Majestic range for summer 2006


Dinstlgut Loiben (Austria) Pfaffrenburg Grüner Veltliner 2005
Light, spicy pear and cool stony white fruit. Palate has plenty of fruit and a lovely pithy dryness of citrus fruit; still with sweeter edges, but a bone dry finish. £7.99, £7.49. 88/100

Franz Haas (Italy) Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2004
Big, mealy, richly layered oatmeal and hessian nose with plenty of creamy orchard fruit. The palate has mouth-filling ripeness, with a creamy texture and lovely apple and citrus acidity sweeping through. £10.99, £8.79. 91/100

Terredavino (Italy) Gavi 2005
Clean, fresh, essence of crisp pear fruit with a luscious hint of tropicality. Bone-dry palate, with a very cool, underripe pear and melon fruit, and a citrus acidity. Lacks a little punch, but elegant. £5.49, £4.39. 85/100

Cantina Breganze (Italy) Pinot Grigio Superiore 2005
Fresh, crisp, summery fruit with apple, pear and a hint of blossom. The palate is dry and racy, with a nice quality of ripe fruit and good balancing acidity. Well balanced. £5.99. £4.79. 85/100

Banfi (Italy) San Angelo Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2005
Lovely nose here, with a pungent, vivid herbal streak and lots of gooseberry fruit. On the palate this has good intensity and punchy, vivid orchard fruits, with a lovely streak of lemony acidity. £7.99, £6.39. 87/100 A

Passoni (Italy) Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2005
Discreet, tight, lightly herbal nose with fine, mineral-streaked white fruit. The palate has a lovely rolling breadth of fruit that remains tight and focused, but elegantly balanced by clean as a whistle acidity and a hint of yellow plum richness. £6.99, £5.59. 87/100

Todini (Italy) Grechetto di Todi 2005
Ripe, lightly waxy and fat lemon fruit with a touch of mealy weight to it. The palate has plenty of cool, focused, citrus and crisp apple fruit and good acidity. Not quite as long as I’d hope, but very good. £7.99, £6.39. 85/100

Coste del Molino (Italy) Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2005
Lightly herbal with a touch of nettle and some oatmeal notes. The palate has lots of vivacious, racy lemon fruit that has zesty acidity and finishes very fresh. Needs some seafood. £5.99, £4.79. 85/100

Settesoli (Italy) Fiano di Sicilia 2005
Lovely ripeness and immediate richness of sweet-edged, pear and lightly honeyed aromas. On the palate lots of ripe, sweet, fat fruit that fills the palate. Joyous, weighty, straightforward stuff, with good acidity keeping it dry and crisp in the finish. A little gem. £4.99, £3.99. 86/100

Jacques Arnoult (France) Muscadet 2005
Fresh, crisp, ozone nose with oyster shell aromas. Similarly bright and clean palate, with perfect freshness and clarity and a delicate floral character coming through. Lovely balance and very good indeed. £3.99, £3.49. 86/100

Domaine de la Tourmaline (France) Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2005
Sur lie wine with a hint of toffee on the nose, lovely vivid fruit suggesting apples and light pear. The palate has plenty of juicy, ripe, clean and racy fruit with plenty of ripeness but clean acidity. £5.49, £4.99. 87/100

Jacques Arnoult (France) Anjou Chenin 2005
Lots of honey and gentle toffee notes at first, and a nice herbal, lightly grassy edge. The palate has a real edge of sweetness and a slightly cloying mid-palate, with decent acidity but a touch too sweet for me. £3.99, £3.49. 84/100

E Delaille (France) Cheverny Le Vieux Clos 2005
Quite a pungent, slightly sulphury nose, with decent fruit beneath. Plenty of richness and sweetness of fruit on the palate, and a nice punchy finish. £5.99. 85/100

J-C Borgnat (France) Quincy 2005 Quite subtle, fresh, crisp and white-fruited nose. The palate has a nice quality of white fruit, with a ripe, quite luscious edge and a nice sweep of fresh white fruit acidity. £8.49. £7.49. 86/100

M Sautejeau (France) Pouilly-Fume “Les Ferrees” 2005
Nicely herbal, grass and nettle punch on the nose, with a powerful acidity and concentration of crisp, racy fruit on the palate. Nice minerality in the finish. Quite stylish. £8.99, £5.99. 87/100

Grebet (France) Pouilly-Fumé Domaine des Rabichattes 2005
Cool, fresh, but quite rich and mealy fruit quality. Lots of vivid, lively, nicely focused fruit with a vivid, crunchy quality, a real orangy tang to the acidity and very good length. £9.99, £8.49. 88/100

D. Baud (France) Sancerre “Les Baudrieres” 2005
Slightly neutral but fresh and crisp white fruited nose. Clean, nicely textured palate with cool white fruit and a gentle but incisive lemony acidity. Classic. £8.99, £6.99. 86/100

Roger Neveu (France) Sancerre “Clos des Bouffants” 2005
More opulent, more ripeness and hints of opulence with lots of fruit and a touch of honey. The palate has an almost salty tang of freshness, with very breezy, linear fruit quality with hints of pungent, tropical guava and plenty of verve. £9.49, £8.99. 88/100

Vacheron (France) Sancerre 2005
Evident concentration here, with lots of tightly wound, concentrated fruit and a hint of herbal quality. On the palate it has searing citrus and mineral acidity and very clean, somewhat pithy fruit. This is classic, steely Sancerre that needs food but has great quality. £12.99. 89/100

