93

2006 Taste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillon, Hunter Valley

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 13%, Sainsbury's )

This wine has been on Sainsbury’s shelves for a while (a reflection of Semillon’s lack of popularity, rather than the quality of this example, which is outstanding), but now is still a great time to buy this aged Hunter white. Toasty, fresh and mature with focused acidity and notes of lemongrass and cream soda and a long, unoaked finish. Go on, give it a go!

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Australia, White, Semillon

Everyday value?

by Matt Walls
Lined up against the wall in my hallway, they stood quietly like forlorn commuters queuing for a bus. These were not bottles to make a taster salivate. Why didn’t I...
94

2009 Lions de Suduiraut, Sauternes, Bordeaux

( £15, 14%, Averys, Berry Bros & Rudd )

That’s £15 per half by the way, just in case you were amazed by the bargain on offer here. Still, it’s a lovely Sauternes, made by a property that made some of the best sweet wines in Bordeaux in 2009. This is honeyed and intense, but with less concentration than the same château’s grown up wine. Sweet vanilla pod and crème brûlée notes combine with a citrus lift on the palate. Classy stuff.

Drinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Sweet, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
91

2009 David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Semillon, Elim

( £14.99 down to £11.24, 13%, Waitrose )

Why don’t the South Africans plant more Semillon in the Cape, given how successful the variety seems to be there. This one from the cool, ocean-influenced area of Elim is toasty, herbal and very refined, with lovely lime and citrus blossom flavours and the potential to age, Hunter Valley-style, in bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2014Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Semillon
92

2006 Taste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillon

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 10.5%, Sainsbury's )

Thsi has been on the shelves for a while at JS, which suggests that (baffling though it is to me) it isn’t selling. This is the weekend to rectify that, because it’s an amazing wine at the price. Light-bodied, in classic Hunter style, with notes of toast and lemon sherbet and a tangy finish from early picked grapes. Essence of the Hunter. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Australia, White, Semillon

Argentina: full speed ahead?

by Tim Atkin
The recent arrival of HMS Dauntless in the south Atlantic, complete with Prince William in his role as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, hasn’t done much for Anglo-Argentine relations....

Twelve Christmas wines under £10

by Tim Atkin
Bearing in mind that most of us are broke at this time of year, I’ve decided to keep things simple and affordable this Christmas, restricting my choices to just a...
92

2009 Vasse Felix Semillon, Margaret River

( £13.99, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer )

2009 Vasse Felix Semillon, Margaret River (£13.99, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer). If you find some Hunter Valley Semillons a little austere, especially when they’re young, try a bottle of this western Australian example instead. Made by the talented Virginia Wilcock, it’s got lovely notes of toast, honeysuckle and cream soda, with zesty acidity and subtle vanilla oak. It’s very enjoyable now, but I suspect this will reward cellaring too.

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, White, Semillon
95

2006 Fow Hollow Hunter Valley Single Vineyard Semillon

( £22 down to £16.50 for a case, 11.5%, Marks & Spencer )

This looks and tastes suspiciously like Vat 1, Tyrrell’s sublime Hunter Semillon. It’s light and unoaked, but with lovely aged aromas and flavours of toast, cream and citrus fruit. On past performance, these wines age for decades, but you’ll have trouble keeping your hands off the screwcap here. Wonderfully complex. A bargain on the 25% off deal, so hurry.

Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Australia, White, Semillon