My favourite wines tasted last month, in four price brackets.
cheap and cheerful
La Font, Reserva 2011, Valencia, Spain
I have to say I never thought I would have an ‘Under a fiver’ wine in this slot again, with my basic belief that really good wines start at a couple of pounds more than this these days. However this wine from the unheralded Valencia region of Spain is on an offer at just £4.99 through until 28th September 2015, down from its headline £7.49. It’s one of those Rioja taste-alikes that other regions of Spain can sometimes offer at great prices, an equal parts blend of Monastrell and Tempranillo aged in French and American oak for a year. Creamy and open, coffeeish stuff with sweet berries and spices on the palate. Velvety tannins and quite a luxurious feel, it’s in a classic style, offering so much enjoyment for its very modest price. 87/100. £4.99 on offer, Majestic.
under a tenner
Palladino, Biferno Rosso Riserva 2009, Molise, Italy
Biferno is a tiny appellation in the centre-south of Italy, next door to Abruzzo. And the wine is a wonderful, fruity red made from Montepulciano, the mainstay of Abruzzo, Aglianico, more commonly associated with Campania and Basilicata to the south and, finally, a little of the white grape Trebbiano. Intriguingly, though it’s a 2009 vintage given long ageing in both barrel and bottle, it has also been ‘refreshed’ with a little young wine. The result is a wonderfully aromatic and seductive wine with cherry and floral lift, but a deep, plum and liquorice richness of fruit and silky texture, the tannins mellowed into a flowing molten mass into the finish. What a bargain. 88/100. £7.50, The Wine Society, see all stockists on wine-searcher
Greywacke, Wild Sauvignon 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand
Straight up I’ll confess that the cheapest price I can find for this is Divine Fine Wines at £20.50 per bottle, but what’s 50p between friends? The winemaker behind the Greywacke label is one of New Zealand’s most thoughtful and experienced practitioners, Kevin Judd. I’ve amassed a vertical collection of this wine – the Wild Sauvignon, fermented with wild yeasts and partly barrel-fermented – from 2009 to 2013 that I will be tasting and reporting on soon, for this is a Sauvignon Blanc that marches to a different beat. Fermented with wild yeasts and given a very long, slow and natural fermentation in mostly older barrels, it has intriguing nutty and honeyed nuances as well as ripe Ogen melon fruit and a little hint of Sauvignon herbaceousness. On the palate it is savoury and layered, complex flavours underpinned by a grapefruit juicy tang and length, in a powerful yet subtle interpretation of the style. 92/100. £20.50, Divine Fine Wines, and see all retailers on wine-searcher.
sky’s the limit
Exton Park, Rosé Sparkling Wine NV, Hampshire, England
As hinted at in my full producer profile from a visit to Exton Park, there’s a vintage wine being released later this month that is an absolute beauty, but meanwhile this is a fabulous English pink fizz with its lovely gentle peachy-pink colour and streaming bubbles. Made from the two Pinots, it has a little earthiness and damp forest floor leafiness. The palate has small red berries and a lovely gentle strawberry, then more keen, sweet but tart raspberry fruit, with juicy acidity and a real mineral, almost ozone/seaside freshness. The refined fruit sweetness is lovely against pure acidity into the finish. 92/100. £27.95, Butlers Wine Cellar, and see all retailers on wine-searcher.