Tom Cannavan's   

value wine archives 2008-2009

Current value wines are here. Link to older archives at bottom of page.

white - red - rosé - sparkling - sweet

 white wines

Hilltop, Cserszegi Fuszeres 2008, Hungary
Wine of the week 21/03/10. The nose is filled with clear, floral-tinged fruit that has hints of exotic lychee, but is crisp and appetising. On the palate the wine has a bit of texture and weight, and a palate flooded with fruit reminiscent of passionfruit and really ripe, juicy pears. With fine acidity and just a hint of spice, this will make for delightful spring and summer drinking at a very modest price. £3.89, Morrisons.
(see full video review)

Yarra Hills, Chardonnay 2008, New Zealand
Wine of the week 28/02/10. Attractive nose, with moderate toast and spice, and a sense of luscious ripeness to the fruit. The palate is composed and quite fine, with plenty of juicy, citrus cut and a really nicely pitched, balanced finish. Intelligent stuff and a great bargain at the offer price (the partner Cabernet Sauvignon is a pleasingly plump, juicy wine too). £7.49, Majestic.
(see full video review)

Asda, Extra Special Alsace Gewürztraminer 2007
Wine of the week 24/01/10. Bacon fat blends (more harmoniously than you might think) with lychee and roses and some peachy fruit. On the palate this has a rich texture and is fruity and spicy, with a hint of residual sugar balanced by decent acidity, the full weight of the wine carrying through to the finish. A very decent, moderate Gewürztraminer at £6.98 in Asda.
(see full video review)

Peter lehmann, 'Wigan' Eden Valley Riesling 2003, Australia
Wine of the week 10/01/10. This wine has the lime cordial purity that's typical of Eden Valley, with nuances of flowers, orange peel and minerals, with the early signs of waxy maturity. In the mouth it is scintillating stuff, with fat, dry, limey fruit but riven with precise acidity and shimmering length. This is delicious but will also cellar for many years. £16.99, Oddbins (£13.59 as part of a mixed case).
(see full video review)

Tim Adams, Semillon 2008, Australia
Wine of the week 21/12/09. Fermentation in oak adds a depth of gently toasty and honeyed richness to the fat, waxy lemon fruit. On the palate this has a mouth-filling, expansive texture, with lots of that creamy, fat lemon fruit and a hint of something more tropical. Long, pure and zestily clean, it will also age for a decade - and would be a great Christmas day wine with the weight to cope with turkey, but the crispness to match to smoked salmon too. £9.99, Tesco.
(see full video review)

Domaine Pierre Gaillard, Roussanne Vin de Pays 2007, France
Wine of the week 29/11/09. Delightful touch of custard and honey on the nose, with a great ripeness of fruit beneath. The palate has a very tight focus, the sharp, lemon pith acidity pushing through. Orangy, fine fruit completes a picture of a Roussanne that has all the vibrancy and power of the grape, but also retains a keenly-honed edge that some examples lack. Lovely stuff from a vineyard that is in the middle of organic and biodynamic certification. £10.70, Berry Bros. & Rudd (£9.60 by the case).
(read full review)

Handmade, Chenin Blanc 2009, South Africa
Wine of the week 18/10/09. Classic green apple crunch, but seems to add an extra layer of vivacious, almost tropical fruit. On the palate it has a nicely creamy, rich texture, and although the vivid, forward fruit makes this easy to drink on its own, it has the acidity to match a wide variety of lighter dishes. £6.49, The Great Grog Co (
(see full video review)

Château du Coing de St Fiacre, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2007, France
Wine of the week 11/10/09. This Sur Lie wine is beautifully fresh, with an aromatic nose showing delightful apple fruit, but zesty notes too with lots of citrus punch. Great fruit on the palate, with a rich, leesy mouthfeel but pristine, mussel- and clam-friendly acidity. Only 12% alcohol too. Available for around £9.95 from from Bluebird Wine Shop, Hercules Wines and Richard Granger. See all stockist on
wine-searcher. (read full review)

Argento, Cool Climate Pinot Grigio 2009, Argentina
Wine of the week 04/10/09. Argento is an interesting brand, created as a joint venture between UK wine agency Bibendum Wines and the top Argentinean house of Catena Zapata. The noseof this wine is beautifully expressive, like a big bowl of ripe, juicy pears, with light floral and herbal touches. Nicely punchy fruit too, with more life and vivacity than many an Italian example of the ubiquitous PG. £5.99, in Majestic.
(read full review)

Cannonberg, Fairtrade Chenin Blanc 2009, South Africa
Wine of the week 27/09/09. Pristine, clean apple and lemon-fruited Chenin that just hints at a more tropical character. On the palate that crisp, taut nature of the fruit and acidity also betrays little luscious glimpses of pineapple and mango, but the freshness and clarity of the acidity is what wins through in a delicious and food-friendly, dry and crisp white. £5.25, L'Art du Vin (
(see full video review)

