May 2013 – Nero d’Avola, Peacock Ridge, Millton, Palladius

My favourite wines tasted in May, in four price brackets.

under six pounds

Sainsbury’s, Winemakers’ Selection Nero d’Avola 2012, Italy
Not everything under Sainsbury’s “Winemakers’ Selection” label impressed me I must say, indeed tasting the range last month threw up plenty of duds proving that £4.99 and £5.99 is a tough place to find good wines these days. However this red from Sicily with a modest 12.5% abv was a star, with its dry, smoky, but crisp and vital black fruit given a bit of extra complexity from a touch of underripe, greener quality. On the palate there is a juiciness here, a bit of real fruit and a decent finish. A good buy within this variable range, and availlable in the vast majority of stores. £5.99, Sainsbury’s

under a tenner

Peacock Ridge, Shiraz 2011, South Africa
From cool vineyards in False Bay on the Cape Point Peninsula, Peacock Ridge is the entry-level label of the superb Waterkloof Estate owned by Manchester-born Paul Boutinot who recently sold his successful UK wine distribution business to concentrate on his Cape project. This for me was the pick of the solid Peacock Ridge line-up, whole bunch fermented in oak vats and picked a little late to avoid greenness in the stems. It is partially barrel aged and has a lovely nose showing bright and elegant red and black berry fruits, spice and pepper. It is altogether quite buoyant and not weighed down by extraction or oak. The palate has rounded creamy and sweet berries, and a long finish with a little spice and chocolate. 88/100. From £8.75, see all stockists on wine-searcher.

under twenty

The Millton Vineyards, Opou Chardonnay 2010, New Zealand
The biodynamic Millton Vineyards in Gisborne on New Zealand’s north island can seemingly do not wrong. Every one of their wines at this tasting by organic specialist Vintage Roots offered exceptional quality at a reasonable £12.99. This barrel-fermented Chardonnay balances nutty, creamy richness with citrus freshness and waxy smoothness, taking in clean-cut melon fruit and a touch of white pepper along the way. 90/100. £12.99, Vintage Roots. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

sky’s the limit

Sadie Family Wines, Palladius 2010, South Africa
One of the wines that put Eben Sadie on the map, 22 barrels were made this vintage and the alcohol comes in at 14.5%. Based on Chenin Blanc, Palomino and Grenache Blanc, with little bits of Semillon, Semillon Gris, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Verdelho and, finally, a touch of Viognier. From decomposed granite and slate soils, and some table mountain sandstone. All grapes are hand sorted into 500 litre neutral barrels for fermentation. Huge, honey and nut-layered stone fruits and that deep golden colour again, the apple and peach subsumed under minerality and that nutty, dry character. Beautiful silky texture here, with such intensely sweet fruit, concentrated nectarine and then that flowing but nutty dryness into a very long finish. 95/100. From around £34.00, see all UK stockists on wine-searcher.