50 most ex­cit­ing wines of 2018

Tina Gel­lie leads our panel to pick the very best of the many ex­cel­lent wines our Decanter ex­perts have most en­joyed in 2018 – all priced at £60 or less

Decanter - - NEWS -

UN­LIKE OTHER END-OF-YEAR sum­ma­tions that com­pile the high­est-scor­ing or ‘best-ever’ bot­tles, Decanter’s an­nual round-up of Most Ex­cit­ing Wines of the Year is ex­actly that: wines that re­ally made an im­pres­sion for their abil­ity to stand out from the crowd, whether that be through quirk­i­ness or clas­si­cism.

‘It was a de­li­ciously di­verse ar­ray of wines – all dif­fer­ent, all mem­o­rable,’ en­thused Sarah Jane Evans MW. Oz Clarke was equally ‘thrilled’ by the line-up. ‘Each glass forced me to realign my taste­buds and re­fo­cus my ex­pec­ta­tions. So many dif­fer­ent grape va­ri­eties, coun­tries and wine styles. This is what our Brave New World of Wine is all about!’

As in the pre­vi­ous two years, we asked Decanter World Wine Awards Re­gional Chairs, key con­trib­u­tors and Decanter staff to name the wines they most en­joyed over the past 12 months – each wine’s ‘cham­pion’ is in­cluded at the end of the tast­ing notes. Even with a price limit of £60, there are wines for ev­ery bud­get: 19 at £25 or un­der, from just £10.40.

The wines were tasted blind, with only the grape va­ri­ety and vin­tage dis­closed. They were scored out of 100 and also rated for their com­plex­ity, har­mony and wow fac­tor, with value be­ing taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. We par­tic­u­larly wanted to re­ward wines with real in­di­vid­u­al­ity and a great drink­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Di­ver­sity and in­trigue

A re­mark­able 88% of en­tries scored an av­er­age of 90 points or above (those rated 92 points or more are listed here) dis­play­ing an im­pres­sive ar­ray of styles, with 17 coun­tries and 37 dif­fer­ent grapes rep­re­sented.

Aus­tralia and Spain each have six list­ings in our top 50, with France and South Africa close be­hind, and amaz­ing en­tries from Greece, Ge­or­gia, Hun­gary, Eng­land and Canada among oth­ers. And while clas­sic va­ri­eties led the way – Chardon­nay dom­i­nant in nine wines and Pinot Noir in five – we were charmed by more un­usual grapes, in­clud­ing Gar­ganega, Gre­canico, Hárslevelú´, Kisi, Rkat­siteli, Schiop­pet­tino and Xi­no­mavro.

For Evans, wel­come sur­prises were from Greece and Ge­or­gia, plus the ‘glam­orous’ Douro sparkling ‘and the fact I put a Soave and a Pinot Gris in my top 10’. She also high­lighted the South African Al­bar­iño (‘con­vinc­ing, for a Span­ish wine lover’), Vasse Felix’s Heytes­bury Chardon­nay (re­peat­ing the suc­cess of the 2014 vin­tage in last year’s line-up) and stand-out Pinot Noirs and Gar­nachas.

Clarke’s hon­ourable men­tions went to the Sher­ries, a ‘re­mark­able’ Bierzo, ‘stun­ning’ South African Cin­sault and an ‘as­ton­ish­ing’ Cana­dian Sau­vi­gnon Blanc. ‘But I’m go­ing back to the Old World for my favourites: Vas­saltis’ bril­liant Assyr­tiko from San­torini; a Vinho Verde I’d like to drink all sum­mer, from Soal­heiro; and the crunchy red Cor­bières from Do­maine Le Champ des Mu­railles, the kind of red I long for in win­ter.’

As al­ways, ‘ex­cit­ing’ can mean dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but we hope you recog­nise some old favourites and en­joy mak­ing a few new dis­cov­er­ies among the fol­low­ing 50 wines.

What wines have ex­cited you over the past year? Let us know at [email protected]

Gus­bourne Es­tate, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Kent, Eng­land 2013 94 Oz Clarke 95 Sarah Jane Evans 95 Tina Gel­lie 92 £ 39.99-£ 50.50 Exel, Gus­bourne Es­tate, Har­vey Nichols, High­bury Vint­ners, Jer­oboams, Mu­seum Wines, No­ble Green, Tan­ners Wines, The Ox­ford Wine Co, WoodWin­ters OC Full and dry, with a telling streak of min­eral stoni­ness soft­ened by creamy hazel­nut which will in­crease with age. SJE Clean, punchy de­liv­ery, with vi­brant and thrilling fresh­ness. Finely bal­anced. The fin­ish is tight, but prom­ises well with time. TG Ripe mango, yel­low ap­ple and flo­ral notes. Zingy and fresh, with an el­e­gant fin­ish. Drink 2019-2024 Al­co­hol 12% Nom­i­nated by Stephen Skel­ton MW

Vér­tice, Pinot Noir Bruto, Douro, Por­tu­gal 2007 94 OC 92 SJE 96 TG 94 £ 52.56 Por­tu­gal Vine­yards OC Very full, leesy style, al­most oaky, but still packed with flavour. For me it is just prob­a­bly a little heavy and strong on the phe­nols. SJE Com­plex aro­mat­ics. Finely smoky and toasty, with de­vel­op­ing ma­tu­rity adding com­plex­ity to the palate. Fine back­bone of acid­ity, with del­i­cate mocha, roasted fruits. Long, con­sid­ered fin­ish. TG Clas­sic spiced hon­eyed ap­ples and toasty di­ges­tive bis­cuit aro­mas and flavours on a creamy palate – this is very pretty. Great acid­ity and a long, toasted brioche fin­ish. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 12.5% Tom Can­na­van

