Tom Cannavan picks four of the best wines tasted last month, in four different price bands.
cheap ‘n cheerful
Vistamar, Late Harvest Moscatel 2014, Limarí, Chile
The headline price for a half bottle of this wine is £6.99, and I could easily recommend it at that. But until the end of August 2015 it’s down to just £5.24, and at that there is absolutely no reason not to indulge. With 200g/l of residual sugar it is fully sweet and lush, with a fabulously opulent Muscat nose, overflowing with fresh grapes and flowers. The palate has a massive, unctuous presence: there is surely some Botrytis here, as cold tea and barley sugar notes join the nectarine fruit, with a background of faint nuttiness. It is motuhfulling and ultra-luscious, and with a tangy orange acid excellent balance, in an inexpensive wine that delivers a joyously simple mouthful of sweetness to to cope with even the sweetest desserts. 88/100. £5.24, Majestic.
under a tenner
Fief Guérin, Muscadet Sur Lie 2014, Loire, France
It’s summer (it’s official) so time to crack open one of the ultimate summer wines: Muscadet. The Melon de Bourgogne vines are 50 – 70 years old for this wine, matured on its lees with regular bâtonnage for six months – and coming from a cracking Loire vintage. Sour lemon and salts, with a touch of something herby and leafy on the nose, this is typical but also complex Muscadet. The palate is riven with acidity, but there are punchy flavours here, tangy and ripe citrus, and a great thrust of that salt-licked, ozone acidity in the finish. 88/100. £7.99, Waitrose, in 183 branches.
Domaine de Pignan, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009, Rhône, France
A wine I absolutely loved I have to say. This is Châteauneuf at its maturing, softening, seductive best, where it has shaken of the brawn of youth to become something much more mellow and complex. A relatively pale hue with a tinge of brick on the rim, it has a soaring and soulful nose with game and truffle joining peppery spice-cupboard aromas, and a lovely weight of ripe berry fruits. On the palate everything is soft and luxurious, with a flood of fruit tinged with coffee and tobacco, a fine grip of tannin showing it has time ahead of it yet, and perfectly judged acidity. A very ‘complete’ wine and a delightful example of Châteauneuf at its most alluring – at a highly reasonable price – limited stocks, so do not delay. 94/100. £19.95, FromVineyardsDirect. STOP PRESS: Apologies, but this wine has now sold out.
sky’s the limit
Kopke, Colheita Port 1965, Douro, Portugal
I’ve recently visited this producer and tasted through a whole bunch of incredible old tawny Ports, this 1965 being one of the stars of the show. And as it is also 50 years old this year, it could just be the perfect birthday or anniversary gift you are looking for. Glowing, deep mahogany. Lots of shellac and old polished wood, curry leaf, varnish notes, but part of the intriguing nutty whole. Deep raisiny aromas too, clove and cinnamon. In the mouth a gorgeous Seville orange cut and decisiveness, the coffee and walnut cake sweetness and soulful depth is delicious, and this goes on and on. So long, perfectly balanced, and luscious without being at all cloying. 95/100. Around £160.00, see all stockists on wine-searcher