Terra Vecchia, Chardonnay Vermentino 2007, France
Wine of the week 13/09/09. In the mouth it has a full texture, and the apple and pear flavours are given a bit of herbal and floral complexity from the Vermentino. Well-balanced and with both sipping and food-friendly appeal, the addition of the Vermentino just elevates this above many £5.99 Chardonnays to offer both tasty and interesting drinking. £5.99, Somerfield.
(see full video review)

Errazuriz, Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2007, Chile
Wine of the week 30/08/09. Complex, layered nose with plenty of toasty oak, but also refined apple and melon fruit and a hint of nectarine. On the palate it is full-textured and rich, yet there is a decisive core of freshness and lemony acidity that makes it very savoury too. Long, well-balanced and very classy Chardonnay at a good price. £9.99, Majestic, The Co-operative, Taurus Wines.
(see full video review)

Viña Ventisquero, Yali Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Chile
Wine of the week 16/08/09. A mid-way Sauvignon, somewhere between Marlborough punch and tropical character, and a much more direct, steely Loire style. The palate has plenty of citrus acidity and a nicely creamy texture, leading to a longish, food-friendly finish. £6.49, Tesco, Majestic.
(see full video review)

McHenry Hohnen 3 Amigos White 2006, Australia
Wine of the week 26/07/09. A lovely nose with some cream and vanilla and dried apricot and sultana fruit amd a powerful palate with juicy orange and excellent balancing acidity. £11.99, Bablake Wines, Anne et Vin, Hennings, ND John, St Austell Brewery, Edward Sheldon, Planet of the Grapes, Handford Wines,
(see full video review)

Alain Grignon (France) Viognier 2008
Wine of the week 05/07/09. This Viognier captures all those Viognier characteristics of flowers, apricots and cream on the nose, and floods across the palate with a rich and mouth-filling texture, again creamy and filled with peachy fruit, but a certain lemon confit acidity means very good crispness and balance. £6.99, Majestic.
(see full video review)

La Chapelle (France) White 2008
Wine of the week 21/06/09. At first seems dominated by the grassy and elderflower character of the Sauvignon, but then an undertow of peachy fruit and lemon rind adds interest. On the palate it is punchy and vibrant, but it is not the more obvious asparagus and green bean punch of Sauvignon, but a decisive, mouthwatering panoply of citrus, white fruit and minerals with masses of zest and life. I drank this to great effect with an asparagus and pea risotto. £5.95,, who offer free delivery. (more)

Errazuriz (Chile) Chardonnay 2007
Wine of the week 14/06/09.This Chardonnay from the cool, 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, and the whole package delivers good value at £6.24, Majestic.

La Motte (South Africa) Pierneef Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Wine of the week 24/05/09. Exudes class from the first sniff of its delicately tropical fruit, cut by a whiff of flint and smoke, and only hinting at more herbaceous, pea-shoot character. It has huge zest and zing on the palate, with passionfruit and guava succulence, but everything is tempered and well-balanced, with a core of acidity and that background, flinty minerality leaving this brimming with life. Top-drawer Sauvignon Blanc. £10.99, Tesco.

Clotilde Davenne (France) Sauvignon Saint-Bris 2007
Wine of the week 10/05/09. The village of Saint-Bris-le-Vineaux is exceptional within Burgundy, as Sauvignon is the only grape allowed, not the usual Chardonnay and Aligoté. The style is distinctly one of Loire-like intensity and minerality rather than New Zealand flamboyance, but there's an extra dimension of lemony cut and apple flvour, as well as quite a richly-textured palate. Shimmering, flavourful stuff. £7.95,
FromVineyardsDirect. (more)

Anakena (Chile) Viognier 2008
Wine of the week 12/04/09. The absolute essence of liquefied apricot on the nose, with little Botrytis-like touches of honey and marmalade. On the palate the fruit is just as bountiful and ripe, but acidity is good, and though the thick texture and opulence of the wine is unmistakable, this just hangs on to its savoury, food-friendly character. Absolutely terrific and a real bargain at the Wine Rack 'three for two' price. £8.49, Thresher and Wine Rack, but buy three @ £5.99 each.

Bonterra (USA) Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 15/03/09. Aromas of peach and passionfuit kick things off, with a touch of gooseberry and lychee and a hint of nettles. On the palate it is really quite vibrant and punchy, with a bit of marlborough-like verve and swagger, but a slightly more mineral, white fruit and lemon and lime core starts to build into a savoury finish. £9.99, Waitrose and Ocado.

Hartenberg (South Africa) Weisser Riesling 2007
Wine of the week 01/03/09. Around 30% of the grapes were Botrytis affected, adding just a touch of honey and apricot to otherwise clean, zesty, herbal aromas with hints of wax and a touch of paraffin. The palate has some lemon rind, waxy fatness, but then keen acidity leads into a juicy, concentrated finish which is off-dry, with a nice combination of tang and richness. A versatile wine for drinking as an aperitif or with food. £8.95,
H&H Bancroft. (more)

Montana (NZ) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Wine of the week 15/02/09. The attractive elderflower and gently herbaceous nose is softened by passionfruit and lifted, tropical aromas with touches of lychee and even Turkish delight. On the palate the texture is quite rich and creamy, which helps to marry the bold, pungent flavours of gooseberry and green pepper with a succulent, tropical mid-palate and tangy grapefruit finish. Stylish and well-made, this is an excellent example of its style. £7.99, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons.