Chateau La Gravette (France) Minervois Blanc 2005
Fresh, tangy, plenty of fruit and ripeness. Lots of fruit sweetness on the palate, with a touch of punchy, peachy weight and a crisp finish. £4.99, £4.49. 85/100

La Croisade (France) VdP d’Oc Chardonnay 2005
Fresh, Unoaked, apple fruited nose. Palate has some sweet-edged pear and gently peachy fruit and a good backbone of lemony acidity, but slightly dull. £3.99. 83/100

Domaine Begude (France) VdP d’Oc Chardonnay 2005
There’s a nice toffeed nuance on the nose here, with a mealy richness. Lots of ripe, creamy peach and apple fruit. The palate has lots of sweetness and roundness, with a nicely balanced finish, but perhaps lacks a bit of verve? £5.99, £5.49. 85/100

Le Carredon (France) VdP d’Oc Marsanne 2005
Quite a rich, fruity, full peachy nose. Clean with just a hint of toffee. On the palate rather underpowered with a slightly dull finish. £4.49, £3.99. 84/100

Monastier (France) VdP d’Oc Viognier 2005
Very fine orangey nose, with lots of honey and touches of caramel. Cool, ripe, pear fruit on the palate, with a broad streak of acidity, but it is slightly short. £4.99, £3.99. 85/100

Laurent Miquel (France) VdP d’Oc “Nord Sud” Viognier 2005
A touch of toffee and a minty quality, with obvious oak evident. The palate has racy acidity and plenty of white-fleshed fruit, with a nice weight and texture. £6.99. 86/100

Chateau Rieussec (France) R de Rieussec Bordeaux Blanc 2004
Slightly neutral nose, but a gentle pear and apple fruit emerges, with a touch of toffee in the background. On the palate decent fruit, with a nice honeyed edge to clean, crisp apple and melon, and just a suggestion of weight and vanilla in the finish. Subtle but stylish. £9.99. 88/100

Guigal (France) Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2004
Bold, assertive fruit with punch and a note of fatness and buttery weight. The palate has good fruit, with a toffeed character and a chewy density, and a powerful presence. Weighty and balanced, with good acidity. £7.49, £6.99. 88/100

Chateau d’Aqueria (France) Lirac Blanc 2005
Fat, buttery, bold nose with plenty of fruit and a herbal edge. On the palate this is rounded and mouth filling, with weight and texture, but a nice acidity that really balances the finish leaving this poised and fresh. £7.99, £7.49. 88/100

Philippe Faury (France) Condrieu 2004
Big, herbal, strikingly nettly nose with pungent fruit, a hint of minty ripeness and plenty of presence. On the palate it has lots of peachy, nectarine fruit sweetness and a rounding of honey and toffee (must be some new oak?) before a clean, white fruit acidity. £19.99. 89/100

Chateau du Cray (France) Bourgogne Aligoté 2005
Minerals, fresh, ozone notes and a touch of dried herb. Crisp and sherbetty, with fresh lemony fruit and a charming balance. Summery and straightforward. £5.99. 85/100 Cave de Chablis (France) Chablis 2005
Up-front, fruity nose, with apple and white fruits evident. Plenty of freshness and crispness on the palate, with a lovely sour lemon acidity and fruit quality running through it. Quite simple, but very good. £7.99, £6.99. 87/100

Christophe Cordier (France) Pouilly-Fuissé “Terroir” 2005
Lightly toffeed and rich, with a peachy richness and nice fruit quality. On the palate it is rounded and quite fleshy, with concentrated, good quality of fruit that stays clean and focused, with a hint of richness but lovely balance of cool, quite mineral acidity. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

V & M-C Perrin (France) Saint-Romain 2004
Burgundian, quite fat and buttery, lightly vegetal fruit. The palate has cool, pure fruit with a nicely vegetal background suggesting real ripeness. Good acidity too. £9.99. 88/100

Domaine Olivier (France) Santenay Les Coteaux Sous La Roche 2004
Big, Burgundian, buttered cabbage nose with lots of pungent, fruity aromas. A strong mineral streak too. The palate has plenty of ripeness – a really, sweet-edged fruitiness, backed up by a hint of minty, creamy oak and a really vivid streak of acidity. Lovely. £12.99. 89/100

Christophe Cordier (France) Vire-Clesse “Les Perrières” Vieilles Vignes 2005
Big mint humbug and fat vanillin oak overlay to sweet, very ripe and forward fruit. Lots of lemony acidity here, cutting through the modern, clean, ripe fruit. Very modern in style, but concentrated, fruity and beautifully balanced. £15.99, £14.99. 88/100

J-L Chavy (France) Puligny-Montrachet 2004
Nice clean nose, with a hint of toffee and plenty of juicy, fresh fruit. Nice freshness on the palate too, though the acidity is quite prominent and rather overshadows the fruit. Well made, not sure about longevity? £18.99. 88/100

Vincent Bouzereau (France) Meursault Les Narvaux 2004
Nettly, pungent nose, with herbs and bold fruit. The palate has a lovely weight and texture of fruit; lots of racy, fine, lemon-edged white fruits and a minerality. A clean fresh style in the end, with some herbal qualities and oak, but crisp. £23.00. 88/100

