My favourite wines tasted last month, in four price brackets.
under a fiver
Aldi, Moscato Spumante NV, Italy
Though Aldi and the other discounters are extending their wine ranges into slightly higher price brackets than were traditional, they still have a lot of stuff of middling quality on the shelves at or around a fiver. This sparkling Moscato from Piedmont is a seasonal wine, on the shelves in November until stocks run out I guess. It’s in the Moscato d’Asti style with only 6% alcohol and plenty of sweetness. It has good, authentic and pungent Moscato aromas, floral and grapey, with a little nettle quality. The palate has plenty of sweetness to offset good acidity. Perhaps not as subtle as a top wine from d’Asti, but delivers a lovely Christmas morning or Iles Flotanttes-matching mouthful at a very modest price. 85/100. £4.99, Aldi.
under a tenner
Taste the Difference 12 Year Old Sweet Pedro Ximenez, Spain
Sainsbury’s own label PX is made by Williams and Humbert, with grapes that were hand-picked and dried on straw mats before ageing in oak casks for a minimum of 12yrs. With residual sugar of 385g/l this is a sweet as you like and well up to any super rich dessert. Liquidised raisins, coffee, chocolate and a touch of Pontefract cake. Thick, rich and deliciously chocolaty and dark, the raisin and fudge, the rum-soaked concentration is gorgeous, the acidity pure and beautifully matched, and another example of a great PX – surely one of the great bargains of the wine word? 93/100. £8.00 for 50cl, Sainsbury’s.
Mullineux Wines, Kloof Street Red 2013, South Africa
Stars of the Swartland scene Chris and Andrea Mullineux fashion this red from 83% Syrah, and the rest made up of various Rhône varieties. What a terrific wine it is, just crammed full of joyous ripe fruit, but at the same time expressing their terroir through brilliant, if mostly ‘hands off’ winemaking. A swirl of smoke, a chunk of dark chocolate and a whole sackful of black berries on the nose, but also a little game and savoury, schist edge too. The palate delivers the same totally convincing mix of sweet, ripe and mouth-filling fruit and the structural and terroir-driven elements of herbs, smoky bacon, pepper and spice. Fabulous. 91/100. £12.45, Berry Bros. & Rudd.
sky’s the limit
Dom Pérignon, Vintage Champagne 1998 ‘P2’, France
The Wine Gang’s ‘Ultimate Champagne Evening’ was a treat as we tasted 10 exquisite top wines. But for me the star of the show was this late-disgorged release from Dom Pérignon. ‘P2’ or ‘Second Plenitude’, is a range of wines that will be released around 7 or 8 years later than normal, with that extra time having been spent on the lees. This has just the most fabulous and exotic aroma, with toast and nuttiness as is so typical of Dom Pérignon, but a wonderfully complex, perfumed, almost tropical nuance too, that lovely buttery brioche richness and endless layering. In the mouth the cushioning, rich mousse supports pin-sharp, mineral acidity, a thrilling length and line to this, whilst all the time those burgeoning, mouth-filling flavours and deeper notes begin to fill the palate. A fantastic Champagne I have to say. 98/100. From around £225.00 per bottle, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com.