Moselland (Germany) D:Vine Pinot Grigio 2008
Wine of the week 25/01/09. Crunchily fresh wine with notes of pear on the nose, as well as a touch of greengage and a hint of something floral. On the palate it is a decisive core of sharp, zesty lemon fruit and acidity that sparks this into life, cutting through more tropical fruit and giving some real bite on the dry finish of this screw-capped wine. I guess some will be asking whether we actually need a new Pinot Grigio from Germany, but there's no denying this is a very nicely made and pitched example. £4.98, Asda.

Pewsey Vale (Australia) Eden Valley Riesling 2008
Wine of the week 11/01/09. The nose has white flowers and lime zest with little touches of hay and even a hint of Paraffin - but not too much. On the palate this is a dry Pewsey Vale, with the mouth simply flooded with fresh-cut lime and crunchy apple fruit and acidity. It begins to reveal little sub-strata of minerality, a hint of juicy peaches and plenty of firm, bracing acid structure that extends into a long finish. These wines cellar remarkably well, but this is invigorating and delicious right now. £9.99, Oddbins, or £7.99 by the case.

Weingut Leitz (Germany) Rüdesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett 2007
Wine of the week 30/11/08. Filled with a pure but ripe, fat, lemony, confident fruit. The palate has glorious clarity: this is like a laser beam, focusing in from a broad, expansive, peachy ripe base to a pin-point of precision on the finish as the glittering mineral acidity sweeps through. Wonderful and thrilling stuff at a very reasonable price - and bottled in screwcap. £8.99, Waitrose (only in 192 branches and online).

Argento (Argentina) Artesano Chardonnay 2007
Wine of the week 23/11/08. The nose has quite an opulent cashew nut and honey character, as well as rich, dried apricot fruit with a hint of lime. On the palate there is no denying the power and substance of this wine, with concentrated fruit that is peachy and ripe, but cut by vivid acidity and that background support of the toasty, nutty oak. A very nicely-pitched Chardonnay this, and delivering genuine complexity for the price. £8.99, Majestic.

Rocca di Tufo (Italy) Orvieto 2007
Wine of the week 09/11/08. Whilst the nose is crisp and fresh, it also has alluring depth, with hints of nuts and honey over fat, waxy lemon fruit. There is something distinctly mineral too. On the palate this has that same knife-edge balance: there is richness, a glimpse of nutty oxidation and full-bodied, sweetly-ripe fruit, but the clarity of the acidity and long, mineral and lemon zest finish fills the mouth with its tension and vivacity. Terrific stuff, that has a bit of grip too and I'm certain has cellaring potential. £8.85, (more)

Herdade do Esporão (Portugal) Esporão Reserva White 2007
Wine of the week 12/10/08. There's a very lightly spritzy character at first, with a sherbetty quality, but then intriguing herbal notes and nutty nuances from the oak come through. The palate has a mouth-filling apple fruitness, that is sweet and juicy, but all the time that tugging weight of oaky spice and warmth, and excellent acidity, add tension and complexity. £9.95, See all stockists on (more)

Castillo de Molina (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 28/09/08. Fairly zings along on the nose with aromas of fresh pea pods, asparagus and a slightly flinty note. There's good, zesty lemon fruit too. On the palate that flinty, lightly smoky quality persists, as does that blast of verdant leafiness. There's a juicy, mouth-watering minerality here too, with cool, refined fruit flavours that stop short of out and out tropicality, hinting more at fresh-squeezed lime. Balanced and very long, this may cost as much as a decent Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but I say why not on this evidence. £7.99, Majestic.

Domaine Wachau (Austria) Wachau Collection Grüner Veltliner 2007
Wine of the week 14/09/08. This is a little star is a seriously authentic and delicious expression of 'Gru-V', with white pepper, herbal and floral notes set against sweet, ripe pear fruit. There's a hint of opulence on the palate, but such juicy orange acidity streaks through the finish that this is mouth-watering and brilliantly easy to drink. £6.50, Tanners.

Arniston Bay (South Africa) Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Wine of the week 07/09/08. Nose of fresh pea shoots melding into a gently tropical, lychee and guava fruitiness. There's a little hint of grapefruit zest too, in a nice aromatic picture. On the palate this is pretty much dry, with those tropical fruit notes of exotic fruit and melon submerged over a much more citrussy, keen and sharp flavour profile, where the little bit of Sauvignon grassiness persists too. It falls away rather rapidly, and there's a sense that the wine just lacks a bit of concentration, but this is good value on the current offer. £7.99, Co-op, but £3.99 on offer until September 14th 2008.

Inama (Italy) Soave Calssico 2006
Wine of the week 24/08/08. This Soave Classico is a particularly aromatic example with a fine combination of taut precision and fruity ripeness. The nose seems to have an extra element of complexity, with stony minerality and a slightly leafy, herbal edge to white fruit aromas. The palate is poised and beautifully defined, hinting at ripe sweetness of that pear and almost peachy fruit, but all given tension and drama by racy structural acidity and the sheer purity of the fruit. £12.99, Majestic.

