March 2010 – Tommasi, Malhadinha Nova, Solano

Four of the best wines from last month’s tastings in four price brackets.

under six pounds

Solano, Spanish Red 2009, Spain
What’s not to like about this instantly sweet, seductive and bouyantly fruity little red from Bodegas Gallegas in the northwest of Spain. Vanilla-slicked fruit, lots of ripeness and berry richness, a nice touch of earthy spice too in a mouth-filling, juicy wine of great style at the modest price. £5.40,

under a tenner

Altos del Condor, Sauvignon Gris 2010, Argentina
Made by the excellent Trapiche in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, this was one of my star buys from M&S’s recent press tasting. Lovely perfume of peach down, gentle herbs and more tropical fruit. Some nettle and a lightly smoky background. Quite complex. The palate has real opulence, with rich texture and that green edge to the tropical fruit, and a fine, long, tangy lemon rind finish. £7.99, Marks & Spencer, in 100 stores.

under twenty

Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, Monte da Peceguina Tinto 2009, Portugal
From Portugal’s Alentejo, a blend of Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is fermented in lagars (shallow granite vats in which the grapes are trodden by foot) and then spends seven months in second and third year oak. Nice schisty, charry notes to the nose with a meaty fruit quality. The palate has lots of sweet fruit: very rich, plummy and cassis-like, with a crowd-pleasing sweetness but some nice structure too. This is entry level for the starry Malhadinha, but an excellent introduction. Around £15.00, Fareham Wine Cellars

sky’s the limit

Tommasi, Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2005, Italy
What a delightful wine this was, drunk with the cheese course at the excellent Martin Wishart restaurant. The partially dried, late-harvest red grapes give a terrific balance of dry, savoury and lightly gravelly redcurrant and pepper notes on the palate with some gently ashy, older oak influence, and plump, ripe and burstingly sweet berry fruit. It is smooth and chocolate licked, the suede-like tannins and fine acidity not ruffling the semi-sweet delicacy of the fruit. Really terrific stuff. Around £35.00