Tom Cannavan picks four of the best wines tasted last month, in four different price bands.
cheap ‘n cheerful
Esporão, Pe Tinto 2013, Alentejo, Portugal
The Esporão estate in the Alentejo is one of the superstars of Portuguese wine, where meticullous winemaking by Australian David Baverstock and his team turns out excellence at all price levels. There’s plenty of fruit in this introductory level red, a blend of Castelão, Moreto and Trincadeira, but with a crisp and savoury character, though easy to sip it maintains an edginess to the fruit and a touch of steely concentration and acidity. Long and balanced, and a bit of a bargain. 87/100. £5.99, Great Grog Co.
under a tenner
Haut Vol, IGP Pays d’Oc Rosé 2014, Languedoc, France
Yet another pale Provence pink look- and taste-alike in a very attractive bottle. With its ultra pale colour and pretty redcurrant and gentle peach fruit on the nose, it has very good acidity, lots of pithiness, a twist of dill or chicory, and is actually one of the better lookalikes around. At a tenner there’s too much competition from real Provence pinks, but it’s an attractive £6.32 until the 3rd of August 2015. 87/100. £6.32, Majestic.
Palacio de Fefiñanes, Albariño Rías Baixas 2014, Galicia, Spain
Always a class act, Fefiñanes is a compact winery housed in the ancient granite cloisters of the grand Renaissance palace in the central square of Cambados in northwest Spain. Classy stuff indeed, so much flavour and aroma, so much concentration that flashes across the palate with masses of dry apple punch, lime, and ozone, and texture too. Yes it’s expensive in the face of plenty of Albariños around a tenner, but it is just a superb example. 91/100. £13.95, The Wine Society, but quite widely available, see all stockists on wine-searcher
sky’s the limit
Domaine Huet, Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2009, Loire, France
One of the great, great names of the Loire valley on superb form, this demi-sec or ‘half dry’ Chenin Blanc is everything that so many others of this style might aspire to. Such intriguing honeyed richness here, swirling with light smokiness and vanilla, but whilst hinting at the ripe and exotic it is the mineral and gravel notes that are adding so much more complexity. Quite luscious, the orangey brightness of the acidity playing against gorgeous ripe apple and more exotic nectarine sweetness, it is long and utterly beautiful. 93/100. £210 per 12 in bond, Albany Vintners, but it will be available by the bottle from Armit and other retailers soon. See all stockists on wine-searcher