May 2014 – M&S, Cave Buxy, l’Espigouette, Paul Hobbs

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

cheap ‘n cheerful

Marks & Spencer, Chilean Chardonnay Viognier 2013, Chile
This screwcapped white blends 75% Chardonnay and 25% Viognier, and is made for M&S by Luis Felipe Edwards from vineyards in Chile’s Central Valley. It is ripe, touching on confectionery, with peachy, tropical and sweet aromas, almost like glacé fruits, but a nice orange undertone too. Beautifully ripe on the palate, its a pleasing mouthful of wine at the price. Nice precision of fruit and acidity, balanced, and retaining freshness into the finish. 85/100. £5.00, Marks & Spencer, in 499 stores.

under a tenner

Cave Buxy, Montagny 1er Cru Les Millières 2009, France
Regularly priced at £12.99, this is down to £9.74 until 30th June 2014 (and again between 5th August – 1st September 2014). It has a gorgeous nose with gently toasty, honeyed, notes of almond and creamy oatmeal. Bold orchard fruit beneath. The palate has delightful ripeness and hints of the exotic, with pineapple chunk fruitiness, but then the pithy, taut and nicely saline edge of the acidity sweeps through. A beautifully pitched Chardonnay and a fine white Burgundy experience at the offer price. 89/100. £9.74, Majestic on offer.

under twenty

Domaine de l’Espigouette, Côtes Du Rhône Plan De Dieu 2011, France
From an estate in the midst of conversion to certified organic farming and using biodynamic practices, this blend of Grenache with 20% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre is big, bold, aromatic and bountiful stuff with black and red berries flooding the nose, touched with spice and chocolate and with plenty of smoky, swirling meatiness and fruit in combination. The palate has awesome creamy fruitness: real strawberry sundae sweetness, but thankfully the plum and cherry bite of the acidity and the serious, grippy tannin constrain and add weight and seriousness. Big, bold and taking no prisoneers, but delicious of its confident style. 90/100. £11.99, Wine Rack. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

sky’s the limit

Paul Hobbs, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet 2009, USA
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose is so complex, so cedary and tobacco-touched, with a tiny note of green olive and graphite over very refined black fruit – hinting at blueberry and damson blackness. The palate displays such beautiful graphite, edgy, superbly poised black fruit. There’s a light resinous quality, but it is really just concentration of sheer and smooth tannins and fruit. There really is copious sweet fruit, but always edged with that sheerness and grip. Lovely balance, the final impression is all about sweet, ripe, rounded and supple black fruit. 95/100. £164.88 Fine & Rare Wines, The Vineking. See all stockists on wine-searcher.