Oxford Landing (Australia) Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 10/08/08. A nose of flowers and peach, delicately spiked with lime. On the palate it is that citrus character that drives this wine, with just a hint of tropical sweetness swept away in a dry, zesty finish. Good quality in a savoury, intelligent style of Sauvignon this, and great to see a big brand delivering the goods year after year. £5.99, Majestic, Waitrose, Tesco, widely available.

Quinta de Azevedo (Portugal) Vinho Verde 2007
Wine of the week 20/07/08. This is a crisp, breezy and contemporary take on Vinho Verde, with just 5g/l of residual sugar and a touch of added C02 to give it the barest petillance. It is beautifully fresh on the nose, with quite limpid pear fruit and just a. There's a touch of waxy, leesy character and some floral aspects too. The palate has a little more richness, but a lemon rind bite and again a verve and cut of acidity comes through, with persistent fruit. Deliciously quaffable - bring on the sunshine. £5.99, Waitrose, Majestic, Wine Society.

Domaine Bonfils (France) Blanc Neuf La Bastide 2006
Wine of the week 29/06/08. An enticing melange of dried apricot, ripe, juicy nectarine and the vanilla and almond toastiness. There's a little hint liquorice or caraway seed, in an aromatically complex wine. On the palate it shows lovely restraint, with a fat, lemony core dominating, and the more lush, stone-fruit flavours of peach and apricot layered beneath. The wine stays beautifully balanced with its moderate 13.0 alcohol, and finishes with crisp lemon and white fruit acidity. £8.25, Laithwaites, £6.67 equivalent by the case.

Yali (Chile) Winemaker's Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 15/06/08. This wine was aged - in steel tanks - on its lees, which were stirred regularly to give it extra body and richness. The nose has just a faint grassiness, with plum and peach aromas and a twist of lemon. On the palate it is quite weighty, with lime and crunchy apple rather than anything overtly tropical, and a nice balance of acidity keeping it fresh and food-friendly. This is an intelligent, tasteful Sauvignon. £5.99, Majestic.

Anta da Serra (Portugal) Vinho Branco 2006
Wine of the week 25/05/08. Vibrant, punchy nose, crammed with ripe stone fruit aromas of yellow plum and pear, but also hints of melon and nectarine, with a just a background hint of something herbal. On the palate it is medium-bodied but quite silky, and the punch and crunch of the fruit comes through powerfully, with all the fruit sweetness tempered by crisp, taut acidity and a refreshing minerality. Delightful stuff this. £6.16, Laithwaites.

Lourensford (South Africa) Viognier 2007
Wine of the week 11/05/08. The nose leaps from the glass, with classic Viognier notes of apricot and ripe pear, and a background of creamy vanilla with a nuance of ginger and cinnamon. On the palate it is fairly full and rich with 14% alcohol, but the fruit stays pure and cool through the mid-palate, and there's just enough juicy orange acidity to leave this relatively crisp. A note too that this wine is suitable for vegetarians - which with national Vegetarian Week from May 19 - 25, is good timing. £6.99, Tesco.

Vergelegen (South Africa) Chardonnay 2005
Wine of the week 27/04/08. Powerful, toasty oak amd malolactic yeastiness dominates the nose, with toasted oats and some burnt orange, marmalade fruit. On the palate this has a nice balance of power and racy quality, with a cool core of lemony acidity and rich, creamy fruit. £8.79, Averys, Majestic, Henderson Wines, The Wine Cellar. At time of writing, AG Wines is also listing the 2004 of this wine.

Coriole (Australia) Fiano 2007
Wine of the week 30/03/08. The nose is wonderfully expressive, with delicate floral notes, and a honeyed character suggesting gently toasted almond and crushed oatmeal. There is plenty of ripe, juicy pear fruit too. On the palate this has a full, silky texture, and is a wine that whilst modest in alcohol at 13%, feels rich and concentrated. There's more of that sweet, mouth-filling pear fruit, and a fine balancing core of juicy citrus acidity. Long and flavoursome, this is an impressive rendition of a classic Italian style, though there are only a couple of dozen bottles available. £11.59, Great Grog.

Jose Maria da Fonseca (Portugal) Periquita White 2007
Wine of the week 16/03/08. These wines come from the Setubal peninsula, south of Lisbon. A blend of native Arinto and Moscatel, the white has a delicately perfumed, attractively floral nose little white flower and pear drop notes, and a subtle background spiciness. On the palate the sweetness of the fruit in this 12% alcohol wine powers through, with crisp citrus and more ripe, juicy orchard fruit notes, and good acidity. £4.99, Waitrose.

Sacred Hill (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 02/03/08. Vivacious, tropical-fruited nose, bursting with lychee, mango and pineapple, and that typically grassy, verdant pungency lying just behind. On the palate this has superb mouthfeel, with a big, lush palate of vivid tropical fruit sweeping over the tongue, chased and harried along by crisp, refined, citrus and white fruit acidity. This is a very intelligently styled wine, with the punch and explosive fruitiness that Marlborough does so well, but its unctuous richness is also balanced and refined in the finish. In other words: delicious. £7.99, Tesco, Morrisons.

