Ventoux: wild wild East

by Matt Walls
“Bonjour!” beamed the skinny young monk as he hurried past me down the steep dirt path, his brown habit flapping behind him. It turns out the local monastery had only...
91

2015 Domaine Brunet Les Travers, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

( £10-£15, 13%, Vinconnexion )

Cairanne whites are something of a rarity – even more so than in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but when they are as impressive as this blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, you wonder why. Textured, complex and oatmealy, this shows deftly interwoven oak, subtle pear and apricot fruit and a mineral flourish. 

Drinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier
93

2015 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

( £10, 14%, Sainsbury's )

Bellingham’s Roussanne is one of the few stand alone examples of the grape in South Africa, and it’s getting better with every vintage, showing impressive weight, texture and finesse. This deftly-oaked, full-bodied white is rich but not unctuous, with notes of baking spices, citrus and green tea, a hint of tropical fruit sweetness and a grippy, almost tannic finish that works really well with food. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, South Africa, White, Roussanne
90

2011 Canyon Park, The Guardians MRV, Danube Plain

( £14.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

With a name like Canyon Park, let alone a price tag close to £15, the last place you’d expect this blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier to come from is Bulgaria, but the country that gave us impossibly cheap Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1980s is emerging from the Eastern European doldrums at last. This is smoky, savoury and perfumed, with aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle, ripe, pear and apricot flavours and subtle oak integration. A sign of very good things to come? 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Bulgaria, White, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier

The Swartland Revolution

by Tim Atkin
Every revolution needs a spark, a catalyst that changes things forever. It might not compare with the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, but the...
92

2010 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

( £10.99 down to £8.24, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )

Why isn’t there more Roussanne planted in the hotter parts of the Cape, such as Paarl? Beats me, because it seems to do really well there, especially in the hands of Niel Groenewald at Bellingham. This lightly oaked, lees-influenced white is savoury and complex with notes of oatmeal, vanilla and cinnamon and a long, yeasty finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Roussanne

Meet the Osborns

by Tim Atkin
There can’t be many world-famous wineries founded by teetotalers, but d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale is one of them. Despite working in the industry as company secretary at Thomas Hardy &...

Do New World wines age?

by Tim Atkin
What’s the difference between a New and an Old World wine? Twenty-seven years ago, when I started writing about the subject, the distinction was clear-cut. The received wisdom was that...
90

2010 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )

There ought to be much more Roussanne planted in the hotter areas of the Cape than there is, given its suitability to such a climate. This one from Bellingham’s excellent Bernard Series is dry, and creamy with a smoky, spicy undertone and a herbal, refeshing finish. Let’s hope it’s an inspiration to others. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, White, Roussanne