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best wines of August 2011

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

under six pounds


Rocca Vecchia, Falanghina 2010, Italy
A little Italian white from Puglia in the deep southeastern "heel" of Italy, this Falanghina has a nose of melon rind and apple skins, suggesting fruitiness but also a certain waxy grippiness. There are tiny notes of nuts and herbs too, in a very attractive profile. On the palate it bursts with flavour: lots of ripe, juicy melon again, and of ripe pear and apple, before a decisive core of lemony acidity. It finishes with a real squirt of fresh lemon and grapefruit that is tart and lip-smacking and which gives this inexpensive white great food-matching capabilites. More info and food match suggestions in the video. £5.99, The Co-operative. See full video review.

under a tenner


Blind River, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand
It is great to see that Majestic have picked this wine up, a real favourite of mine that was a casualty of Oddbins' demise. From the cool Awatere valley, around 10% was matured in older French oak barriques, and it has a to a touch of fig and nuttiness on the nose, but married to a pungent, oily green bean character: such vibrant, punchy aromatics. The palate is full, luscious and intensly concentrated. Fabulous stuff and one of Marlborough's best Saugvignons with its shimmering acidity and length. 92/100. The wine costs £12.49 from Majestic, but has just gone on a buy two at £9.99 each deal (Scottish shoppers can buy in singles at that price).

under twenty


Churton, Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008, New Zealand
I have picked this wine because it is extremely good, but also because I think it shows a lovely direction for Marlborough Pinot Noir: with 14% alcohol it is not shrinking violet, but it has beautiful restraint and elegance too, a real sense of the energy of the best Pinots from Burgundy and elsewhere. The fact that Churton have recently completed the transition to biodynamic farming may, or may not have something to do with that. Lovely fruit on the nose, with lots of fresh, breezy berry notes and a certain violet lift to the fragrance. The palate has lots of fresh, crunchy fruit too - a real chilled summer berry crunch - with very fine tannins, a warming infill of creamy oak and fresh, fresh acidity. 92/100. £19.95, Berry Bros & Rudd.

sky's the limit


Frank Cornelissen, Magma Rosso 8 VA 2009, Italy
From the island of Sicily, this no-sulphur, all natural wine comes from vineyard slopes near Mount Etna and is made from Nerello Mascalese. The vines are planted on their own roots at around 1000 metres altitude. This top wine from Cornelissen is always declassified if it does not reach the right quality level, as it was in 2005 for example. Hugely deep and muscular density, immediately liquoricy and tightly aromatic, with caraway seed but also violet notes. The palate has a wonderful, essential oil density with the cherry purity of the fruit still at the core, draped with those structural, dramatically dark elements. 95-96/100. Formidable stuff that will age. £91.00, Raeburn Fine Wines. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher.