September 2013 – Spee’wah, Grange Cochard, Ornellaia

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

under seven pounds

Pizarras de Otero, Bierzo 2012, Spain
Lovely directness of fruit in this Mencia wine from Bierzo in northwest Spain: liquorice and a touch of leafy endive and dark herbs, a touch of roasted chestnut to the berry fruit. The palate has a similar, dry, juicy directness: the fruit is savoury and salty, a gamy edge to the berries in a distinctive, mouth-filling and relatively complex wine for its £6.99 offer price. 87/100. £8.74 on offer at £6.99, Majestic.

under a tenner

The Spee’wah, Crooked Mick Viognier 2012, Australia Wow. What a nose: a huge blast of green herbs, intense fruit and concentrated floral notes – not sure I’d have picked it as Viognier, but the trademark peachiness does come through and I love the impact. The palate just about matches that flamboyant intensity, with loads of crunch and vivacious acidity which is always so welcome in the sometimes flabby nature of Viognier. Do not buy it you prefer quiet, subtle wine – but it really is a cracker: racy and filled with personality. £8.99 at Raisin Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

under twenty

Grange Cochard, Morgon Côte du Puy 2009, France
From the famous hill of Côte du Puy, a volcanic outcrop of blue slate soil within the Beaujolais Cru of Morgon, easily identified from the lone tree silhouetted against the sky at its peak. This has a light overlay of oak, and is vibrant and still youthfull stuff. The nose is filled with briar and olive-like sappiness, with a really dry, savoury appeal. On the palate such racy raspberry but chocolate-edged fruit, superb length and concentration with a real sense of vitality and energy about this fine and undoubtedly age-worthy wine. 92/100. £18.00, WoodWinters, Berry Bros & Rudd. see all UK stockists on wine-searcher.

sky’s the limit

Ornellaia, Bolgheri Superiore DOC 2010, Italy
The 2010 is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. After fermentation in stainless steel the wines was aged for 18 months in barriques, around 70% of which were new. The colour is a saturated dark ruby with a tinge of purple. The nose is all restraint, class and sophistication as a delicate game and cedar emerges, then riper black fruits, but tobacco and smokiness, a certain earthiness, swirl around the blackcurrant giving this contemplative complexity. In the mouth it is hugely refined: there’s a sheen of gloss, of vanilla and coffee, and there is no shortage of sweet, bursting and creamy black fruits, but the tension of the super-slick tannins and fine cherry-skin acidity tug away at the finish. Hints of earthiness, spices and minerality give a real edge of precision and grip as much as the tannins, into a long, very fine and pure finish. A superb wine this, surely with two decades of cellaring potential, its burgeoning richness and structure beautifully balanced. 96/100. £147.10, Hedonism Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.