William Fevre (France) Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2001
Lovely limpid nose, with beautifully maturing, limpid fruit with a touch of toffee and a lovely harmonious quality. Lovely fruit on the palate too, that is creamy and has a touch of caramel, and a big raft of herb-streaked, mineral acidity in the finish. A delightful wine, with great quality. £28.00. 93/100

Ermita Veracruz (Spain) Verdejo 2005
An old favourite still on form with a vivid, pungent nose of herb and gooseberry fruit, and plenty of verve and punch on the palate. Excellent pungency and vibrancy, with tangy fruit, vivid acidity and plenty of impressive punch. £7.99, £6.49. 88/100

Martin Codax (Spain) Albariño Rias Baixas 2005
Fresh pear and hard apply fruit, with a clean mineral quality. The fruit is really good on the palate, with lots of sweetness and lots of nectarine and peach hints of sweetness, but with a fine, racy backbone of acidity and terrific freshness and length. A lovely vintage of this. £8.49, £6.99. 90/100

Laborie (South Africa) Chardonnay 2004
Huge minty toffee nose, with plenty of oak. Bold, crunchy, forward fruit with masses of ripeness and tropicality. The palate has a nice sour apple acidity playing against the fruit, and this is really quite nicely balanced and savoury. £6.99, £4.99. 87/100

Klein Constantia (South Africa) Chardonnay 2004
Subtler, more refined oak on the nose, with a nice freshness of white fruits, and just hints of a peachier ripeness. Fine, racy, lemon-edged palate with very elegant white fruit, though plenty of it. Touches of toffee and a herbal, vegetal Burgundian ripeness in the finish. Lovely stuff. £8.49. 89/100

Southbank (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Very aggressively herbal, grassy nose. Lots of typical Marlborough fireworks with punchy fruit and green bean herbaceousness. Palate has a hit of grassy-edged, tropical fruit, definitely into the mango and passionfruit spectrum, with a blast of balancing acidity. £6.99, £5.99. 86/100

Fairleigh (New Zealand) Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A more tempered herbaceousness, with a touch of toffeed sweetness and lots of sweet, ripe fruit on the palate. Intense and concentrated, with better integration of freshening acidity. Very good indeed. £6.99. 87/100

Nautilus (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Much more subdued again, with more minerality and restraint. Palate still offers a blast of ripe, racy, vivid fruit, but in a much more Loire-like spectrum, with citrus and gently gooseberry flavours and a big underpinning of mineral acidity. Lovely. £9.99, £8.49. 90/100

Fairleigh (New Zealand) Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Vegetal, buttery, quite Burgundian nose, with lots of buttery oak and a sweetness of ripe fruit evident. The palate has fine sweetness of fruit. It is light to medium bodied and perhaps lacks a touch of textural richness, and a detect a little alcoholic heat slightly unbalancing the finish, but a lovely quality of fruit too. £6.99. 87/100

Knappstein (Australia) Hand-Picked Riesling 2005
Beautifully waxy lemon and lime nose with such nice, composed white fruits and a hint of mineral intensity. Cool, clean and very dry on the palate, there is plenty of limey fruit and a very crisp finish. Nice weight and balance. £6.99, £5.74. 87/100

Terra Barossa (Australia) Pinot Gris 2005
From Eden Valley, a subtly honeyed nose of clean, crisp orchard fruits. The palate is delicate and very clean and crisp, with an intensely sweet edge to the racy white fruit and good balance. Really quite long and delicate in the finish. £7.99, £6.99. 88/100

McGuigan (Australia) Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Herbal notes come through, with a slightly smoky note and plenty of grassy character. The palate is quite clean and crisp, with a huge core of lemony acidity dominating, slicing though quite dry, grassy lean fruit with that continuing smoky nuance. Crisp and clean, with a fairly savoury style. £6.99, £4.99. 86/100

Yering Station (Australia) “Frog” Chardonnay 2004
Gently buttery with very light toast and mealy nuances. On the palate the fruit is poised and nicely weighted, with lots of ripe pear and apple and a suggestion of peachier weight. Good acidity and just a creamy note in the finish. £6.99, £5.99. 87/100

Wolf Blass (Australia) President’s Selection Chardonnay 2004
Nicely buttery, vaguely vegetal character with plenty of oak and plenty of fruit. Nice sweetness on the palate, with a pineapple chunk character, but the acidity is good and a toasty, buttery richness plays against it in the finish. Big, bold, but very good. £9.99, £7.99. 88/100

Vasse Felix (Australia) “Adams Road” Chardonnay 2004
Margaret River. Lots of expensive, toasty French oak on the nose, with a luscious quality of ripe fruit beneath and lots of richness. The palate has fine, sweet fruit with an orangy tang. Acidity is good, though this maybe just doesn’t power through to the finish the way I’d hope. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Bonterra (California) Chardonnay 2004
Lovely poise and limpid quality, with honey and a creamy note, and ripe, buttery fruit. The palate has lots of zest and zing, with tropical fruit, but a vivacious quality and bright acidity that sharpen up the finish despite an oaky underpinning coming through. £8.99, £7.49. 88/100

Joseph Phelps (California) Carneros Chardonnay 2001
Ripe, maturing, Burgundian Chardonnay, with a cabbagy vegetal and butter note and plenty of ripeness and sweetness. The palate displays good fruit and a lot of fruit sweetness. Big, creamy and open, this does have acidity, but playing second fiddle to fruit and oak. £19.99. 89/100

