June 2011- Les Crouzes, Saint Clair, Esporao, Krug

Best wines tasted in four different price brackets

under six pounds

Les Crouzes, Old Vines Cinsault Rosé 2009, France
I’ll soon be publishing my summer round-up of almost three dozen rosé wines, of which this was the cheapest I tasted. And a very nice, honest little wine it is too from the Languedoc’s Pays d’Oc, with quite a pale, peachy colour and nose of refined redcurrant and raspberry fruit. The palate is dry and balanced, with a little creamy weight too. Very acceptable summery pink for little over a fiver. £5.19, The Co-operative.

under a tenner

Saint Clair, Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand
Another fine example of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that is moving the story on from the rather obvious style that was in danger of being overplayed, into something more taut and nervy. From the Wairau Valley, this is indeed pungently Marlborough with its rippling layers of tropical fruit, fresh, sweet grass and asparagus. But there is also an element that is flinty and smoky – most impressive. The palate really is terrific too: satisfyingly fruity and ripe, but with a big vegetal, chicory-like streak keeping it lean and goat’s cheese-friendly. £9.99, Waitrose.

under twenty

Esporao, Private Selection 2009, Portugal
In June I unveiled my 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2011 and it was a fine chance to retaste all of them. Many could have made this selection, but I have chosen this unusual Alentejo wine from Australian winemaker David Baverstock, even though it is a non-Portugues blend of 90% Semillon with Marsanne and Roussanne. I just love its beautifully toasty nose of buttered toast and lime with little floral glimpses. The palate has fabulous texture, with masses of lemon marmalade flavour and the oak just disappearing into the weight and texture of the fruit. Deliciously focused and layered. From £17.99

sky’s the limit

Champagne Krug, Vintage 1995, France
In June I was fortunate to visit Krug and tase vertical collections not only of the vintage Champagne, but to the fabled Clos du Mesnil single vineyard wine too. Though the 1995 vintage of the latter was stunning, its £600 per bottle price tag is too, so instead I have gone for this relatively affordable Vintage wine which has a fabulous flinty, nutty, totally involving nose, with spices, orange oil and biscuit. On the palate some of that brioche richness comes through in an expansive wine where those complex layers are riven with acidity that scythes through into a huge finish. Considerable cellaring potential here. From around £160 per bottle