November 2013 – Asda, Escarpment, Berrouet, Berrys’ Champagne

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

under a fiver

Asda, Extra Special Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages 2012, France
A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, this is currently reduced to just a fiver from its normal £6.75, and at that represents excellent value. Plenty of red and black bramble and berry fruit sets the tone, that feeling of summer moving into autumn. On the palate there is spice and a lipstickly, primary quality to the fruit, but there is creaminess too, a silkiness of texture, the sweet raspberry jam melding with chocolate and something darker, into a long, spicy and satisfying finish. 86/100. £5.00 until January 2nd 2014.

under a tenner

Escarpment, Hinemoa Riesling 2009, New Zealand
Larry McKenna’s sweet, Botrytis Riesling is a little beauty at less than a tenner for the half bottle. With only 9.5% alcohol this retains plenty of freshness with an absolutely gorgeous herb and waxy nose, suggesting lemon and apple with a delicate nettle note. The palate has delicious sweetness. but loads of balancing acidity. Loads of clarity too, with moutain stream freshness and a long, pure finish. £9.89, Great Grog. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

under twenty

Jean-Claude Berrouet, Herri Mina Irouleguy Blanc 2011, France
I was super-impressed by this biodynamic certified white wine from Irouleguy in the Pyrenées mountains close to the Spanish border. A typical local blend of Gros Manseng with some Petit Courbu, it is also naturally fermented with indigenous yeasts. Peach skins and lemon rind on the nose are inviting and juicy, but there’s a suggestion of grippy character and some nuttiness too. The palate has real crunch, freshness and grip – a really gorgeous mouthful of vibrant stuff, shimmering with life. 93/100. Reduced from £13.95 to £11.95, Corney & Barrow.

sky’s the limit

Berrys’, Grand Cru Champagne ‘United Kingdom Cuvée’ NV, France
This is one of two wines that scored 93/100 in the mixed case that I have selected for wine-pages readers. The Churton Pinot Noir is superb too, but I did fall in love with this Champagne. Ironically the extraordinary discount Berrys’ has offered exclusively to wine-pages visitors brings both wines below £20, but I couldn’t resist including this which normally costs £26.95. Made entirely with grapes from the Grand Cru vineyards of Mailly, and with plenty of reserve wines adding depth to the blend, especially those aged in ex-Château Margaux barrels. Miniscule bubbles stream through the rich golden wine, and the nose combines fresh-baked biscuit warmth with saltiness and fat, generous lemony fruit. On the palate the cushion of mousse is sweet and soft, the fruit depth and complexity surprising with nectarine and tangerine fruity brilliance, and that long, long and refined mineral finish. A seriously good little Champagne this and looks very classy too. 93/100. £26.95, Berry Bros.