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top wines of October 2013

Domaine Clarence Dillon

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

under a fiver

Asda, The Wine Selection Barbera 2011, Italy
Made by the Araldica cooperative in Piedmont, this Barbera was easily the value for money champ at my recent tasting of over 100 Asda wines. At a ludicrous 4.25 (given the level of UK duty and VAT) it is a lovely little wine, made from 40-year-old vines and aged in a mixture of small French oak barrels and traditional large Piemonte oak vats for 12 months. Primary, inky, herb-scented stuff it shows abundant red fruity, bright quality. The palate is dry and deliciously pert and fruity - not too sweet, with that inky quality continuing, medium-bodied with a dry finesse. 85/100.

under a tenner

Bodega Sottano, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Argentina
This Mendoza estate showed an excellent Malbec too, but this rich and structured Cabernet sneaked it for me. Aged eight months in 2- to 3-year-old oak barrels, it has a deliciously juicy character that really shines with fabulous black fruit depth edged by a hint of herbal quality. Beautifully pitched on the palate too, there is a real sense of style and poise here despite the relatively high alcohol (14.5%), with the spice and vanilla playing a mean second fiddle to the pure, deep black fruit. 90/100. 9.99, WoodWinters. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

under twenty

Moulin Blanc, Blanc de Blancs 2012, France
The star of four terrific wines just tasted from the Loire's Moulin Blanc, this dry white table wine is composed of 65% Chenin Blanc and 35% Chardonnay and is made in a gently 'natural wine' style. There's a golden hint to the pale green colour. Really inviting,gently yeasty and salty nose, with a burgeoning sense of honey and almond richness amongst the fresh, ozone and apple aromas. Just delicious on the palate: massively tangy and vital, a core of apple cut by a squeeze of ripe lemon or orange maybe, the dry, nut husk quality hinting at a Fino Sherry without any real sense of the oxidation. It's the delicious core of sweet fruit that pushes through, nutty notes gathering again in the very long finish. Superb. For more information please watch the Wine of the Week video. 93/100. 14.95, ten-acre.com, quote Mourat10 for a 10% discount whilst stocks last.

sky's the limit

Blandy's, Terrantez Madeira 1976, Portugal
On my visit to Blandy's on Madeira I also tasted an extraordinary 1887 Verdelho, but given its price and rarity I have plumped for this superb Madeira from Blandy's instead. Dark, touched with mahogany colour. Delicate, exotic spices, lots of depth and lots of chocolate and rum and raising fudge, but it has that delicate freshness, hints of flowers and something light and ethereal too. Massively spicy palate, has the roasted spices, roasted plum and wonderful acidity, the tongue absolutely dancing on a knife edge of sweet and savoury/acid freshness, long, with tobacco and caraway, long and so brilliantly balanced. 96/100. Around 140, see all stockists on wine-searcher.