House of Ar­ras, Grand Vin­tage Brut, Tasmania, Aus­tralia 2007 93 OC 95 SJE 90 TG 92 £ 35.65-£ 50.40 Ac­co­lade

Wines, Bot­tle Apos­tle, Exel, High­bury Vint­ners, Lib­erty Wines, Oz Wines, The Aus­tralian Cel­lar, The Old Bridge Wine Shop OC Clas­si­cally aged, dry choco­late and a hint of co­coa pow­der mixed with hazel­nuts. Lovely if you like your fizz aged. SJE Sub­dued aro­mas, with light herbs. Bright and fresh in the mouth, but with a de­fined mush­room un­der­tone. TG Show­ing its age but still very classy. Creamy, yeasty aro­mas and soft, but­tery red ap­ples on the palate – earthy but still fresh. Lovely to en­joy now but will keep. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 12.5% Julie Shep­pard

Fer­rari, Perlé Zero, Cu­vée Zero 11, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy 2011 93 OC 95 SJE 91 TG 93 £43.70 Wine­must OC Fresh; proudly dry, al­most aus­tere, but it works be­cause the wine has a deep, nutty warmth and good lean, but chewy ap­ple fruit. SJE Plenty of fizz re­tained in glass. Bright smoky aroma, lightly toasty. The palate ar­rives with a buzz of sparkles; vivid and racy. Creamy rich­ness, but al­ways fresh. An al­most metal­lic, salty sign-off. TG Lovely fine mousse and a firm, taut, bonedry palate of tart green ap­ples, a herbal anise edge and a steely tang. The acid­ity is pierc­ing – this will age well. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 12.5% Anne Kre­biehl MW

Bro­ken­wood, In­digo Vine­yard Chardon­nay, Beech­worth, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia 2016 95 OC 95 SJE 95 TG 95 £ 35 Exel OC Clas­sic, struck­match Chardon­nay, but this has enough fruit char­ac­ter to match the smoke and cre­ate a de­light­ful nutty, bal­anced style. SJE Struck-match is the key aroma here. The lime and pomelo palate de­vel­ops into a smoky rich­ness, and fin­ishes with a punch of fresh­ness. Im­pres­sive. TG Full-frontal aro­mas, in that lean Aus­tralian Chardon­nay style. Toasty, nutty oak joins punchy flavours of nougat, spiced ap­ples and sharp grape­fruit. Drink 2018-2024 Alc 12.5% Roger Jones

DeMor­gen­zon, Re­serve Chenin Blanc, Stel­len­bosch, South Africa 2017 95 OC 95 SJE 95 TG 95 £ 28.50-£ 35 Dunells, Fron­tier Fine Wines, Har­vey Nichols, Mar­tinez Wines, Mr Wheeler Wines, Noel Young, Seck­ford Agen­cies, Slurp OC Rich style: oaky, full. Nuts, honey­suckle and syrup. It’s de­cent now, but will be even more ex­cit­ing in a few years. SJE Aro­mas of hon­eyed ap­ples. Palate is ripe and but­tery with a lovely edge of lemon zest, plus nut­meg and cin­na­mon spice. TG Full-bod­ied enough to carry its al­co­hol and oak. Ap­ple crum­ble, lemon and stone fruit on the nose and palate. Char­ac­ter­ful. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14.5% Simon Field MW

Vas­saltis, Assyr­tiko, San­torini, Aegean Is­lands, Greece 2016 95 OC 96 SJE 95 TG 94 £ 25-£ 31.99 Al­liance, Rober­son Wine, The Ox­ford Wine Co, Wim­ble­don Wine Cel­lar OC Se­ri­ous, at­ten­tion­seek­ing wine. Sun- and wind-blasted fruit; salty, nutty and rocky in a fu­ri­ous em­brace. SJE Aro­mat­i­cally more Ries­ling than Assyr­tiko, with its creamy smoky notes. Glo­ri­ously ex­plo­sive palate, with ripe lemons, salti­ness and full-bod­ied stone fruit and green­gages. TG Wow! Ex­pres­sive, al­most smoky petrol nose leads to a lean, savoury palate with com­plex ox­ida­tive notes. A diva of a wine. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13.5% Jim Budd

Ata Rangi, Lis­more Pinot Gris, Mart­in­bor­ough, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2017 94 OC 94 SJE 94 TG 94 £ 22.50-£ 30 Car­ruthers & Kent, High­bury Vint­ners, Lib­erty Wines, Noel Young, The New Zealand Cel­lar, Vinvm OC Honey­suckle notes; full and ripe, with pear flesh, a little warm dust and good, savoury, nutty creami­ness. SJE Tempt­ing aro­mas: or­ange peel, kumquats, honey. The palate of­fers the same in­ten­sity, de­vel­op­ing a silky rich­ness. Smooth fin­ish. TG Musky apri­cot nose leads to a full, soft jas­mine and peach palate. The racy acid­ity and nutty length makes this a lovely food wine. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 13.5% Roger Jones

