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wines of October 2003

These might be wines that have been reviewed during the month on wine-pages, or have appeared in my newspaper column, or they may be wines from a recent tasting that hasn't yet been written-up in a full-length report. There is a growing archive of these four of the best choices each month.

under a fiver
Trentham (Australia) Murphy's Shiraz 2001
I've been really impressed by Trentham's wines over the past few years. The nose is deep, soft, and solidly packed with damson plums and pepper. There's a background of tobacco and woodsmoke, leading on to a palate brimming with mulberry and plum and hints of chocolate and cedar. Acidity is quite generous and reined-back, but there's a spine of tannin that gives this backbone. A fabulous wine that punches way above its weight. £5.79, but for November it sneaks into "under a fiver" because Great Grog have reduced the price to £4.99 on both this, and the excellent Trentham Chardonnay. Put together a case mixed any way you like for £59.88 - that's a saving of £9.60, and delivery is free anywhere on the UK mainland. Great Grog

under a tenner
Château des Jacques (Beaujolais) Moulin à Vent 2001
I was delighted to visit this Beaujolais "cru" estate in October this year, having raved about these "super-Beaujolais" over the past couple of years. This estate is owned by Louis Jadot, who are investing heavily in the vineyards and winery, and producing Beaujolais that simply blows away preconceptions of bubblegummy, featherweight wines. The 2003 I tasted from barrel is potentially the most extraordinary Beaujolais I have ever tasted, but meanwhile I am very happy to recommend (and drink) the fine 2001. It has a beautifully sweet nose, where fudgy oak notes are integrated with creamy redcurrant fruit, and chocolaty, ripe berry aromas. On the palate it is broad and juicy, with an earthiness on the palate displaying spice and rich, deep tannins, but plenty of strawberry fruit and a plummy, chunky depth of flavour. Balanced and staying focused into a long finish, this is excellent. £9.99 - £10.99 Luvians, Waitrose

under twenty
Suckfizzle (Australia) White Wine 2001
Suckfizzle is a privately owned estate in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. They have gained something of a cult following since their first release in 1997, producing two estate wines in limited quantities, an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon red, and this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend. It has a hugely complex nose with piercing green fruit notes of fig, and apple, with green bean and nettles, layered with nuances of Brazil nut and toasty oak. On the palate it has a ripe, juicy greengage quality, with a big core of citrus, with searing lime acidity and a real sense of minerality. There is lushness here, but all tempered by those herbaceous hints and smoky oak. Long, with tantalising acidity, this is intriguing stuff, and Excellent. Around £16 from specialists including Luvians, selected Waitrose, Noel Young, Peckhams and Philglas & Swiggot

sky's the limit
Château Pichon-Lalande (Bordeaux) 2eme Cru 1982
A 100-Parker-point wine that I last drank about a year and a half ago. This has a very deep, dense colour, with fantastic sweetness on the nose; much more ripe and lush than the Haut-Brion, with pure cassis and a touch of sweet Asian dried plum as well as plenty of mellowing, cigar-box and background oak. The palate is so much sweeter too, with an amazing depth of glossy black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, with depths of plum and cocoa. Impeccable balance, with silky tannins and integrated acidity. Gorgeous stuff, and Outstanding. Over £200 per bottle: Seckford Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd and specialist brokers.