November 2015’s Wines of the Month

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Tom Cannavan picks four of the best, in four different price bands.

Under Six Pounds

(2015) A screwcapped dry white this could be useful over the festive season give its moderate 10.5% alcohol and crisp, but easy-going palate. The leafy Sauvignon dominates this aromatically, though it is in fact a 50/50 blend. Nicely crunchy on the palate it has a delightful core of nectarine juiciness and whilst it is not too dry in its crowd-pleasing style, it does have really good fruit and a well-pitched acid punchiness. In 162 stores and online.

Under a Tenner

(2015) If you haven't yet discovered the bountiful joys of Frappato, this example from Sicily is an excllent introduction to its cherry-fresh style. There's lipstick and a floral lift on the nose, loads of that cherry-cola fruitiness and then so much super ripe and juicy fruit on the palate. Not serious, but a little star, with bucket and a half of pleasure in every glass.

Under Twenty

(2015) No one, including FromVineyardsDirect and Château d'Yquem will confirm or deny it, but it is pretty much common knowledge that Haut-Charmes is declassified Yquem, made from the estate's younger vines. But one sniff, one taste, will tell you that this is exceptional sweet wine from one of Sauternes greatest vintages. The nose is laden with honey and glycerine, barley sugar and saffron, but such a depth of nectarine fruit and vanilla too. On the palate it is beautifully sweet with a wonderful vanilla-sugar sweetness, toast and endless layers of complexity but agility and gossamer finesse too. The finish goes on and on in a simply superb Sauternes for drinking now, or cellaring. At the price (for a half bottle) an out and out bargain.

Sky’s the Limit

(2015) For the fourth year myself and my colleagues presented our Ultimate Champagne Evening that truly was an embrrassment of riches with magnificent wines like the Krug Grand Cuvée, the Cristal 1995 and the Dom Pérignon P2-1998 just brilliant. But as each costs £100 or considerably more, I've plumped for my value for money star of the evening: with up to 40% of old reserve wines, the nose is mature and nutty, with so much toasty brioche richness and a fat, ripe nectarine fruit too, but then the palate shimmers with elegant and delightful acid balance. A great Champagne, and as cheap as £33.00 in some stockists.

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