Bos­man, Fides Gre­nache Blanc, Welling­ton, South Africa 2016 94 OC 96 SJE 94 TG 92 £ 17.99-£ 19.99 Bos­man Wines, Hand­ford Wines, Har­vey Nichols OC Fas­ci­nat­ing am­ber wine; rich, chewy, with the scent and bit­ter­ness of tamarind and or­ange pith, and a dusty roast al­mond smok­i­ness. SJE Bur­nished colour. Ter­tiary palate of roasted and toasted flavours, with a tinge of bit­ter or­ange zest. Long, In­tense fin­ish. TG Clearly an or­ange wine on the nose: toasted nuts, spice and burnt or­ange peel. Lean, firm and dry­ing on the palate. An in­di­vid­ual style that will di­vide opin­ion. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14% Sarah Jane Evans MW

Hay­wire, Free Form Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, Okana­gan Val­ley, Bri­tish Co­lum­bia, Canada 2016 94 OC 96 SJE 92 TG 93 £ 38.60-£44 Le Vig­no­ble, Red Squir­rel OC A blast of squirted lemon juice, grape­fruit pith and green­gage skin. Flesh, skin and pith; ebul­lient palate. SJE Charm­ing, creamy, el­der­flower flo­ral­ity. Starts light and fresh, then shows flower meadow com­plex­ity. Plenty of en­ergy. TG Cloudy in the glass but not on the nose: bright, fresh aro­mas. Vi­brant palate has mouth­wa­ter­ing acid­ity, with man­darin, mango and hay. Un­like any Sau­vi­gnon Blanc you’ve tried be­fore. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13% Tina Gel­lie & Joanna Simon

Vasse Felix, Heytes­bury Chardon­nay, Mar­garet River, Western Aus­tralia 2016 94 OC 93 SJE 96 TG 94 £45-£ 51.40 Christo­pher Piper, Fells, No­ble Green, The Aus­tralian Cel­lar OC Gen­tle, mel­low, nutty and round with a hint of struck match. SJE Beau­ti­fully con­trolled Chardon­nay. The palate is ripe but care­fully over­laid with fine oak, bright acid­ity. Glo­ri­ously long, juicy fin­ish. Notes of lime and pineap­ple high­light. TG A se­ri­ous, Bur­gun­dian-style Chardon­nay with toasty, nutty oak that’s bal­anced by lemon acid­ity and breezy, ripe yel­low ap­ples. Long and com­plex; will age well. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 13% Michael Hill Smith MW

Er­razuriz, Las Pizarras Chardon­nay, Aconcagua Costa, Chile 2015 93 OC 93 SJE 92 TG 94 £ 55 At­las Fine Wine, Farr Vint­ners, Goed­huis & Co, Z&B Vint­ners OC Pale, green, salty fresh with a de­light­ful yel­low peach skin and just a little chewi­ness. SJE Full, broad and burst­ing with flavour. A forth­right style, with de­vel­op­ing ter­tiary char­ac­ters. Del­i­cate lift of fresh­ness at the end. TG Evolv­ing, savoury style, boast­ing flinty min­er­al­ity and bold, pure ap­ple flavours. Ex­cel­lent, fresh acid­ity with gen­tle and well-bal­anced oak. I’d hap­pily have an­other glass. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13% Alis­tair Cooper MW

Famille Per­rin, Château de Beau­cas­tel, Châteauneuf-duPape, Rhône, France 2016 93 OC 94 SJE 93 TG 92 £48 Jer­oboams, Lib­erty Wines, Mon­tra­chet Fine Wine Mer­chants, Vinvm OC De­li­cious, soft, ripe. Not that aro­matic or fruity, but with a warm nutty core and a streak of min­eral fresh­ness. SJE Op­u­lent aro­mat­ics of sweet spice, dried herbs, wood smoke. Equally plush mouth, lifted by bright acid­ity, and wrapped in a coat of cream and spices. TG Weighty, peachy and rounded palate – very Rhône-like, full of nutty, ripe, apri­cot fruit and spicy oak. Plush, sup­ple and creamy with a long, oily fin­ish. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14% Matt Walls

Gini, Con­trada Sal­varenza Soave Clas­sico, Veneto, Italy 2014 93 OC 92 SJE 95 TG 92 £ 23.40 Jus­terini & Brooks OC Rea­son­ably bright yel­low ap­ple and golden gage plum fruit, now los­ing a little fresh­ness but gain­ing at­trac­tive soft ma­tu­rity. SJE Al­lur­ingly ap­ple on the nose, with notes of honey and nut­meg. Silky en­try, lux­u­ri­ous de­vel­op­ment. Notes of pink grape­fruit, hon­eyed lemons – a re­minder that Gar­ganega is well worth re­vis­it­ing. TG Hon­eyed, ripe and friendly nose leads to a creamy palate of ap­ple and peach, with a spicy edge and just enough acid­ity. Nice for its age but one to drink now. Drink 2019-2020 Alc 13% Michael Gar­ner

Kikelet, Kas­sai Sin­gle-Vine­yard Hárslevelu,ʺ Tokaj, Hun­gary 2015 93 OC 94 SJE 91 TG 94 £ 18 Wan­der­lust OC Round and soft. Dusted lightly with bak­ing spices and in­fused with the gen­tle cit­rus rich­ness of boiled lemons soft­ened with a dash of hazel­nut cream. SJE Ripe, rich, suc­cu­lent wine. All bruised ap­ple and cus­tard; a fine blend of ripeness with re­fresh­ing acid­ity. TG Com­plex min­eral, spiced yel­low ap­ple, quince and rich honey char­ac­ters. El­e­gant, savoury and beau­ti­fully made: lemon fresh­ness and a toasty length. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 12% Caroline Gilby MW