Vistasur (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Nicely judged herb-tinged, fresh fruit. Lots of lemon and green apple. A more tropical fruit quality on the palate with plenty of ripeness. A big core of juicy lemon fruit and acids keeps this fresh and well balanced. Simple, but well made. £4.75, £3.80. 85/100

Montes (Chile) Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lots of Marlborough-like fireworks, with nettle and a great, green, herbal streak. Lots of punchy gooseberry and verdant fruit beneath. On the palate this has plenty of tropical, punchy, greengage and ripe fruit, and a fine integrated acidity that is quite mineral in some ways. £7.99, £6.99. 89/100

Cono Sur (Chile) Single Vineyard “Quitralman” Riesling 2005
Herbal, mineral, very cool and restrained, with little fruit character. The palate has a lot more juiciness and vivid citrus fruit quality, but it retains its cool minerality and crisp, dry demeanour. £7.99, £6.39. 86/100

Cono Sur (Chile) Single Vineyard “El Marco” Gewurztraminer 2005
Quite subtle, with a little note of toffee and a subtle herbal quality. On the palate this is dry, with no flamboyance, but good fruit and a very lean, long finish with good acidity. Won’t scare Gewurtz haters. £7.99, £6.39. 86/100

Crois de Susana Balbo (Argentina) Torrontes 2005
Floral, fragrant, typical Torrontes, with a touch of Nivea cream. Some of that exotic ripeness and floral character comes through on the palate, but this is dry and uncompromising, with white fruit and plenty of racy, crisp acidity in a reasonably long finish. £5.99. 86/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Pinot Gris 2004
Nice herby, pungent, nettle edge to this, with ripe apple and melon fruit. An edge of sweetness on the palate, with flattering off-dry weight and richness, but this is nicely balanced by acidity and quite stylish. £6.49, £5.99. 86/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Gewurztraminer 2004
Little notes of spices and rose petal. Quite subtle. Rich, mouthfilling fruit, just off dry with good peachy, downy fruit quality. Nice wine, with good balancing acidity. Easy to drink. £6.49, £5.99. 87/100

Ayler Kupp (Germany) Riesling Kabinett Margarethof 2005
Quiet subtle, touch of oatmeal, clean. Lovely fruit on the palate, with a fine raciness and clarity, medium sweet with good length. Very lip-smacking and moreish acidity. £5.99. 89/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Kabinett 1992
Some developed waxy, herbal, petrolly notes and good minerality. The palate has a gentle herbal edge to the fruit, perhaps just lacking a little acidity, but enjoyable. Good/very good. £5.49. 87/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer Schlossberg Spätlese 1989
Quite a neutral, white-fruited nose. A touch of toffee. On the palate there is modest, clean, honeyed fruit and decent balancing acidity, but a touch flabby. Good £5.99. 85/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Dorsheimer Pittermanchen Spätlese 2000
Pungent, flinty, waxy nose with quite vivacious fruit on the palate. Punchy tropically sweet edge, a touch of nettle and then nice vivid acidity. Stylish. £5.29. 87/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer

Schlosskapelle Auslese 2002
Slightly rotted, dank aromas. Very sweet palate, with a poised lemon sherbet fruitiness and modest acidity and length. Better than the Spätlese Burg-Layer. £5.49. 87/100


Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Pelorus NV
Beautiful small bubbles and nose with lots of bruised apple and pear and a touch of herbal complexity. The palate has fine freshness, with a nicely persistent mousse and a racy lemony palate. Little hints of tropical ripeness and clean, fresh, very racy acidity. Delightful. £14.99, £11.99. 89/100

Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Pelorus 2001
Adds quite a lot of nuttiness and toast with a straw and hessian dry quality and a core of fruit. Very mouthfilling and rolling mousse, with lots of fruit. There’s a citrus quality, but also a sense of mealy, nutty Cox’s Pippin ripeness and good acidity. £16.99, £13.59. 89/100

Heidsieck (France) Brut NV
Decent herbal, lightly yeasty fruit with a bit of pear and apple fruit. Slightly sweet edge with decent fruit and length. £21.99, £11.99. 86/100

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut. NV
There’s a smoky, bacon-fat note to this that is intriguing, with apple fruit beneath. Lively mousse and quite a fat character, with lots of breadth and mouthfilling acidity. It is dry and a touch austere, but has good fruit. £31.99, £23.99. 88/100 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Mis en Cave NV
Slightly herbal edge to this, with plenty of nettle character and a juicy fruitiness, and lovely fruit. The palate has lots of elegance and ripeness and this ends really well. 90/100

Jacquart Brut Tradition 2000
Fresh, appealing, appetising if quite simple, with juicy fresh fruit, lots of plush, peachy roundness and ripeness. Decent length, but not great. £31.99, £15.99. 86/100

Jacquart Brut Rose NV
Quite robust and earthy, with plenty of rich, strawberry and softly leafy fruit. Nice and dry on the palate, with lovely acidity and a nice balance of sweet, slightly strawberry fruit and racy citrus acidity. Seems longer than the 2000. £31.99, £15.99. 88/100