Errázuriz (Chile) Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 20/01/08. The nose is beautifully pitched, with a luscious sense of tropical, ripe fruit, but a very nice grassy and currant leaf cut, and zest Kaffir lime leaf nuances. On the palate a beautifully cool, clear, prsitine fruit character, with echoes of that tropical mango and nectarine fruit, but a blast of tangerine and fresh, fat, juicy lime and a constraining edge of minerality give this lovely cut and precision. Juicy and mouthwatering, yet with plenty of fruit, substance and length, this is a tour de force Sauvignon form Errazuriz. £9.95, Berry Bros & Rudd, £8.95 by the case.

Oyster Bay (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Wine of the week 06/01/08. Verdant aromas of nettles and green peppers vie with juicy, tantalisingly ripe tropical fruit. On the palate this is very successfully pitched, with some elegance and raciness and plenty of tangy freshness. The fruit is succulent and ripe without being too obvious and sweet, and it is a wine that keeps you coming back for another sip. This wine is often to be found a pound or two cheaper - it's £5.99 when you buy two in Majestic currently. £7.99, Majestic, Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Tesco, Thresher.

 red wines

Cono Sur, Reserve Pinot Noir 2008, Chile
Wine of the week 26/04/10. For this wine 85% of the fruit comes from a single vineyard in Casablanca, and ageing is in all-French oak. The nose has lots of gamey, earthy Pinot character, as well as copious berry fruit and a deep, smoky edge. On the palate it floods the mouth with soft, sweet strawberry and raspberry pulp fruit, underpinned by that chocolaty, generous oak. £7.99, Tesco and the Co-operative.
(see full video review)

Caves Saint-Pierre, Gigondas 2007, France
Wine of the week 12/04/10. Actually, there are a pair of Wines of the Week this week: both from Caves Saint-Pierre, one a straightforward, juicy and fruity Côtes-du-Rhône from 2008 that's in Tesco, Somerfield and Sainsbury's for around £6.00, and this superior Gigondas from the great Rhône vintage of 2007. The Gigondas offers a much deeper, more intense wine experience with its meaty and peppery edges to beautifully focused red fruits. £12.99, Tesco.
(see full video review)

Winegrowers of Ara, Pathway Pinot Noir 2008, New Zealand
Wine of the week 28/03/10. Smoky on the nose, with a lovely sweet beetroot quality and dried cranberry and raspberry fruit. There's a hint of sappiness and freshness to the character that carries through on the palate. The finish shows some more of that sappy, earthy character. Dry and food-friendly stuff that gives a very good indication of the style of wines from this producer. £9.99, Morrison's.
(see full video review)

Langmeil, Valley Floor Shiraz 2008, Australia
Wine of the week 14/03/10. A veneer of spice, vanilla and American oak, but a lovely lift of cherry and blueberry fruit. On the palate it delivers a huge, mouth-filling plum pie flavour with sweet fruit, pastry vanilla notes and lots of chocolaty depth. It is big but balanced, in a beautifully confident - and delicious - style. £12.00 or so, see all stockists on (see full video review)

Quinta de Chocapalha, Tinto 2006, Portugal
Wine of the week 14/02/10. Dense, dark and liquoricy on the nose, this blend of various Portuguese grapes with a touch of Syrah has a serious, sinewy quality with edgy cherry and dark plum fruit, and a savoury, earthy appeal. On the palate it is firm and focused, with a lean, blackcurrant and olive seam running through the wine. This is the opposite of jammy. Note, price is £9.99, not £9.72 as stated in video, from Corney & Barrow.
(see full video review)

Castello Banfi, Rosso di Montalcino 2007, Italy
Wine of the week 31/01/10. This Sangiovese from Castello Banfi has expressive tobacco and herbal edges to cherry fruit, and something a little bit earthy and gamy. On the palate it has crisp definition. A medium-bodied wine with savoury bite, it is drinking very well and will partner grilled meats or pasta with meaty sauces. Reduced from over £15 to £7.82 £7.82 until February 14th 2010, Bibendum.
(see full video review)

Château Faîteau Minervois La Livinière 2005, France
Wine of the week 17/01/10. Packed with flavour and personality, the nose is rich with bramble jam and dark, reduced plum sauce, and the palate filled with dry, meaty, leathery fruit and tannins, but not without some real fruit sweetness and very good balance. Should age gracefully, but delicious now with wintery casseroles. £9.95, (see full video review)

Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006
Wine of the week 13/12/09. The style is part way between the opulence of some New World pinots and the structure and subtlety of some Burgundian examples. It has delightfully clear cherry fruit on the nose, but a smoky, earthy, autumnal complexity too. On the palate the cherry fruit carries through, and the vanilla and cream softness is there, but never losing its focus of tannins and acidity. A lovely combination of weight and finesse makes it delicious and adaptable. £19.99, Waitrose, Majestic.
(see full video review)