Kusuda, Ries­ling, Mart­in­bor­ough, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2015 93 OC 93 SJE 92 TG 94 £ 35-£ 38.99 Berry Bros & Rudd, Hand­ford Wines, The New Zealand Cel­lar OC Cit­rus, lime zest, al­most petrol but with very good, soft tex­ture, a touch of leather and long, lin­ger­ing, lime fresh­ness. SJE De­vel­op­ing the lovely signs of Ries­ling age on the nose. By con­trast, the palate re­mains youth­ful. Punchy acid­ity, stony im­pres­sion and a long, lean fin­ish. TG Gor­geous, waxy lime and slatey min­eral aro­mas. Show­ing some petrolly signs of age, but still vi­brant, pure and youth­ful. Su­per vi­tal­ity, fresh­ness and length. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 12.5% Elin McCoy

New­ton Johnson, Al­bar­iño, Up­per Hemel-en-Aarde Val­ley, Walker Bay, South Africa 2015 93 OC 91 SJE 95 TG 94 £ 17.95-£ 19.99 Drey­fus Ashby, Hand­ford Wines OC Good, full, round. Lees-aged and nutty with ripe fruit and a hint of co­coa. Quite rich. SJE Sub­dued on the nose. The palate is mem­o­rable, with a fine blend suggest­ing sea, stones and sun­shine. The ex­tra age brings fine com­plex­ity, and a bright, fresh end­ing. TG Nutty, yeasty and savoury nose. Flavours of cooked yel­low fruit, bright acid­ity and a saline touch. Com­plex, rounded mouth­feel with a lovely creamy length. Very tasty. Drink 2019-2021 Alc 13.5% Fiona McDon­ald

Orgo, Rkat­siteli, Kakheti, Ge­or­gia 2016 93 OC 95 SJE 92 TG 92 £ 22-£ 23.40 Clark Foys­ter

Wines, He­donism, High­bury Vint­ners, Rober­son Wine OC Bit­ter stone notes; dry and chewy, with tamarind, peach skin and ap­ple pips. SJE Sump­tu­ous auburn colour. Sub­tle aro­mas of roasted fruits and nuts. The palate is driven by tex­ture rather than fruit, with a slight rasp of tan­nin. Notes of mint and eu­ca­lyp­tus. TG Am­ber hue. Mel­low, roasted pear and fresh green ap­ple aro­mas. More nutty and woody on the tex­tured, grippy palate. Con­tem­pla­tive and food-friendly, but not for ev­ery­one. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13% An­drew Jef­ford

Santa Maria La Nave, Mille­sumare Bianco, Si­cily, Italy 2016 93 OC 93 SJE 92 TG 93 £ 39.99 Hall­gar­ten OC Haughty, soli­tary kind of flavours – with an in­trigu­ing scent of barely ripe lemon and moist blos­som rubbed on pale linen. Un­usual, fas­ci­nat­ing. SJE A touch re­duced on the nose. A smoky edge takes down the overt fruit. Stony fresh­ness. In­di­vid­ual, with a slow burn to de­velop its full flavour. An el­e­gant fin­ish. TG Def­i­nitely more min­eral and smoky than fruity, with lots of oys­ter shell notes. Very ap­peal­ing, fresh and food-friendly with ex­cel­lent acid bal­ance. Drink 2019-2021 Alc 13% Julie Shep­pard

Soal­heiro, Primeiras Vin­has Al­var­inho, Vinho Verde, Monção e Mel­gaço, Por­tu­gal 2017 93 OC 96 SJE 93 TG 91 £ 27 High­bury Vint­ners, Raymond Reynolds, The Good Wine Shop OC Ir­re­sistibly aro­matic; curls of lemon zest twined with pear and white peach fruit. Ut­terly drink­able. SJE Rose petals and vi­o­let aro­mas. Typ­i­cally Al­bar­iño with a bal­ance of grape­fruit and creamy rich­ness. Long, in­tense fin­ish. Bring on the ra­zor clams! TG Clas­sic Al­bar­iño: sea spray plus trop­i­cal and ex­otic fruit salad notes. Still young, but a great food wine. Drink 2019-2021 Alc 13% Richard Mayson

Weingut Bründl­mayer, Ter­rassen Grüner Velt­liner, Kamp­tal, Niederöster­re­ich, Aus­tria 2016 93 OC 91 SJE 94 TG 92 £ 21.75 Berry Bros & Rudd, Fields Mor­ris & Verdin OC Quite lean, show­ing lemon and ap­ple peel fruit, with a fresh flash of green leaf. SJE Slight hint of white pep­per on the nose. From this sub­dued be­gin­ning blos­soms a bold and gen­er­ous wine: golden peaches, ripe lemons, cream and a del­i­cate tex­ture. Im­pres­sive Grüner. TG Clas­sic, stone fruit and white pep­per on a weighty, tex­tured palate. Fresh lemon acid­ity. Well made and drink­ing nicely. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 12.5% Jane An­son

Arnot-Roberts, Trout Gulch Vine­yard Chardon­nay, Santa Cruz Moun­tains, Cal­i­for­nia, US 2016 92 OC 93 SJE 92 TG 91 £49 Rober­son Wine OC Full, rich, golden style. A big, salty, nutty, min­eral wine, streaked with lemon zest. Still young and needs two to three years to de­velop. SJE Roasted peaches on the nose; brisk and punchy in the mouth. The palate de­vel­ops richly and is bal­anced by a note of bit­ter­ness, Long, per­sis­tent fin­ish. TG Very overt and con­cen­trated stone fruit – al­most ex­tracted. Youth­ful, tight palate with sharp acid­ity. This needs time. Drink 2020-2023 Alc 13% Ro­nan Say­burn MS

