May 2010 – Torbreck, Jean Bousquet, Schloss Schonborn

Best wines tasted last month in four price brackets.

under a fiver

SPAR South African White NV, South Africa
I’ve recently tasted through the range of own label wines in SPAR, where new MW buyer Laura Jewell has been picking up plaudits. There are some stinkers in there (the California red and Portugeuse rosé are both hideous) but then others are offering really very good value for their ‘basics’ pricing. This screw-capped effort from the Western Cape is one of the best. Grapes are unspecified, but some Chenin I’d guess, with a green apple nose and slightly pear-droppy character. The palate has a nice punch and vibrancy, quite a Sauvignon-like burst of green-tinged, citrussy fruit and a decent finish. 85/100. Good value at only £3.99

under a tenner

Jean Bousquet, Malbec 2007, Argentina
Argentinean Malbec is offering some of the best bangs per buck of the monment for serious red wines. But not all Malbecs from Argentina are created equal, and the best offer the rich, powerful, very solid appeal that Malbec does so well, but marry that to some elegance and freshness, especially aromatically. This fabulous wine offers fantastic value for money with its floral-edged, spicy and kirsch-like nose, underpinned by sweet, dark plum fruit and classy French oak. The palate has great balance of depth, power and chewy richness with supple, refined tannins and balanced acidity. A beautifully made wine this. 90/100. £7.95, Vintage Roots. Note that using this link, new customers can enjoy £20 off any order from Vintage Roots of £75 or more.

under twenty

Schloss Schönborn, Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Spätlese 2007, Germany
With only 9.5% alcohol this has a beautifully ripe, quite tropical fruit aromatic with hints of mango and nectarine. The palate has delicious sweetness, the gorgeous, freshly bitten peach juiciness poised and balanced by hyper refined acidity. A truly yummy, summer must buy. 92/100. £12.75, Corney & Barrow.

sky’s the limit

Torbreck, RunRig 2006, Australia
There’s 3% Viognier added just before bottling in this robust Shiraz wine, which is aged in French oak, 60% of which is new. Big, chocolaty and dense. More creamy, toasty, underpinning and a kirsch-like top note. The palate has a full, creamy black fruited character and retains plenty of edge and cut, with richness and a real concentration that seems naturally dense and muscular. Long and well balanced with that huge core of ripe, sweet fruit. One to age 10 years plus. 95/100. Around £140