Veuve Clicquot Rose NV
Fruity, quite soft and earthy nose, with lots of bruised apple character. The mousse is soft and persistent, and this has lots of structural acidity and a nip of tannins, with a pithy, dry quality. Good length here though, and a certain elegance. Expensive. £43.99, £32.99. 90/100

Saracco (Italy) Moscato d’Asti 2005
Lovely nose, full of delicacy and sherbetty brightness, with pear and floral notes, and a lovely sweetness on the palate. This is poised and elegant, gently fizzy with long, softly sweet and delicious fruit notes and lovely acidity. £8.49, £6.79. 87/100

Rose and Red wines

Adagio (Italy) Pinot Grigio Rosé 2005
Nicely earthy, dry, quite strawberry fragrant fruit. Dry, fruity palate, a touch of earth and spicy tannin. Nice food rosé. £5.49, £4.39. 86/100

Louis Latour (France) Beaujolais-Lancie 2005
Crisp, dry, watercolour paintbox nose with bright cherry fruit. Lovely vivid, fresh fruit quality with silky texture and juicy acidity. Very nice indeed. £6.99, £6.49. 88/100

Domaine de Boischampt (France) Julienas 2005
Slightly meatier, darker, plummier quality, with rounded, robust red fruit but nice freshness too. Quite elegant acidity and an earthy richness. £6.99, £5.99. 87/100

Louis Latour (France) Morgon Les Charmes 2005
Lovely deep cherry fruit quality on the nose, with a dry, mineral quality but good depth. On the palate it has plenty of fruit, and a big, dry streak of acidity that isn’t quite gelling at this stage, but has a richness and depth of fruit. £7.99, £6.99. 88/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Pinot Noir 2004
Pale, almost rose colour. Modest, red berry fruit. A touch of briary quality and more berry fruit on a simple, slightly herbal, but well-balanced palate. £6.49, £5.99. 84/100

Reserve des Vignerons (France) Saumur Rouge 2005
Very dark, very earthy and solid black fruit with plenty of earthy, dark and briary spice. Straightforward, fruity, with lots of stuffing, and rustic tannins in the finish. £4.99, £4.49. 86/100

Chateau de Targue (France) Saumur Champigny “Les Tuffeaux” 2005
Bold, dark, vinous and fruity nose, with plenty of rich mulberry fruit and a bright cherry edge. Nice weight on the palate, with a certain silky, dark ripeness and glossy cherry acidity. £7.49, £6.99. 88/100

Michel Sarrazin (France) Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise “Les Gorgeres” 2004
Light, herb and cherry fruit with plenty of bright herby notes. The palate has cool, focused if rather dry fruit and tannin qualities, with a racy acidity. A little lean, but well balanced. £9.99, £8.99. 87/100

Lucien Muzard (France) Santenay Vieilles Vignes 2004
Big, attractive, creamy fruited nose with a wrapping of chocolaty oak around berry fruit. The palate has plenty of ripe, sweet, cherry fruit, and firm mineral and tight cherry skin backbone. Decent balance, with moderate length. £9.99. 88/100

Michel Sarrazin (France) Givry 1er Cru VV 2004
Super ripe, very concentrated and creamy fruit, with lots of charm and plumpness. Good fruit on the palate too, with a wrapping of sweet oak, and a plummy depth. He acidity is quite lean and keen, giving this a savoury, nicely crisp edge on the finish. Perhaps lacks a little mid-palate flesh, but very good indeed. £12.99, £11.99. 88/100

Albert Morot (France) Savigny 1er Cru La Bataillere aux Vergelesses 2002
A dank, truffly note at first, with some deep black fruit notes and just hints of floral ripeness. On the palate there is lovely fruit here. It is soft and mellow, with some creamy oak supporting, and a svelteness to fruit and tannins. £16.99. 90/100

Albert Morot (France) Beaune 1er Cru Les Cent Vignes 2002
Beautiful fragrance, with haunting Burgundy notes of violet and ripe cherry skins, a note of truffly undergrowth and a creamy background. Fine fruit sweetness, all melding into a soft, earthy structure, with lovely acidity. Very fine. £18.99. 91/100

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or (France) Volnay 1er Cru En Caillerets 1999
More dank, earthy, undergrowth and truffle character, with a lovely ripeness of red berry fruit beneath. Silky weight on the palate, with a fine red berry fruit and a touch of liquoricy backbone. Supple and long, this is very classy indeed. £30.00. 93/100

Montana Reserve (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Lovely creamy, vanillin sweet fruit on the nose, with lots of attractive, plush ripeness. Coffee and chocolate underpins plush red fruits on the palates, like crushed raspberry and plum, with fine tannins and acidity. £9.99, £7.49. 88/100

Wither Hills (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Massive charry, toasty, nose, with masses of espresso and chocolate and a real sweetness of fruit beneath. Fine elegance on the palate, though the high, almost minty char of the wood still influences this. Very sweet fruit and good quality. Some lightness about it, with cherry and strawberry notes and not just plummy richness. Long, balanced finish. £14.99. 90/100

Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Slightly more baked and plummy quality, with a touch of schist and cherry brightness to the fruit coming through. On the palate quite a fine black fruited palate, with some cherry and plum skin bitterness that sits nicely with the fruit. Good acid structure, but perhaps suffers from a slightly drying fruit quality. £15.99. 89/100