Do­maine Wil­liam Fèvre, 1er Cru Mon­tée de Ton­nerre, Ch­ablis, Bur­gundy, France 2016 92 OC 92 SJE 92 TG 92 £43.99 Al­bany Vint­ners, Berry Bros & Rudd, BI, Clar­ion, Davy’s, Pri­vate Cel­lar, The Wine So­ci­ety OC Pale, lean and very clear-eyed. Bone-dry with lean lemon fruit, a hint of blos­som and a flash of struck match. SJE Singing pu­rity – a Chardon­nay that’s all about fresh­ness. Some trop­i­cal fruit on the nose and palate. Plenty of youth­ful acid­ity to give en­ergy to the style. TG Bright, light and fresh in a Ch­ablis style. Nutty creami­ness and tart green ap­ple with brisk lemon acid­ity. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 13% Rosemary Ge­orge MW

Sandhi, Rita’s Crown Chardon­nay, Santa Rita Hills, Cal­i­for­nia, US 2014 92 OC 94 SJE 91 TG 91 £45 Rober­son Wine OC Round, soft and mel­low with a charm­ing gen­tle ma­tu­rity of cream and roasted nuts, fresh­ened up with lemon zest acid­ity. SJE Lean, clean wine. Smoky re­duc­tive notes lead to a clean, lin­ear palate. Fruit is sub­dued; the palate is de­vel­op­ing notes of stony pu­rity. El­e­gant and re­fined. TG Quite smoky and re­duced on the nose. The palate is grippy, lean and tight with savoury min­eral notes and hints of con­fit peach. A very New World Chardon­nay. Drink 2019-2021 Alc 13% Chris Mercer

Vita Vinea, Kisi Am­ber Dry, Kakheti, Ge­or­gia 2016 92 OC 94 SJE 90 TG 92 £ 22 Clark Foys­ter, Od­dbins OC Pretty full style; dusty, clay-scented, with a little pale or­ange and apri­cot fruit, dried out but there, to soften the bit­ter bite. SJE Bril­liant gold with yel­low lights. Del­i­cately smoky aro­mat­ics. A rasp of tan­nin gives a dry­ing note. The fresh­ness lifts the weight of tan­nin, and of­fers light or­ange notes. Long spicy fin­ish. TG Bur­nished gold colour. Aro­mas and flavours of smoky toasted nuts and tart green­gages on a grippy palate with dusty tan­nins and savoury, fresh acid­ity. In­trigu­ing. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13% Anthony Rose

Weingut Knewitz, Ries­ling Trocken, Rhein­hessen, Ger­many 2017 92 OC 92 SJE 92 TG 92 £ 10.40 Howard Ri­p­ley OC Full, di­rect or­ange zest and soft ap­ple core, with a little leather and min­eral stones. SJE Lively aro­mat­ics with honey and fen­nel. Su­per-clean and vivid Ries­ling. Del­i­cate in weight, but punchy and bold nev­er­the­less. It would be cradlesnatch­ing to drink now. TG The aro­mas seem quite sim­ple – peaches, marsh­mal­lows and honey­suckle – but the palate is more aus­tere: tight and fresh with cit­rus blos­som, stone fruit and ap­ple. Youth­ful, lively acid­ity. Drink 2020-2024 Alc 12.5% Anne Kre­biehl MW

Bode­gas Roda, Roda I Reserva, Rioja, Spain 2011 95 OC 95 SJE 95 TG 95 £40.50-£ 56 Cru, Exel, Farr Vint­ners, He­donism, Le Vig­no­ble, Ma­jes­tic, Mentzen­dorff OC Good: full, ripe and serenely bal­anced, the tan­nin nips just enough to en­liven the rich straw­berry and cran­berry fruit, with hints of spicy scent. SJE Text­book: fleshy Tem­pranillo blend, with Gra­ciano en­sur­ing the fresh­ness. Aged in oak, now reach­ing a fine equi­lib­rium with a del­i­cate grain of tan­nin. TG Clas­sic Rioja: co­conut and vanilla oak spice deftly bal­ances savoury, leath­ery red berry fruit. Drink­ing well now but will age. Drink 2019-2031 Alc 14.5% Joanna Simon

Co­mando G, Uvas Fe­lices, El Hom­bre Bala, Madrid, Spain 2015 95 OC 95 SJE 96 TG 95 £ 21.59-£ 23.49 Amps, D Byrne & Co, High­bury Vint­ners, Hoults, Kwoff, Noel Young, OC Lovely round and mel­low style. Ripe red fruit with sul­try cake and kitchen spice, plus a nip of ripe tan­nin and ap­ple pip acid. SJE Just right! Silky, gen­er­ous Gar­nacha lifted by a note of the zippy, blue­berry fruit of Carig­nan. Com­plex, vi­brant and in­di­vid­ual. TG De­li­cious easy­drink­ing red made with a light touch. Juicy and ripe stewed red berries and sweet spices on a sup­ple palate en­livened by fresh, crunchy acid­ity. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 14.5% James But­ton

Do­maine Le Champ des Mu­railles, Grande Cu­vée, Cor­bièresBoutenac, Langue­doc, France 2016 95 OC 96 SJE 95 TG 95 £ 19.95 Davy’s OC Deep, full, dense and rich, with ex­cel­lent cran­berry, lo­gan­berry and red plum, plus a dash of bit­ter choco­late and herbs. SJE Dark choco­late and red fruits are of­ten a good com­bi­na­tion – and so it proves here. The tex­tured tan­nins add real in­ter­est. TG Bold, rich and choco­latey palate show­ing creamy, jammy black fruits and herbal hints of rosemary. Youth­ful and not overly com­plex but very tasty. Drink 2019-2025 Alc 14.5% James Lawther MW

