Top seven wines of the past 12 months
Trying to narrow down your best-loved style of wine is like favouring one child over another. You love them all, each makes you happy, you want to spend more time getting to know them and delight in their idiosyncrasies. And so it is with wine, the delicious conundrum we think can be solved (in part, at least) by picking some stunners that tantalised our tastebuds in 2018... 1. Chapel Down Classic Brut, NV, Kent, England (£22, Ocado) Chapel Down is deliciously dependable, approachable and fruit-forward, with toasty aromas and hints of red apple, pears and citrus fruits. It’s light and easy drinking, with refreshing acidity that works well with finger-food and mini fish and chips with tartare sauce. 2. The Palm By Whispering Angel 2017, France (£13.50, orders for new vintage available from 2019, from VineyardsDirect. com) This is one of four ravishing roses from Sacha Lichine, proprietor of Chateau d’Esclans, who have set the benchmark for seriously stylish rose. Fresh, dry and elegant, with subtle fruity notes and exceptional length, it will taste delightful with or without a glimmer of sunshine. 3. Taste the Difference Cotes Du Ventoux, Rhone Valley 2016, France (currently reduced to £8.50 from £10, Sainsbury’s) This generous red wraps its arms around you and brings a smile from the very first sip. A rhapsody of raspberry and spice, the peppery bouquet tickles the senses and the velvety smooth palate is saturated with lush berry fruits, with a spike of earthy liquorice on the sweetly ripe finish. 4. Banfi Col di Sasso Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Tuscany, Italy (£12.50, WeaversWines.com) This deep ruby red has the floral, violet character of the sangiovese grape, bolstered by the fullness and roundness of cabernet sauvignon (70%). A gorgeously drinkable medley of velvety raspberry fruit, with traces of plums and spice lifted by some cranberry freshness on the finish, it needs time in the glass for the flavours to shine before diving into a rich spaghetti bolognese. 5. Chateau Moulin du Terrier Bordeaux Rouge 2016, France (£11.99, Virgin Wines) Put aside any thoughts that Old World Bordeaux can’t produce rich, ripe, juicy reds with a drink-me-now New World deliciousness. Utterly gorgeous, the just-crushed berry bouquet keeps on giving, with sumptuous blackcurrant fruit laced with cassis and sweet peppery spice on the polished palate. 6. The Hedonist Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, Australia (£14.49, new vintage available late January, 2019, Waitrose) This IWC gold medal-winner is an inky black beauty. Made from biodynamic grapes (processed organically and sustainably), this velvety smooth shiraz is marked by a deep bouquet of dark berry fruits, with a core of intense black fruit preserves laced with pepper and spice. It’s by Walter Clappis, one of Australia’s most talented winemakers. 7. Marks & Spencer Grillo 2017, Italy (£7, Marks & Spencer stores) What could be nicer with your spaghetti linguine than a super Sicilian that’s not only deliciously refreshing, but has a drop of Mediterranean sunshine? The grillo grape gives this wine honeyed aromas of lemon, lime and dried herbs, which gather momentum as they glide along on the smooth, creamy palate, with well-balanced acidity and a delightful, spicy note on the finish.
Taste The Difference Cotes Du Ventoux, £8.50, Sainsbury’s
Marks & Spencer Grillo, £7, M&S stores
Chapel Down Classic Brut, £22, Ocado