Best wines from last month in four price bands.
under six pounds
La Chapelle du Marin, Côtes Du Rhône 2007, France
2007 vintage wines from the southern Rhône can still be found on the shelves, though the 2008 and now 2009 are starting to replace them. If you see them – even modest little wines like this one at £5.99 – they are well worth snapping up, because this was a great year for the region, and the wines genuinely do over-deliver. This unoaked blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is typically creamy and sweet on the nose, with plenty of blackberry fruit and a little raspberry lift and brightness. The palate delivers more of that full, ripe, berry fruit but it has some structure too with elegant tannins and good acdity to balance. Delicious now but will cellar for a few years. £5.99, findwine.co.uk.
under a tenner
Tesco Finest Pouilly-Fumé 2008, France
If you can find the Tesco Finest 10 Year Old Grand Tawny 2000 from the Barossa, buy, buy, buy. It is an absolute steal at £8.99, but in very short supply. So for something more findable, I’ve chosen this punchy gooseberry and grapefruit scented Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, which has a little hint of ripe, juicy mango, and yes, an authentic whiff of flint in the background. The palate has that almost New Worldy ripeness and punch, but the tangy, juicy and dry finish is food friendly too. £9.99 at Tesco.
Blind River, Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand
From the Awatre Valley, this is one of the ‘new’ style Marlborough Sauvignons, with around 10% barrel fermentation adding an extra complexity. The nose has classic, deep-set aromas of elderflower and mango, with a cut of vivid asparagus greenness and plenty of aromatic fireworks to go round. On the palate this is a decisive wine, with good concentration of those punchy, vibrant, tropical fruit flavours and a piercing clarity. Pithy lemon and grapefruit acidity is nicely integrated, in one of the best New Zealand Sauvignons I’ve tasted from this vintage. Worth trying to find it if with a hunt around local Oddbins stores. 93/100. £12.99 (£10.39 as part of a mixed case), Oddbins.
sky’s the limit
Champagne Egly-Ouriet, Tradition Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay NV
This wine was disgorged in November 2009 and has an attractive caramel edge, but really is all about freshness with bruised apple and nettle notes. The palate is nimble and crisp, with fantastic clarity and length, pushing the wine through to a wonderfully fruity but precise finish. What a joy to behold (and drink!) and will cellar well. £39.95 at Lea & Sandeman.