Van Log­geren­berg, Geron­imo, Stel­len­bosch, South Africa 2016 95 OC 95 SJE 93 TG 96 £ 25-£ 26 De­fine Food & Wine, Hand­ford, The So­lent Cel­lar, Vin Cognito OC Full style, with ma­ture, rich red fruit. Scented straw­berry and red­cur­rant notes with a flut­ter of ic­ing su­gar and a sug­ges­tion of herbs and lemon zest. SJE Lovely to have Cin­sault in this line-up! Great to see it re­stored to the Pan­theon of grape va­ri­eties. But this is a bit too herba­ceous for a top score. TG This tastes like the Cape: fyn­bos herbs and crunchy, vi­tal red and blue berries, made in a pure, hands-off style. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13% Roger Jones

David Franz, Gre­nache Noir, Barossa Val­ley, South Aus­tralia 2016 94 OC 94 SJE 93 TG 94 £ 25 The Knot­ted Vine OC Light but very tasty. Scented with rosemary and mint, and with de­light­fully syrupy straw­berry and red plum fruit on the palate. SJE Su­per-pale, or­ange tinted, straw­berry hints, and brightly fresh. Very nicely bal­anced: the fruit is ripe but not over­bear­ingly sweet, and there’s a savoury note at the core. TG Light, tight and savoury red berry fruit with fresh herbs and earthy notes. Quite high-toned on the palate with firm acid­ity. Long and lean. Drink 2019-2021 Alc 13.5% Simon Wright

Raúl Pérez, Ul­treia, Bierzo, Spain 2015 94 OC 95 SJE 93 TG 93 £ 39 Fine & Rare OC Good and quirky red. Soft straw­berry and rasp­berry fruit, shot through with sap, some crunchy leafi­ness and grippy tan­nin. SJE Light in colour and on palate, with ed­dy­ing flavours of red­cur­rants and berries, wrapped in a rasp of tan­nin. Loosely knit, with­out the usual hard hit of acid­ity, and with a long fin­ish. TG Ap­peal­ingly juicy and friendly red­cur­rant and rasp­berry fruit on the nose and palate. A lovely open style, with fine weight and a nice grip of dusty tan­nins. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13.5% Justin Howard-Sneyd MW

Blank Can­vas, Pinot Noir, Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand 2015 93 OC 92 SJE 94 TG 94 £ 27.99 High­bury Vint­ners, Lib­erty Wines, Noel Young, Rude Wines, Vinvm OC Full and ripe style. The fruit is a little skins-dom­i­nant and squeezed. Chewy oak. SJE The very model of a mod­ern Pinot: ethe­real bal­ance on the nose be­tween prom­ise of red fruits and fine oak. The palate has a de­light­fully juicy im­pres­sion, toned down by del­i­cate spice. TG Dense bram­ble fruit, green ap­ple acid­ity and gen­tle spice. Un­usu­ally dark and con­cen­trated for a Pinot. Dusty tan­nins and some nice fresh­enss to fin­ish. Mod­ern but good. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13% Bob Camp­bell MW

Cris­tom, Mt Jef­fer­son Cu­vée Pinot Noir, Wil­lamette Val­ley, Ore­gon, US 2015 93 OC 92 SJE 91 TG 94 £ 31.10 Stan­nary St Wine Co OC Ripe and soft, with even a hint of raisin, but this works well, as the rich­ness is nicely bal­anced and the oak is mel­low. SJE Red­cur­rants and wood smoke are the pro­file of this Pinot, giv­ing a brisk edge to the fin­ish. Long and sup­ple sign-off. TG Vi­brant but soft cherry and cran­berry fruit with gen­tle oak spice and savoury, dusty tan­nins. Mod­ern and quite com­plex, with some bal­samic tones. A unique wine. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 13.5% John Stimp­fig

Fred­er­ick Steven­son, Dry Red, Barossa Val­ley, South Aus­tralia 2019 93 OC 95 SJE 90 TG 92 £ 24 Bot­tle Apos­tle, Clap­ton Craft, The Aus­tralian Cel­lar OC Lovely, bright and lively rasp­berry and ripe ap­ple, with lemon zest and a flicker of herbs. Good acid­ity. SJE Aro­mat­ics are jam-packed with ripe fruits, plum con­serve, fruit jel­lies. The palate is less ex­pres­sive, but has a fine tex­ture of tan­nin to con­trast with the sweet fruit. Long! TG Full-on pri­mary fruit aro­mas of sum­mer pud­ding and fruit pastilles. A touch jammy, but crunchy acid­ity re­freshes. Re­ally quaf­fa­ble. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13% Tina Gel­lie

Matías Ric­citelli, The Party, Uco Val­ley, Men­doza, Ar­gentina 2017 93 OC 93 SJE 93 TG 93 £ 14 Marks & Spencer OC Big and toasted; rich and ripe. Deep, sweet cherry and plum fruit with some scent. Fat and toasty but good. SJE Aro­mat­i­cally it’s roasted Vic­to­ria plums in vanilla syrup. The palate over­flows with flavour too, alive with juicy Mal­bec plump­ness and a sea­son­ing of spice. TG De­li­ciously vi­brant and juicy black fruit pastille notes, with vanilla su­gar. Bram­bly and plush with a good grip of tan­nins. A very mor­eish Mal­bec. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 14% Andy Howard MW