Castillo de Albai, Rioja Reserva 2005, Spain
Wine of the week 06/12/09. It surprised me when I read this wine had been aged in 100% new American oak barrels: there's none of the overblown vanilla extract and coconut character that might suggest. Instead the wine is spicy and cedary, with tobbaco edges to fresh red berry and cherry fruit. In the mouth the wine has lovely mid-palate concentration of fruit, with refined tannins and a juicy structure. Good value too, at an honest price. £7.48, Asda.
(see full video review)

Georges Dubouef, Beaujolais Nouveau 2009, France
Wine of the week 22/11/09. This BojoNovo is joyous stuff, not meant to be taken seriously, just enjoyed. It brims with cherry, raspberry and watercolour paint-box aromas and has a bouyant palate of bright red fruit nicely lifted and cut by acidity, with a hint of chocolate in there and no real tannin to speak of. Match it to roast chicken or some cold roast beef and it is a treat. £5.99, Majestic.
(see full video review)

Chono Reserva Syrah 2006, Chile
Wine of the week 01/11/09. Bright, peppery and spicy nose, with keen, juicy red fruit and a wild, garrigue and game edge. The palate is just fabulous - lovely fruit, thick, rich and sweet but riven with clear acidity and deliciously ripe tannins. A beautifully expressive and balanced wine, and a great bargain. £7.55,
Berry Bros & Rudd (£6.80 by the case). (more)

Warwick Estate, First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, South Africa
Wine of the week 20/09/09. Green pepper and herbaceous side of Cabernet Sauvignon, with black fruit and cedar from some ageing in older barrels. On the palate this just bursts into life, with a beautifully sweet core of cassis fruit that powers through the wine, and whilst those little peppercorn and leafy notes persist, and that cedary, savoury background, this is very nicely balanced and structured into a long finish. £9.99, Waitrose, Wholefoods, Raeburn Fine Wines.
(see full video review)

Festivo, Malbec 2006, Argentina
Wine of the week 06/09/09. A nicely expressive Malbec with classic plum fruit, and delightful nuances of cedar and a floral character. On the palate it is smooth and opulent, with Christmas cake flavours of spices, raisins, cherry and plum. It is not the most complex of Malbecs, but it is beautifully made, delicious and very good value. £8.60, L'Art du Vin, Edinburgh (; Friarwood Wine.
(see full video review)

Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Barnabés 2007, France
Wine of the week 23/08/09. Clear, crisp, bright and crunchy blackberry and raspberry fruit, but a decisive tang of something mineral and smoky too. On the palate, it is very fresh indeed - it is the antithesis of big, vanilla-rich Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrahs, instead being lithe and crisp, with plenty of acidity and an almost white wine-like vibrancy. £8.95,
(see full video review)

Devil's Corner, Pinot Noir 2008, Australia
Wine of the week 09/08/09. Attractively smoky nose, with focused cherry fruit and lots of herbal character too. On the palate it is medium-bodied and has good, grippy tannins and cherryish acidity, but a sweeter strawberry fruit fill in through the mid-palate. A nice half-way style between sweet, easy-drinking fruity Pinot and a wine with a bit of food-friendly edge and structure. £9.99, Hawkshead Wines, Noel Young, Bon Coeur, Michael Jobling, Novum, Weavers, Wine Hound. Ballantynes and Amps list the 2007.
(see full video review).

Reserve Saint Clair, Puisseguin St Emilion 2006, France
Wine of the week 19/07/09. At £13.99 it would be hard to recommend, but at £6.99 it is a good buy with its classic cherry and blackcurrant nose given a savoury edge by cedary, older oak and a black olive twist, The palate has a bit of structure with tannins and acids keeping the finish savoury and quite chewy. As a £6.99 claret, a good buy. £13.99, but £6.99 until July 29th 2009, Tesco.
(see full video review)

Washington Hills (USA) Merlot 2006
Wine of the week 12/07/09. Something a bit different as it comes from the cool Washington state on the US West Coast. On the nose it has a touch of tomato and soft strawberry fruit, and the palate has more of that soft, easy drinking style, but with a bit of structure. Not a wine for keeping, but delivers a lot for £5.99 in The Cooperative.
(see full video review)

Campo Aldea (Spain) Rioja Graciano 2005
Wine of the week 31/05/09. Big, gamy and super ripe on the nose with masses of deep, plummy fruit and a great sense of richness. The palate has relatively restrained, lightish mid palate, where the spice of the 24 months in French and American oak comes through strongly, but it delivers a great deal of rich, full fruit that builds in the finish as smooth, silky tannins and good acidity grip. It's terrific that a wine such as this is available on the high street. Available in 200 stores and online, it costs £9.99, Marks & Spencer.

