Tom Cannavan picks four of the best wines tasted last month, in four different price bands.
under six pounds
Lacheteau, Réserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013, France
This 11.5% abv Sauvignon comes from the catch-all Vin de France appellation, and only qualifies for this slot if you put a note in your diary to buy it between 17th March and 27th April 2015, when it is on promotion at Majestic, the price falling to a very attractive £5.99. It has a delightful nose, with enough elderflower pungency, but a fairly broad fruit spectrum with hints of the exotic and crunch of citrus, before a dry and well balanced palate that’s racy with orange and lemon, clean and most enjoyable. 86/100. Its regular price is supposedly £7.99, it’s £6.79 at time of writing, but do watch out for that £5.99 offer. Majestic
under a tenner
J.P Ramos, Smart Dog Syrah 2013, Portugal
It is good for Portugal if some of their larger producers can establish really strong brands, and this is a great example: a fun and distinctive package, but behind it a thoroughly modern Portuguese wine of excellent quality. A little Trincadeira joins the Syrah in this Alentejo red, which burst with a floral-scented, cherry-bright fragrance, and delivers a satisfyingly juicy, smooth and mouth-filling palate of cocoa-dusted berries. Solidly commercial but beautifully crafted Syrah, this was a Wine of the Week: watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. 87/100. £7.99, House of Townend, see all stockists on wine-searcher.
Zephyr Wines, Gewürztraminer 2013, New Zealand
This and its companion Riesling both impressed at a recent tasting. From Marlborough and a vineyard planted in 1993, it is nicely smoky and spicy on the nose, and suitably aromatic with just the gentlest waft of rose petals and Nivea cream. Dry and feather light on the palate, the 14% alcohol really makes no impression, such is its beautifully composed marriage of a touch of residual sugar, mid palate fruit and grapefruit and lemon pith clarity. Delicious wine and would be wonderful with Thai or any light, more fragrant Oriental cuisine. 91/100. £12.95, talkingwines.co.uk, but see all stockists on wine-searcher
sky’s the limit
Domaine de Bonserine, Condrieu 2012, France
Whilst Viogniers have appeared from Chile, the Languedoc, Australia and elsewhere, Condrieu is its long-time home in the northern Rhône, where production is small and the wines are expensive. This one, however, was just hauntingly beautiful and shows how magical Viognier from Condrieu can be. From an estate owned by Guigal, it has a musk and honeysuckle nose, with ripe apricot fruit. The palate bursts with silky, deliciously smooth flavour. Nothing heavy here – barely any weight at all – in a lovely gossamer interpretation of Viognier. 93/100. By the six-bottle case from Edinburgh’s Fine Wine Co. it’s £33.25 per bottle equivalent. See all stockists on wine-searcher