September 2014 – Campo de Borja, Philippe Michel, Ventisquero, Pichon Baron

My favourite wines tasted last month, in four price brackets.

under a fiver

Waitrose, Campo de Borja Garnacha 2013, Spain
This excellent, screwcapped and modern Spanish red is brimming with crunchy, jammy fruit on the nose, a hint of nut husk dryness, but very inviting. The palate has plenty of fruit, a nice liquorice hint of concentration, and a powerful, well-balanced finish of spices, fruit and acidity. An excellent cheap wine. 86/100. £4.99, Waitrose.

under a tenner

Philippe Michel, Crémant du Jura 2012, France
This 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine from the Jura region of eastern France has been a gold-plated, stand-out bargain on the shelves of Aldi for a decade, and it is still bang on form. Beautifully and expensively packaged, it is a posh dinner party shoe-in with its relatively discreet apple aromas, always hinting at something luscious, nectarine and exotic, with a trace of honey too. The palate has extremely crisp and clean appeal, apples again, citrus, but it has a creamy mousse and is not at all tart. Delicious, long, classy and a bargain. 89/100. £7.29, Aldi.

under twenty

Ventisquero, Grey Pinot Noir 2012, Chile
From a single vineyard block of Ventisquero’s coastal vineyards in the cool Leyda Valley, this Pinot was aged one year in French oak. The nose is delightful, a soaring melange of toasty oak, bright, bright flower-touched red berries and pomegranate and vegetal and sappy notes. In the mouth the sweetness and rich, luscious character of the fruit is underpinned by the oak and by very smooth, silky tannins. There’s enough fat orangey acidity and that intriguing vegetal streak to add complexity in a big, but delightful Pinot. 91/100. £12.99,, see all stockists on

sky’s the limit

Château Pichon Baron, Pauillac 2nd Growth 2009, France
In my tasting of the 14 most recent vintages of this famous ‘super second’ Bordeaux in September two wines shared my top score of 96-97/100, this 2009 vintage and the 2005 vintage (with the 2010 on 96/100). Any/all would be fabulous wines to have in your cellar, but I have plumped for this one here. Prices for all are in the £110-£140 range. Soaring perfume from this, the lift, the flowers, the spices and exoticism is remarkably different from 2010, but for me equally attractive. Christian says the average temperature during the growing season was 2c higher in 2009. Again that wonderful core of black fruit, glossy and creamy, but elegantly ripe. On the palate this glorious flesh and substance, with cedary edges and tobacco to sweet, thick plum and blackcurrant fruit. Creaminess to the tannins here, real ripeness, with delicious fruit and acidity and lovely quality throughout. 96-97/100. £135.00, Berry Bros. & Rudd, see all stockists on