Thymiopou­los Vine­yards, Je­unes Vignes de Xi­no­mavro, Naoussa, Mace­do­nia, Greece 2016 93 OC 93 SJE 93 TG 92 £ 10.95-£ 17 Booths, Rober­son Wine, The Wine So­ci­ety, Theatre of Wine OC De­light­ful red, burst­ing with black­berry and stewed black plum fruit, with high plum­skin acid. Lively and ap­petis­ing. SJE Pale in colour, but over­flow­ing with flavour. Cherries, fresh red berries, some choco­late and sweet spice. Very ap­peal­ing. TG Very ripe, dark berries on an inky, chewy, tan­nic palate. Deep and rich but with a seam of re­fresh­ing acid­ity to bal­ance. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13% Amy Wis­locki

Viñe­dos de Al­co­huaz, To­coco Syrah, Elqui Val­ley, Chile 2015 93 OC 91 SJE 94 TG 92 £ 29.95 Wine Di­rect OC Very pleas­ant style. Quite soft, with mild red­cur­rant acid, good rasp­berry fruit and a ve­neer of toast. SJE Flo­ral, aro­matic, sump­tu­ous Syrah; noth­ing too savoury here. In­stead the ex­otic charm of the va­ri­ety shines through. The rich­ness is lifted by the line of acid­ity. Long and lively fin­ish. TG Breezy pri­mary red fruit, min­eral hints and soft, grassy, flo­ral notes. Not overly com­plex but well made, with fresh acid­ity and fine length. Drink 2019-2024 Alc 13.5% Alis­tair Cooper MW

Burn Cot­tage, Pinot Noir, Cen­tral Otago, New Zealand 2015 92 OC 95 SJE 90 TG 91 £49.99-£ 52 Car­ruthers & Kent, He­donism, High­bury Vint­ners, Lib­erty Wines, The New Zealand Cel­lar, The Wine Re­serve, Vinvm OC De­light­ful flo­ral nose, tem­pered by sappy green notes. Beau­ti­fully bal­anced rose­hip and cherry fruit. SJE Fine, fresh herb edge to the red fruited aro­mas. Palate is full of gen­er­ous juice, with a bright lively fin­ish. TG A vi­brant New World Pinot Noir with vi­o­let lift, sweet and ripe cherry and rasp­berry fruit, and bright acid­ity to bal­ance. Juicy, for­ward and rich. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14% Richard Mayson

Cara Sur, Tinto, Valle de Calin­gasta, San Juan, Ar­gentina 2017 92 OC 94 SJE 92 TG 90 £ 28.50 Christo­pher Piper, Field & Fawcett, Grapevine Rock­liffe Hall, The Wine Co OC Ripe, juicy and sweet, with sour rasp­berry and raw cherry notes. High acid but joy­ful, ap­petis­ing red fruit too. SJE Plump, with aro­mas of baked fruits, crushed rasp­ber­ries and mocha. A vi­brant jab of acid­ity leads into flavours of or­ange peel and lemon curd. Tan­nins add savoury com­plex­ity. TG Stewed red and black fruit with soft tan­nins, but quite firm acid­ity, giv­ing a sweet-and-sour char­ac­ter. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13.5% Paz Levin­son

Do­maine l’Aiguelière, Côte Rousse, Mont­pey­roux, Langue­doc, France 2015 92 OC 93 SJE 91 TG 92 £ 19.95 Ten-Acre Wines OC Ripe and deep, with black­berry and black plum fruit. Good acid­ity, but slightly rasp­ing tan­nin that still needs a bit of bot­tle age. SJE Burst­ing with baked fruits, and lay­ered with toasty oak. This is a burly, warm­hearted crea­ture. Needs a few years to calm down fur­ther. TG Savoury, op­u­lent nose full of ripe damsons and black berries, lead­ing to a struc­tured, weighty palate. The oak is ev­i­dent but classy and needs time to in­te­grate. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14% Tom Can­na­van

Do­maine Stéphane Ogier, Réserve, CôteRôtie, Rhône, France 2012 92 OC 92 SJE 90 TG 93 £ 55 Mon­tra­chet Fine Wine OC Ripe, rich and quite soft, with some black cherry and clean leather notes, as well as an at­trac­tive touch of slate. SJE Rich and fleshy Syrah, still charm­ingly aro­matic. The palate is be­gin­ning to slow down but re­tains fine tex­ture and fresh­ness. TG Lifted vi­o­let and mul­berry fruit – very pretty. Great vi­brancy for its age thanks to zesty acid­ity. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 13% Simon Field MW

Hick­in­botham Claren­don Vine­yard, True­man Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, McLaren Vale, South Aus­tralia 2016 92 OC 92 SJE 92 TG 91 £52.60 Stan­nary St Wine Co OC Very un­usual mix of marzi­pan, dry choco­late and black­cur­rant. It is quite tan­nic, but does have some vi­o­let scent and sap to lift it. SJE Text­book aro­mas: black­cur­rant with a hint of green pep­per. This is a mod­ern and glossy ap­proach to Cab. Fleshy black­cur­rants and a firm un­der­tone of cedar. TG Quite a jammy Cab, but still has that cas­sis and green pep­per note, plus soft vanilla oak and grippy tan­nins. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14% Huon Hooke

