February 2014 – La Moneda, Amalaya, Guigal, Yabby Lake

under a fiver

La Moneda, Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Chile
Given the soaraway success of New Zealand’s punchy take on Sauvignon Blanc, there’s a lot lookalike stuff around from Chile, South Africa and all points north, east, south and west, some of it better than others. At only a fiver, this has crunchy pea-shoots and aromatic, tropical fruit in combination, which may be an obviously commercial style, but which is delicately and nicely done. Crowd-pleasing stuff, pushes all the right Kiwi-style SB buttons with just enough ripe sweetness to flatter and enough acidity to keep it fresh. Well done. £5.00, Asda

under a tenner

Amalaya, Blanco 2012, Argentina
The floral character of Torrontéscan be overdone and that wafting perfume is enough to put some drinkers off. Here, Amalaya, from the very far north and high altitude vineyards of Salta in Argentina, have clevery restrained the grape’s exuberance and they have blended in 15% of cool and sophisticated Riesling to create a wine that does have flowers and herbs on the nose, but also a clean and vibrant lime zest freshness. On the palate there is a rich texture and peach and apricot sweetness, but the Riesling again adds a clever and keen edge of mouthwatering acidity. It is a little cracker. 89/100. Watch the video for more information. £8.50, winetrust100.co.uk.

under twenty

E Guigal, Côtes du Rhône 2010, France
Actually, a bit of a bargain and a bit of a cheat, for although the headline price of £11.99 drops this in the ‘under £20’ slot, the price is down to £9.99 at the moment. A stalwart of the wine shelves, this Syrah-dominated blend is very good indeed in the 2010 vintage. Ripe, attractive, smooth and elegant aromas of solid and pure black fruit and creamy oak are appealing. The palate has the same svelte appeal, George Clooney in a glass, with sophistication and enough rugged charm to give broad sipping and food matching possibilities. 88/100, Majestic.

sky’s the limit

Yabby Lake, Block 1 Chardonnay 2012, Australia
What a hugely complex nose on this wine made from a small parcel taken from one of the three blocks that constitute the excellent and cheaper (£33) Single Vineyard Chardonnay. It was whole bunch pressed into 500-litre French oak casks and fermented with wild yeasts. The family resemblance between this and the Single Vineyard Chardonnay is obvious, but this has such beautiful salt-licked, seashell freshness and tight, pure core of grapefruit and apple. Absolutely ravishing stuff on the palate with immense concentration and fantastic precision to the fruit. Pin-point acidity and then the gently persistent creaminess of the oak flowing through to an endless finish. 96/100. £59.00, Swig.