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wines of June 2009

great western wine

Wines on this page might have been reviewed during the month on wine-pages, or have appeared in my magazine columns, or they may be wines from a recent tasting that hasn't yet been written-up in a full-length report.

under a fiver

Errazuriz Chardonnay 2007, Chile
Errazuriz is a familiar wine name that is a by-word for reliabilty, yet I had to agree with some commentators that in the past couple of years its wines seemed to have gone off the boil just slightly. Well, on the evidence of four or five different wines from the latest vintages, tasted over the past couple of months, they are slap-bang back on form. This Chardonnay from the coastal Casablanca Valley illustrates the point, with its buttery, vegetal nose showing white fruit and a touch of toffee apple. The palate has good fruit too which, whilst not enormously intense or complex, is well-balanced, classy and crisp. The whole package delivers good value. Normally £6.24 at Majestic, but currently £4.99 when you buy two.

under a tenner

De Bortoli 'Windy Peak' Pinot Noir 2008, Australia
Nice, quite pale crimson colour, with a nose that exudes fireside warmth of smoky oak with touches of chocolate, briar and truffly undergrowth over ripe, Autumnal berry fruit. There's a little hint of something herby and green peppercorn-like, but very attractive. On the palate it has all that duvet-like warmth and softness, and though the mid-palate does give way fairly rapidly to nicely nippy tannins and acidity, this is deliciously drinkable. 88/100. Around £8.00, Sainsbury's and see all stockists on wine-searcher.com.

under twenty

Lowe Family Mudgee Zinfandel 2006, Australia
The wine, which brought Jane Wilson of Lowe Family Vineyard the International Wine Challenge trophy for Zinfandel in the 2005 vintage, has a cherry-scented and powerful nose with lots of lifted aromatics and spice from American oak. Some Dundee cake raisin and clove spice comes through. The palate has a juiciness to the fruit, with lots of slightly tart, berry fruit and those dusty Zinfandel tannins. This is a relatively subtle zin, but has all the varietal character. A fabulous rendition of Zinfandel from Mudgee in New South Wales. 92/100. £15.10 from Art du Vin, Edinburgh.

sky's the limit

Dry River Syrah 'Lovat' Amaranth 2006, New Zealand
Neil McCallum explains that to ripen phenolics in Syrah in Martinboroguh he must crop very low and make sure there is plenty of light exposure - light substitutes for heat in ripening phenolics. Absolutely beautiful nose, with savoury notes of olive and pepper, hints of clove and a very ripe, plush blue-black fruit. Fantastic fruit sweetness. This has a outstanding presence on the palate. The finish is huge, with the grip of the tannins and bittersweet plum-skin fruit playing against the copious sweetness. 95/100 ('Amaranth' indicates wines for extended cellaring). See all stockists on wine-searcher.