Top seven wines of the past 12 months

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - NEW YEAR DRINK -

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

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