December 2016’s wines of the month

Wines of the Month December 2016

Under £10

(2017) A very handsomely packaged wine, there's a dramatic liquorice and graphite darkness to the aromas, a delightfully juicy palate, sparked by some herb and spice notes, but really it is all about savoury and lightly gamy black fruit into a long, energetic finish with excellent acidity and taut tannins.Fine quality at the price for this wine made from the native Sicilian Nerello Mascalese.

Under £15

(2016) For a long time in Puglia the wines made from the Fiano Minutolo variety were labelled as 'Fiano', and yet were intensely aromatic and very different from the Fiano of Avellino. In fact it now appears the two varieties are unrelated, and this is a good example of what's now generally known simply as 'Minutolo'. Almost Gewurtz- or Torrontés-like, it is headily aromatic. Complex, juicy and dry with fantastic grip and tang, long and packed with flavour and personality.

Under £25

(2017) From one of the iconic names of Rioja, this is ripe and rich, the tawny rim of age on the colour, the open and oxidative complexity against tobacco and cocoa and pert red berry fruitiness. The palate has a racing freshness - zero weight here, gravity-defying freshness and crunch in another terrific López de Heredia wine.  Also in Waitrose Cellar a couple of pounds cheaper.

Sky’s the Limit

(2016) As he approaches his 80th birthday Gianfranco Soldera is still fully engaged and very much in command of this small, iconic estate in the hills of Tuscany. In a vertical tasting, all of the wines were just superb: truly world class red wines of infinite complexity and beauty and huge ageing potential. This 2006 had such a wonderful perfume, a massive tobacco and ashy background to pure, ripe cherry fruit, it is just fabulously complex. There's so much of that racy, vital character against immense sweetness of sour cherry and tobacco again, the texture and tannins creamy, but the agility and elegant length just majestic.

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