Southbank (New Zealand) Merlot Cabernet 2003
Plenty of juicy, plummy, very rich and ripe fruit on the nose with a plush vanillin overlay. Lots of fruit sweetness on the palate, with a mouth-filling richness and a nice edge of acidity. Quite supple tannins and decent length. £8.99, £7.99. 87/100

Le Carredon (France) VdP d’Oc Merlot 2005
Plum and cherry brightness, plenty of vibrant juicy fruit. Dark and saturated palate, with good fruit that has a jammy ripeness, but a decent roughening tannin and acid backbone. £4.49, £3.99. 85/100

Domaine de la Bouysse (France) l’Oc de la Bouysse 2005
Adds a nice earthy, cassis note of depth to ripe red fruit. The palate has quite a chalky tannic quality, but plenty of ripeness and black fruit depth. A touch dry perhaps on the tannins, but good quality here. £4.99, £3.99. 86/100

Monastier (France) VdP d’Oc Cabernet Franc 2005
Dry, firm, blue/black fruity with a dusty, slightly inky quality. Dry red and black fruits on the palate too, but really good ripeness and sweetness. Lovely fresh tannins and acidity too, in very good wine that drinks well. £4.99. 86/100

Chateau de Pennautier (France) Cabardès 2004
Lovely sweetness of ripe, black cherry fruit with a touch of pepper and tight, spicy character. Lovely fruit quality, with plenty of ripeness and richness, and a dark, glossy fruit core wrapped with spicy oak, and sufficient supple tannin and acid to balance. £5.49, £4.99. 88/100

Chateau Camplazens (France) VdP d’Oc Syrah 2005
Slightly dull, subdued nose, with a solidity and earthiness to black fruit, but not terribly expressive. The palate doesn’t have a lot of life about it either, though there is fruit and a supple tannin background. £6.49, £5.49. 85/100

Yann Chave (France) Crozes Hermitage 2004
Quite a bright, cherryish, high-toned quality to the fruit, with some peppery nuances. The palate has a very good, solid fruit quality with excellent sweetness and a ripe, chewy mid-palate. Good tannins and overall balance mean this finishes impressively. £9.99. 88/100

Laurence Farraud (France) Vacqueyras 2003
Redcurrant and bright, cherry fruit. The palate also has a nice redcurranty, quite dry fruitiness, with a suggestion of ripe, sweet fruit and a really crisp cherry skin acidity giving it an edge. Plenty of pepper and spice begins to emerge on the finish. £9.99. 88/100

Domaine de la Janasse (France) CdR Villages “Terre d’Argile” 2003
Plush, deep, cherry fruit with a more solid, obvious ripeness. The palate has plenty of fruit: lots of sweet-edged, very plush and ripe red berries and plum. Nice depth here with soft, flavoursome tannins and low, but nicely balancing acidity. £10.99. 89/100

Laurence Farraud (France) Gigondas 2003
Herbal notes and a touch of schisty quality on top of ripe, red cherry slightly floral fruit. The palate has plenty of richness, purity of fruit and sweetness, with a certain plushness backed up by supple, dense tannins and quite low acidity. Delicious now. £11.99. 90/100

Domaine de la Janasse (France) Châteauneuf du Pape 2003
Lots of pepper and spice and rich bramble and cherry fruit. There’s an obvious ripeness here. The palate has a layering of vanillin, slightly raw oak, with a dark, liquoricy edge to the plummy and red fruits and a dark stripe of tannins. Quite good acidity in a fairly robust, if slightly raw wine. Might need some more time. £19.99. 90/100

Yann Chave (France) Hermitage 2004
Lots of chocolate and coffee and a dark blackcuranty fruit quality. The palate has plenty of sweet fruit, with a touch of earthy, dark, slightly animal depth and richness. Warming alcohol and tannins flood the finish, but balanced and long. Impressive. £30.00. 92/100

Chateau Chauvin (France) Saint-Emilion 1998
Soft, rich, dark, violet-edged essence of cassis fruit. Little undertones of coffee and tobacco. Lovely fruit quality on the palate, with a racy acidity and tugging tannic backbone. Nicely weighted and drinking very well. £19.99. 91/100

Chateau Clement-Pichon (France) Haut-Médoc 2002
Cassis, warm, earthy scents and a certain bloodiness. Oak is quite minty and prominent. On the palate there is vivid fruit and a slightly dry tannic background, but this has nice quality of fruit and good balance, with some spice and tobacco in the finish. £9.99. 87/100

Marquis de Calon (France) St Estephe 2003
Richly oaked, coffee and chocolate plushness to solid fruit. The palate has plenty of drying tannin and a dark, plummy, even slightly pruney fruit. Finishes a touch dry. £14.99. 87/100

Chateau Haut-Bages Averous (France) Pauillac 1997
Big sweet, fragrant, bloody and mulberry nose. Very attractive and open. The palate too is juicy, ripe and plush, with lots of fruit sweetness and a gentle cedary tannin quality in the finish. This is well balanced and finishes quite long. Excellent for current drinking. £14.99. 90/100

Chateau Labegorce (France) Margaux 2001
Solid, quite dense blue/black, plummy fruit quality. Little hints of cedary fragrance. Ripe, sweet fruit on the palate too, with a palate-filling density and nicely supportive framework of supple tannins and good acidity. Finishes very positively. £17.99. 91/100