Le Due Terre, Sacrisassi Rosso, Colli Ori­en­tali, Fri­uli-Venezia Gi­u­lia, Italy 2015 92 OC 94 SJE 91 TG 91 £ 33 Stan­nary St Wine Co OC Big and burly, but with good black cherry fruit, lively cran­berry acid and a savoury, min­eral streak that ends with a hint of cherry blos­som scent. SJE Brisk, firm and just a little aus­tere, with all that clas­sic, crisp crunch­i­ness. Dark plum and black cherry fruit dom­i­nates on the el­e­gant palate. TG Ap­peal­ingly rus­tic, high-toned red with tart, savoury cran­berry and rose­hip flavours. Firm stewed tea tan­nins and crunchy acid­ity. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 14% Richard Bau­dains

Sau­r­wein, Nom Pinot Noir, Western Cape, South Africa 2016 92 OC 93 SJE 92 TG 90 £40-£43 Hand­ford, Har­vey Nichols, Swig OC Pale, del­i­cate and scented with cool earth and soft rose­hip. Mel­low straw­berry fruit and a dust­ing of fresh sum­mer earth. SJE Very pale Pinot but not in the least pale in flavour. Burst­ing with cherry juice, en­riched with co­coa and fines herbs. Long, juicy fin­ish. A very pop­u­lar style. TG Gen­tle pome­gran­ate aro­mas. Quite lean and tart cran­berry and sour cherry fruit on the palate, with high acid­ity and a leafy edge. Firm, sub­tle and savoury. Drink 2019-2022 Alc 13.5% Chris Mercer

Deme­ter Zoltán, Eszter Tokaji, Tokaj, Hun­gary 2013 96 OC 95 SJE 98 TG 94 £48-£49.95 Grape­smith, Sav­age Se­lec­tion, Un­corked OC Full and soft, with notes of pineap­ple, wax and lemon pith. Rich and syrupy but with lemon zest and pith bite. Very good. SJE Golden colour, glo­ri­ously scented and sump­tu­ously fruity, with cling peach aro­mas. Palate is bright and equally peachy with lemons, apri­cots, limes, but­ter­scotch, brown su­gar and mar­malade. Text­book ex­am­ple. TG Lus­cious mango, pineap­ple and bar­ley su­gar sweet­ness. Lifted, juicy and unc­tu­ous, bal­anced by bright lemon curd acid­ity. Very long. Drink 2019-2027 Alc 9.5% Caroline Gilby MW

Bode­gas Calle­juela, Amon­til­lado, Jerez, Spain NV 96 OC 96 SJE 96 TG 95 £ 15.83-£ 28 De­can­talo, Iberian Drinks OC Full, rich and won­der­fully deep, with notes of Brazil nuts, caramel and honey, plus al­mond skin bit­ter­ness and prob­ing acid­ity. Ex­cel­lent. SJE In­tensely roasted aro­mas; ma­hogany, toast, vanilla. Palate is ex­cep­tion­aly long and vivid, with bright punchy fresh­ness, mem­o­rably so. TG Beau­ti­fully com­plex notes of peanut brit­tle and Scot­tish tablet, with a pierc­ing seam of bal­anc­ing acid­ity and a lin­ger­ing saline fin­ish. De­li­cious! Drink 2019-2025 Alc 18% Matt Walls

Lus­tau, Al­macenista Palo Cor­tado, Jerez, Spain NV 96 OC 96 SJE 96 TG 95 £ 23.70-£ 28 Exel, High­bury Vint­ners, No­ble Green, WoodWin­ters OC Deep am­ber, with a marvel­lous mix of nuts. Rich but dry, with peach skins and pierc­ing acid lift. Ex­cel­lent. SJE Glo­ri­ously roasted, hon­eyed aro­mat­ics to match the sump­tu­ously golden, glint­ing colour of the wine. Long, savoury palate, full of or­ange mar­malade and with a salty savoury edge. TG Great con­cen­tra­tion and com­plex­ity of wal­nut skins, tof­fee ap­ples, salted caramel and fur­ni­ture pol­ish. Savoury, saline length and bril­liant or­ange peel fresh­ness. Drink 2019-2025 Alc 21% Peter Richards MW

Cock­burn’s, Bi­cen­te­nary Vin­tage Port, Douro, Por­tu­gal 2015 94 OC 94 SJE 94 TG 94 £60 Fare­ham Wine Cel­lar, Farr Vint­ners, He­donism, Jus­terini & Brooks, Waitrose OC Deep and rich; dense and ripe. Tan­nic and pow­er­ful – but not that scented. SJE Youth­ful blast of Port: jostling with tan­nins, young fruits, spices and warm al­co­hol. Plenty to en­joy! TG A pow­er­ful and im­pos­ing Port with lots of ripe bram­ble fruit, liquorice tones and sweet spice. Young, po­tent and struc­tured. Drink 2019-2027 Alc 20% Richard Mayson

Equipo Nava­zos, La Bota 71 Man­zanilla, Jerez, Spain NV 93 OC 94 SJE 94 TG 92 £ 25-£ 28.49 Al­liance, Dunell’s, High­bury Vint­ners, Vir­gin Wines OC A de­light­ful bal­anc­ing act be­tween the sweet-sour yeast and dry but rich notes of nut husk and ap­ple core. Very good style. SJE Typ­i­cally nutty pu­rity – where else but Sherry? Very in­tense palate. Silk en­try, notes of or­ange, eu­ca­lyp­tus, salted al­monds. Dry, punchy palate; long fin­ish, un­ex­pect­edly soft and round. TG Nutty, yeasty and fresh aro­mas lead to a bone-dry palate of salted al­monds and or­ange blos­som. Zesty, bright and lin­ear. Drink 2019-2023 Alc 15% Natalie Earl

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.