Best buy

The Observer Food Monthly - - END OF YEAR SPECIAL THE BEST WINES -

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.

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