Chateau Palmer (France) Alter Ego de Palmer Margaux 2001
Cedar, tobacco, and subtle dark, but rich dark berry fruit. Lots of sweetness and ripeness evident. The palate has quite a serious, fairly lean aspect to it, thanks to prominent orangy acidity and a spine of tannins. Lovely intensity of fruit though, and this has really good length. Might be better with some cellaring too. £30.00 Limited availability. 91/100

La Serrana (Spain) Tempranillo 2005
Vivid cherry and charcoal nose with a floral brightness and little background of tobacco. Good fruit – very ripe, nicely balanced, and highly drinkable. £2.99. 85/100

Castillo el Destaca (Spain) Ribera del Duero Crianza 2002
Very intense melange of ripe, solid black fruit and American oak is minty and very ripe. Sweet and fruit-packed palate, with a lushness and ripeness, and a lovely soft support of tannins and acids. Flattering and commercial, but unarguably delicious. £6.99, £5.49. 87/100

Marques de la Concordia (Spain) Rioja Reserva 2001
Dark, fleshy, dramatically dark berry fruit character on the nose, with a mulberry richness and coffee and cigar smokiness. Palate has a bright, modern fruitiness and plenty of structure beneath. Very attractive and a steal on the current pricing deal. £9.99, £5.99. 89/100

Marques de Caceres (Spain) Rioja Reserva 2000
Nice open, generous, bloody nose with lots of fruit and an attractive gamy edge. Velvety texture and sweetness on the palate, with no rough edges though plenty of depth and dark, dramatic richness. Lovely structure here, and a big, expansive Rioja that is a treat. £13.49, £11.99. 91/100

Muga (Spain) Rioja Reserva Selection Especial 2001
More tightly wound, but beautifully dark, composed sweet fruit. Notes of chocolate and briary darkness. The palate has intensity and a blue/black concentration of fruit, with fine supple tannins and racy acidity sharpening and lengthening. £15.99. 91/100

Moncaro (Italy) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2005
Bright, paint-boxy, cherry fruit. Bright and focused, with a juicy cherry skin fruitiness. Nice acidity and freshness. £4.49, £3.59. 85/100

Mannucci Droandi (Italy) Chianti Collio Aretini 2004
Nice tobacco and black cherry nose is very classic. Juicy and rich, with fine black fruit on the palate and plenty of vivid, vibrant fruit and supple tannins. A nice wine, with good acidity and cheerful disposition. £7.49, £5.99. 86/100

Gasparini (Italy) Rosso Riva Vecia 2003
Crisp, glossy, cherry and black plum fruit with some smoky notes. Lovely vibrant, juicy, cherry-skinned fruit and with a ripe, silky quality. Nice softening coffeeish tannins and good acidity. Fine quality and good length. £7.49, £5.99. 88/100

De Forville (Italy) Langhe Nebbiolo 2003
Big, robust, dank, earthy and bloody scented nose with gamy notes and plenty of ripe fruit. The palate has a ripeness and solid, sweet fruit richness. There’s a certain creaminess, and though tannins are dry and assertive, they marry well with the fruit. Lovely in the end. £7.99, £6.39. 88/100

De Forville (Italy) Barbera d’Asti 2004
Chocolaty, crushed redcurrant and black cherry fruit. Lovely plushness and sense of depth. Sweet, dark, dramatically ripe fruit on the palate. This is sweet and very easy to drink, but there is a dark earthiness and structured background. £9.39, £7.51. 89/100

Poliziano (Italy) Morellino di Scansano 2004
This is quite light and breezy on the nose, with a cherry and kirsch quality. The palate has similarly fruity and cheerful fruit, with a creaminess developing and a nice balance, with a touch of chocolate to the tannins and plenty of spice and dramatic richness. £9.99, £7.99. 88/100

Vino Nobile de Montepulciano “La Ciarliana” 2001
Rich, rolling, tobacco and plush velvety fruit with lots of black plum depth. This is all about sexy, dark, plush fruit and broad-based tannins and acidity, with chocolate and fudge darkness. Good balance, and lovely drinking. £12.99, £10.39. 90/100

Gianni Brunelli (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 2000
Rich, earthy and dark, with lots of robust, chunky fruit. Lovely ripeness and fruit quality here – really floods across the palate, with lovely fruit presence and fine, supple tannins and beautiful acid structure. £25.50, £20.40. 92/100

Banfi (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino “Poggio alle Mura” 2000
A truffle and dark, undergrowth note here, as well as plenty of dark, dramatically plush fruit with a chocolate edge. On the palate beautiful fruit sweetness and cherry skin bittersweet character. Lip smacking, with big, solid tannins gripping and lovely vivacious acidity. Needs a little more time, but excellent. £25.00, £20.00. 92/100

Frescobaldi (Italy) Montesodi Chianti Rufina 2003
Much more tightly wound, glossy dark fruit. There is definite spice and tobacco, but wrapped around smoky, silky, ripe black cherry and damson. Ripe, full palate too, with lots of fruit, great depths of plum and chocolate, and an expansive but quite decisive framework of tannins and crisp cherry acidity. Beautifully sophisticated stuff. £30.00, £24.00. 93/100

KC (South Africa) Shiraz 2004
Smoky, earthy, lots of spice and pepper, with a lovely core of black fruit. The palate shows really well, with blackcurrant and plum flooding the tongue, a warm, cedary oak and nice structure. Delicious. £8.49. 87/100

