July 2016’s wines of the month

wotm-08-2016

Under £10

(2016) From vineyards in the Western Cape, a wine that pays homage to the northern Rhône, blending Shiraz (and Mourvèdre) with 2% of the white grape Viognier à la Côte-Rôtie. Despite its 14.5% alcohol it displays a delicate and very attractive floral, white pepper and exotic fruit lift to the darker berry fruit. Unoaked, the palate is all about abundant, buoyant freshness, with plenty of red and black fruits, a juicy acidity and a stripe of tannin and earthy grip that gives broad food-matching appeal too: summer barbecues especially. Until 23rd August its price is £5.49 - the main reason for its Wine of the Week award. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.

Under £15

(2016) What a treat to find this wine in the UK thanks to Daily Drinker: I've judged the Cyprus National Wine Awards three times now, most recently in 2016, and have visited these phenomenal vineyards at 1500 metres altitude which they claim to be Europe's highest. I have also tasted a vertical of this wine back to the 2002, proving it ages well. It's a serious, Chablis-style wine made from the native Xinisteri and gently touched by oak. Shimmering and bright, there is vanilla and oatmeal over ultra-fresh citrus and apple, a little salty mineral note too. All of that combines on the palate rather beautifully: its not flashy or outgoing, but has a winning balance of fruit and nervous energy, and a long, mineral finish.

Under £25

(2016) Under sixteen pounds is a great price for this, from an excellent Rioja vintage. If you like the traditional Gran Reserva opulence this will not disappoint, and yet it is a modern interpretation, tight and sinewy, with tension and structure replacing the oak vanilla and spice, but delicious concentration of dark, cocoa-touched fruit. Good length, a juicy cherry lift of acidity and gentle tannin structure suggests this will cellar well through 2020.

Sky’s the Limit

(2016) The 2008 blend is 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier, with 5% of the wine fermented in large oak casks and a dosage of 8g/l. It's a bright and youthful colour, streaming with tiny bubbles, and already offering biscuity and apple-pie notes that are inviting and generous. There's a sense of depth here, but of clarity too, and onto the palate it has delicious tang and juicy orange fruit brightness, the toast and biscuit, the vanilla and nuttiness all riven by shimmering acidity. A superb vintage Veuve and can be had for a good price from various retailers.

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