The wonderfully theatrical Chester Osborn is better known for his reds than his whites, but he has a suprisingly subtle touch with the latter, as this very lightly oaked blend of Viognier with 32% Marsanne demonstrates. It’s a spicy, pithy, understated white, with good crunch and zest, a hint of apricot and a mealy, balanced finish.
A lipsmacking blend of five red grapes from one of the cooler, more Atlantic influenced sub-regions of the Languedoc, this is light and refreshing in a Bordeaux meets the Midi sort of way, with some pepper spice, a bit of mint and oak and bags of aroma. Great value, too.
This Portuguese-owned operation in Mendoza makes someof the best value wines in Argentina at the moment, typified by this pungent, sweetly oaked Malbec. It’s got a ripe, almost honeyed sweetness to it, balanced by notes of vanilla, blackberry and spice. You have to serve this with a juicy steak.
2011 turned out to be a very drinkable vintage in Beaujolais, just as it did in neighbouring Burgundy, and this own-lablel from teh Georges Duboeuf stable is a red-fruited thirstquencher with pithy acidity and notes of cherry and raspberry.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth but don’t want to spend more than £10 on a bottle of something special for Christmas, this southern Rhône fortified ticks all the right boxes. It’s a very elegant style, wtih subtle fortification, aromas of wild flowers, honey and peach and a refreshing finish that doesn’t cloy in the slightest.
The winemaker behind this southern Italian white is the famous Dr Riccardo Cotarella, who certainly appears to have a magic touch with this increasingly popular grape. It’s spicy and fresh with notes of pear and citrsu fruit and a tangy, unoaked finish. Very focused.
There are some surprisingly good wines at this increasingly popular discount chain, particularly at Christmas. This Bordeaux cru bourgeois from a celebrated recent vintage is a case in point. It’s a light, elegant, easy-drinking claret with fine tannins, good freshness and plenty of juicy cassis and green pepper notes. A red that really delivers at the price.
Sourced from a small family estate in the Penedès region near Barcelona, this is a traditional style of Cava made from three local grapes and a hint of more international Chardonnay. It’s aromatic and yeasty, with notes of white pepper and fresh earth, a dry, tapering finish and good balance. Ideal as a party fizz instead of more expensive Champagne.
This is the first wine I’ve ever reviewed on this site from Romania, but it’s a gift to Pinot Noir lovers. Quite simply, this is the best cheap example of the grape in the world. There’s a hint of smoky oak (from a chip or a stave, no doubt), but it’s the fruit that really sings: cherry stone and raspberry with supple tannins and a core of sweetness. Not complex, but bright, cheerful and very drinkable.
This isn’t quite the amazing bargain it once was, but it’s still one of the best whites on Tesco’s books, a stylish, finely crafted white from Howard Park. It’s fresh and minerally, with haunting lime-juice and citrus peel flavours and a dry, stony aftertaste. On past perfermance, it will develop well in bottle, too.
Adi Badenhorst has created some increasingly smart wines since he set up on his own, post-Rustenberg, in the Swartland. This lightly-oaked red from a region that is growing in importance and stature is elegant, smoky and gentle with appealing red fruits and a fresh, yet well rounded finish. A good wine to serve with turkey. Or at a Christmas party.