February 2017’s wines of the month

Under £10

(2017) This organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily is immediately striking because it comes in a tall 'flute' bottle more commonly seen on aromatic white wines. It is dark and powerful stuff, almost syrupy and balsamic in its aromas, but a welter-weight of spicy berry and plum fruit too. The palate is bold and ripe, with plenty of tannin and textural fat in the mouth, a wine with a bit of real heft despite that sweet opulence of the fruit. Good value, especially for Daily Drinker members at £8.10.

Under £15

(2017) Year after year in my 'Wines of the Year' feature here on wine-pages, this iconic Côtes de Provence rosé picks up plaudits. The blend is mainly Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Cinsault, and it's a prime example of the pale, delicate, lacework style of Provence rosé. Abundantly fresh and zippy, there's a blush of softer peach and strawberry, but it's the shimmering core of mineral and light lemon acidity that drives this to a delicious, dry finish. Until end February 2017 this wine is available for £110 per case of 12 in-bond, for delivery in April. Duty and VAT will then be payable, bringing the total per bottle price to £13.49 - a saving of around £3.50 per bottle on the retail price once released. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.

Under £25

(2017) What a superb wine this is from Gagnard, from an organic vineyard in the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune owned by grower Caroline Lestimé. Aged for 12 to 15 months in barrel, one-third new, there is obvious nutty, creamy oak overlaying the citrus and apple, with a nice sour, cabbage nuance that adds a complex, savoury note. The palate brims with zesty fruit, but that cashew and Brazil nut character is there, and a burst of refreshing, almost tangerine or lime acidity. A delightful white Burgundy.

Sky’s the Limit

(2017) Cellared by me since around 1998 or so, the first vintage of this joint project between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild was in 1979, the blend here being 89% Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot, aged for 17 months
 in new French oak. It has a glorious fragrance still, a compote of red and black berries swirling with smoke, cedar and graphite, a finely honed touch of wild, gamy character well into the background. On the palate it is medium bodied, a pristine freshness with taut acidity and pure, fine-grained tannins, that wash of ripe but elegant fruit layered on top. This is drinking beautifully, but with no sign of any fading it surely has a decade ahead of it.

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