Masi Tupungato (Argentina) Passo Doble 2007
Wine of the week 17/05/09. Dark, liquorice and chocolate nose with deep cherry and plum fruit and a touch of leather. There is a lot of interest aromatically, and that kirsch-like, cherry lift carries through to the palate where a keen, spice and chicory edge to the fruit combines with freshening acidity to leave this savoury and moreish. The 2006 is still drinking very well too if you find it on the shelves. £10.99, Oddbins, but widely available in independents too. See UK stockists on (more)

Skillogalee (Australia) Basket Pressed Shiraz 2005
Wine of the week 03/05/09. Alluring nose, where a curranty, rich darkness marries with a bold, juicy black cherry core, and complex, peppery notes of spices, leather and tobacco are layered beneath. On the palate the broadly-painted canvas is daubed with thick, sweet fruit, but that core - a spine - of acidity, firm tannins and complex oak lingers into a long, sweetly-tuned finish. Around £13.00, Booths, The Fine Wine Co, Nidderdale Fine Wines, Hic Wines.

Doña Dominga, Reserva Carmenère Shiraz 2006
Wine of the week 26/04/09. Abundant raspberry and cherry juiciness on the nose, with a little glimpse of Syrah white pepper and a touch of chocolate and spice. The palate is firm, with a fairly hard, rustically chewy edge to the tannins, but the broad plummy weight of the fruit persists through the mid-palate, and this wine finishes with the fruit holding up against the spicy character and rather lean, savoury tannins that suggest it would be best with a juicy steak or other robust dishes. £6.99, Waitrose.

De Bortoli (Australia) Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2008
Wine of the week 19/04/09. Brimming with smoky, swirling, tobacco and strawberry pulp aromas, there's a schisty, earthy edge and plenty of complexity. On the palate the fruit is intensely sweet - really pinging across the mid-palate with its concentration - and yet the spice, warm, truffle and woodsmoke complexity and structural line of the tannins and acidity never waivers. Truly great Pinot at its price this, and I have to say it would be pretty damn good if it cost twice as much. £9.99, Sainsbury's.

Hans Nittnaus (Austria) Pinot Noir 2004
Wine of the week 29/03/09. Delicate, cherry-fruited nose with a touch of cranberry and something nutty too. There's a nice PInot background of gentle smoke and damp earth. On the palate it is medium-bodied and fresh, with modest fruit but a nicely-balanced character where a touch of spice and smoke mingles with good cherry acidity and a fine tannin structure to give a bit of length and finesse. At this price, a bit of a bargain. £8.95 from Lea and Sandeman's London stores or
website. (more)

Pena de Pato (Portugal) Dão Tinto 2005
Wine of the week 22/03/09. Plenty of bright, chunky, raspberry and cherry fruit with a suggestion of something intriguingly aromatic: spices or herbs. On the palate it is medium-bodied and smooth-textured, with copious black cherry fruit flooding the mouth. Acidity is good, and the tannins are creamy and quite refined for such a chunky, direct wine. Lovely stuff and persistent on the finish. £6.99, Waitrose and Majestic.

Fincas Las Moras (Argentina) Mora Negra 2005
Wine of the week 08/03/09. Sumptuous nose, flooded with deep, sweet, cassis and bramble fruit that has a dark chocolate depth backed up with spicy, cedary notes from ageing 15 months in French and American oak. On the palate the ripe fruit powers through, filling the mouth with black fruit sweetness, but then there's a nice core of dusty, nicely grippy tannins and some cleansing cherry acidity. The depth and gloss of the fruit, and more of that chocolate and spice, builds again on the finish. £12.49, Majestic, but on offer at £9.74 until 31st March 2009.

Fairview (South Africa) Pinotage 2007
Wine of the week 22/02/09. This has cherry and black berry fruit on the nose, a little hint of orange peel and some coffee and chocolate beneath. On the palate it is dry and savoury, the firm-edged tannins giving a bit of muscle and heft to ripe berry flavours and the juicy cherry acidity cutting through some spice and toast on the finish. This may not be the most profound example of this variety, but it displays Pinotage's freshness well and might just convert some sceptics. £8.50-8.99, Cooden Cellars, Flying Corkscrew, Hennings, Highbury Vintners, Arthur Rackham, Bradgate Wines Direct.

Domaine Sol-Payré, Cuvée Ivresse de Sens 2006
Wine of the week 09/02/09. Soaring nose of cassis and kirsch. There's a promise of richness and depth here, with a luxurious gloss and lifted, almost violety aromatic. The palate does not disappoint, with a striking, sweet core of black berry fruits, the mid-palate flooded with a creamy weight of fruit and supple, chocolaty tannins adding more texture. But this is fresh too, with good acidity and a balanced, long finish. Lovely stuff this in a plush and pleasurable, yet ultimately savoury style. £10.50, Leon Stolarski Fine Wines.

Domaine Cazes (France) Hospice de Catalans Côtes de Roussillon Villages 2006
Wine of the week 18/01/09. This screams of the hot, rocky soils and garrigue of the south, with notes of crisp, bright, juicy cherry and berry fruit and black peppery nuances, and that schisty, stony minerality persisting. On the palate it balances exuberant, bold fruitiness with a certain darkness and tension from a gamy, sauvage undertone and grippy, intense tannins. A striking style this, with an edgy character through that mineral racininess to the fruit, tannins and acidity. It packs a lot into the bottle for its '3-4-2' price of just £5.99. £8.99, Thresher, or £5.99 each when you buy three.

