Raúl Pérez El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Jovén Bierzo, Spain 2017 From £12.99, Noel Young; Bottle Apostle
One of a generation transforming the fringes of Spanish wine, Raúl Pérez is a master of the mencía variety, here made in an on-trend, brisk, crunchy-fruited, wine bar-friendly young red.
Zuccardi Serie A Malbec Mendoza, Argentina 2017 From £11.50, Hedley Wright; Hailsham Cellars; Cambridge Wine; Cheers
Malbec continued to rule the roost in 2018, but with a much broader stylistic and qualitative range, with Sebastián Zuccardi among those making wines combining depth, perfume and fluency.
Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé Burgundy, France NV £16.95, Corney & Barrow
Sales of crémant – made in the same way as champagne but in other regions of France – are up this year. The tinkling fine bubbles, clarity and purity of red fruit in this Burgundian example show why.
Castrum Douro Red Portugal 2016 £10, The Co-op
The retailer (The Co-op), the region (Portugal), and the producer (Quinta do Crasto) have all been on fine form in recent years, with this sumptuous, supple red all deep, dark fruits of the forest juiciness and smoothly finished plumpness.
Domaine Les Yeuses Vermentino IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2017 From £7.95, Cambridge Wine; Lea & Sandeman
Vermentino is the Mediterranean white du jour thanks to its ability to retain breezy freshness and tang in the heat. This French example is superb value with its racy burst of fishfriendly citrus, stone fruit and herb.
Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay Auckland, 2016 £14.95, The Wine Society
The anti-chardonnay backlash is surely over now. This rich-but-luminous example from Kumeu River is one of many fine examples from around the world that show why it is one of the great white grapes.