Kangarilla Road (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Ripe, minty, super ripe and glossy cassis fruit. The palate has lots of glossy, tight, fully formed fruit with a rounded tannin and acid framework. Not complex, but tasty. £9.99, £8.99. 87/100

Wakefield (Australia) St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Nicely gamy, with a bloody edge to plush, ripe black fruit. Attractive. Soft and very plush on the palate, with absolutely loads of sweet, ripe fruit, and a big dark, chocolaty ripeness to the structure. Huge, but balanced and delicious. £19.99. 91/100

Vasse Felix (Australia) Adams Road Cabernet Merlot 2003
Plenty of ripeness and cherry and plum richness, with a mulberry fullness. Lovely sweet, bloody, fine fruit and sweetness. Lovely quality here. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Yering Station (Australia) Shiraz Viognier 2005
Quite perfumed and floral, but a nice schisty dark fruit quality too. On the palate the racy, crisp, but chocolaty Shiraz dominates, with fine tannins and a lovely subtly and balance. £6.99, £5.99. 88/100

McGuigan (Australia) Signature Shiraz 2005
Quite plummy and ripe, with a broad, softly fruity character. The palate is similarly soft and sweet, with plenty of black fruit and gentle easy drinking structure with spice in the finish. £6.99, £4.99. 86/100

Kangarilla Road (Australia) Shiraz 2003
Essence of black pastille fruit, with lovely purity and richness. The palate has plenty of sweet, ripe, mouthfilling black fruit that has depth and softness, though there is a nice peppery background and good structure beneath. Stays sweet and pure, and very nicely balanced. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Ainsworth & Snelson (Australia) Barossa Shiraz 2002
Much lighter on the nose, with pepper and lighter raspberry edge to the fruit. This has lots of fresh, sweet, very nicely defined fruit on the palate with a lightness and raciness. A less plush style, but beautifully composed. £9.99. 88/100

Petaluma (Australia) Shiraz 2002
Dark, earthy, carries more schisty character with spicy black fruit. Quite light on the palate, with good fruit sweetness and an elegant, cool structure. Perhaps on the slightly underpowered side of elegant, but very lovely, classy and drinkable. Very good indeed. £19.99. 89/100

Errazuriz (Chile) Pinot Noir 2005
Earthy, juicy, nice herb-tinged rosemary and dill notes to solid cherry fruit. Very attractive, with some woodsmoke in the background. Fine soft palate too, with an elegant quality of fruit before a developing chocolaty richness of tannins. Nice balance. £9.99. 87/100

Adobe (Chile) Merlot 2004
Big, spicy and ripe, with lots of dense plum and chocolate aromatics. Bags of sweetness on the palate – a plush, solid core of fruit, with a spice and tobacco background and nice balance. £6.25, £4.99. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker’s Lot Merlot 2004
A lot of vanillin, marzipanny new American oak on the nose, with very ripe blackberry fruit and mint chocolate. Ripe, silky black fruit floods the palate, with a nice dark stripe of tannins and crisp-edged cherry acidity freshening the finish. £8.49, £6.79. 88/100

Vistasur (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Dark, quite meaty nose with a touch of beefstock and plenty of black fruit. The palate has very fine sweetness and a bloody ripeness of fruit. Lovely dark, dramatic, juicy Cabernet with plenty of spice and weight at the price. £4.75, £3.80. 87/100

Yali (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2004
Composed, tight, focused black fruit with lots of blackcurrant and spice. Very attractive palate, with a hint of fudge and chocolate to solid, sweet fruit and a bitter plumskin grip of tannins and savoury acidity. £5.99/£4.79. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker’s Lot Syrah 2005
Refined, racy, schist, pepper and elegantly spicy nose with plenty of tight black fruit. Palate delivers more of the same, with a great deal of poise to the juicy, fine black fruit and finely wrought tannic structure. Lovely spicy wine. £8.49, £6.79. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Terrunyo Shiraz 2004
Meaty, big, dark, muscular structure. Brooding, dark black fruits. Lots of weight and the oak a bit raw on the mid-palate at present, but this has lovely concentration and great length. £10.99, £8.79. 89/100

Carmen (Chile) Winemaker’s Reserve 2001
Elegant, cedary, blue/black fruit with a touch of Mocha. There is really nice fruit on the palate, with a fantastic black fruitedness, plenty of depth and plush, plummy structure and fine acidity. Drinking well now, and very delicious. £14.99, £11.99. 91/100

Esperanza (Argentina) Merlot 2004
Quite light cherryish fruit, moving on to a dry, bright, if slightly pruney palate. £3.99, £3.69. 82/100

Gravel Bed (California) Zinfandel 2005
Bright, juicy if slightly anonymous fruit. Doesn’t do much for me on the palate, with decent fruit and spice and a bit of elegance. £5.99, £4.99. 85/100

Bonterra (California) Zinfandel 2004
Spice, peppery, with dry, firm black fruit and a certain leathery, but very solid. Very good fruit with more depth than the Gravel Bed. £8.99, £7.49. 87/100

Seghesio (California) Old Vine Zinfandel 2002
Huge, Porty, lovely richness, with a fine full-bodied richness and plush, velvety richness. Lovely weight and fine fruit here despite the alcohol and weight. Lovely juicy stuff. Excellent. £25.00. 91/100