(2018) One of the less expensive wines in my premium Prosecco taste-off, and one of my favourites - that was for its sheer zing and zip, with all the Prosecco hallmarks of delicate floral notes and lemon-sherbet freshness and clarity, but with such a surge of flavour and intensity of fruit on the mid-palate, sweetly ripe, yet this is distinctly Brut with 8g/l of residual sugar and a dry, really tangy finish. This is labelled as coming from the slopes of the San Pietro di Barbozza area, and the winery producers various cuvées, like this, from specific terroirs of Prosecco.
(2018) From the traditional rosé stronghold of Tavel, very close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is a deeply-coloured and quite serious pink made from Grenache and Syrah that’s so unlike the in-vogue pale Provençal style, yet is quite marvellous: crammed with cherry and ripe red berries, there’s a creaminess to the flavour and texture and the little nip of tannin and focused acidity give it structure and length too. Excellent with an Italian fennel sausage casserole perhaps? On offer at time of review for £11.75.
(2018) There's a small but growing fashion for Southern Hemisphere winemakers to blend together aromatic white grape varieties that wouldn't normally sit together in classic European regions. This is a delightful example featuring mostly Sauvignon Blanc, along with Viognier and Semillon, blended to lovely effect as the grassiness of the Sauvignon, peach of the Viognier and buttery lemon of the Semillon combine. Zingy and vibrant, it's a silky charmer with lovely balance. On offer at £8.99 at time of writing.
(2018) From the Fleurieu Peninsula of McLaren Vale, very close to the ocean and city of Adelaide, this is a very good example of the new Australian Chardonnay: no sign here of that heavy vanilla oak or blockbuster ripeness: with 12.5% alcohol this is rich, rounded and crammed with sweet fruit that takes centre stage. There is a touch of that flinty character that makes Chablis so appealing, but then the juicy, sweet orange and peach fruit.
(2018) From Basilicata, a fascinating volcanic region not far from Naples, this blend of two local aromatic varieties, Fiano and Greco, is a fabulous wine. Light gold in colour, it's light gold in flavour too: juicy golden delicious apple, nectarine and delightful floral nuances on the nose move seamlessly into pure peach and mango on the palate, ripe and so pure, before a delicate, gossamer lime acidity extends the finish.
(2018) Jordan is one of my favourite Cape wine estates, family-owned, and Gary and Kathy Jordan always making beautifully-pitched wines. This vibrant wine flits between limey aromatic punch and luscious tropical note, the palate showing excellent fruit ripeness and sweetness that fills the mouth. Lees-ageing adds a richness to this, but the core of shimmering acidity propels the wine forward deliciously and intelligently. Bring on creamy pastas and risottos.
(2018) Syrah, Carignan, and Grenache is the recipe for this wine from Roussillon, the French appellation just across the border from Spain, but this is a selection of the best small plots of vines. Fabulous depth on the nose: a shimmering pool of red and black fruit, slicked with a little smoke and vanilla, but a fascinating touch of meat-stock just in the background. This is clearly serious stuff, layered and complex in the mouth, though it explodes with a ripe blackcurrant bittersweetness. Bold, chewy and quite a mouthful of wine.
(2018) Carignan is a variety of the South of French that has mostly played a supporting role, blended with the star grapes, Syrah or Grenache. But there's a growing band of enthusiastic winemakers using some wonderful old vines to make terrific Carignans, and it is developing something of a cult folowing. This, made by a Kiwi flying winemaker, has a wonderfully aromatic, brightly-hued nose, all punchy red fruits like cherry and even raspberry, a touch of root beer, before a silky palate crammed with sweet berries, a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate adding depth and savoury notes.
(2018) The great red grape of Abruzzo, in this rendition both creamy and strawberry ripe on the nose, but also with darker black fruit notes and a hint of tobacco spice. This has delicious creaminess on the palate (It surely must see a little oak?) a touch of mint that is cool and fresh, but again it is that ripe black cherry, slicked with a soft brush of vanilla, that leads on to a very delicious finish. Another great all-rounder at a very good price indeed.
(2018) I once stood in Jordan's vineyard with owner Gary Jordan, when he reached into the foliage of a vine and gently lifted out a chameleon, so I know exactly where this brand name comes from! A classic Bordeaux blend, aged 16 months in barrels, it epitomises the Jordans' refined and classical approach, notes of graphite and dried herbs over plentiful black berry fruit are convincingly 'Old World' in style. So much savoury blackcurrant and plum packed in here, an umami sense of meatiness, and an agile combination of silky tannin and cherry acidity, making for a seriously good value Bordeaux lookalike.