Casa Santos Lima (Portugal) Quinta de Bons-Ventos 2006
Wine of the week 04/01/09. Lovely nose of deep, ripe berry fruits like brambles and blackcurrants, but it is infused with an earthy smokiness too, helped along by a few months ageing in barrel. The palate delivers a big, chunky mouthful of wine that is powerful and rich, with a hearty quality of robust fruit and food-friendly, meaty tannins. Acidity is good too, but the wine maintains that juicy fruit quality into a dark, liquoricy finish. £5.49, Oddbins.

Henry Fessy (France) Brouilly Cuvée Georges Fessy 2007
Wine of the week 21/12/08. Expressively Gamay, with lifted cherry aromatics and just hints of swirling, smoky spice and earth beneath. On the palate it is juicy and vital, with a firm core of tannins and a steely streak of bitter cherry, but the ripeness and generosity of the fruit is there to balance in a structured and focused wine. A fine contender for roast turkey or duck too. £10.95, Handford, Amps, Planet of Grapes,

Viña Chocalan (Chile) Carmenère 2007
Wine of the week 14/12/08. It is really quite plush, with a nice sense of incense-lke, camphor and smoky character from 20% barrel ageing. The palate has great fruit sweetness and depth, with lovely chocolaty tannins and a rich, tobacco-infused finish. Very classy stuff this. £7.00, Woods Winters, Noel Young, House of Menzies and other independents. See all stockists on (more)

Domaine Preignes Le Vieux (France) Alicante Par Preignes 2007
Wine of the week 07/12/08. A certain schisty, muscular quality on the nose with masses of blue-black fruit; a really glossy, tight, deep-seated fruit quality. The palate too has a density, with no shortage of fine-grained tannin and nuances of chocolate and plum filling the mouth. There's a lot of wine here for the money, and structure as well as copious fruit. £6.49, Majestic.

Salentein (Argentina) Selection 2006
Wine of the week 16/11/08. This French oak-aged bottling has a rich, warming nose of blackcurrant and blueberry, with smoky, plummy notes and some cedary spice. It fills the mouth with sweet black fruit with touches of coffee, more spices and chocolate, delivering a plush but quite complex mouthful of wine. Big, but certainly beautiful at a most unpretentious price, this also lingers on the palate with a good balance of spicy tannins and acidity. Really lives up to the old cliché of 'over-delivering' this one. £7.99, Tesco.

Asda Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Italy) 2007
Wine of the week 02/11/08. Precious few wines costing less than £3.00 would be suitable for 'wine of the week', but this is an exception: it is a light ruby colour, and a nosed of slightly spicy, red plum and cherry fruit. On the palate there is genuine personality here, and I have to say the fruit is excellent, with that slightly herbal edge and twist of typical Italian bitter cherry acidity to softer berry and plum flavours. £2.98, Asda.

Estancia Piedra (Spain) Toro 'Azul' 2006
Wine of the week 26/10/08. The aromas are schisty and bright, with crisp but deeply glossy black fruit and a hint of something mineral behind. On the palate there's more of that dashing minerality that means this wine stays fresh and vital from first to last, but the fruit is copious with mouth-filling blackberry and just a touch of black chocolate. Tannins are suede-like and creamy, acidity is good, and the overall package is layered and intense. Terrific stuff with bags of personality. £7.95,
Berry Bros & Rudd (£7.15 by the case). (more)

Finca Las Moras (Argentina) Alma Mora Malbec 2007
Wine of the week 19/10/08.The nose is mostly about quite dark, seductive smoke and plum with some spicy toast in the background. There's no sign of the blue/black, violetty character of top-notch Argentine Malbec, but it is an attractive profile. On the palate this continues in a similar vein, with swirling, smoky and charry aromas dominating red berry and plum fruit. The tannins and acidity are very low, meaning this doesn't have a lot of staying power, but on offer until October 26th 2008 at £3.99 this is easy to drink and easy to recommend. £7.99, but £3.99 until October 26th 2008, The Co-op.

Trentham Estate (Australia) La Famiglia Nebbiolo 2005
Wine of the week 05/10/08. Matured in older French oak barrels for 18 months, it is very distinctive, with a high-toned character of leaf tea and bright, focused strawberry fruit with lovely floral nuances. The fruit is smooth and lusciously sweet. There's a great juiciness and energy to this, with those exotic, floral and herbal characters coming through against svelte, fresh tannins and good acidity. Unusual, and terrific. £8.99, Great Grog Company (free delivery in mainland UK via (more)

Viu Manent (Chile) Secreto Carménère 2007
Wine of the week 21/09/08. Intense purple colour and a big, mineral and cedar nose, with charcoal, coffee and black fruit. The fruit on the palate is very pure and ripe, with a charry-edged blackcurrant character that is plush and sweet, before espresso and liquorice beefs up the finish. Balanced and with a long, savoury finish, this is a really impressive Carménère with bags of character and enough structure and concentration to cellar for five years or more. £7.99, Les Caves de Pyrène, Noel Young.

Esk Valley (New Zealand) Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2006
Wine of the week 31/08/08. The nose is beautifully creamy and composed, with a svelte, thick layer of black fruit and a hint of violet. There's just a background touch of woodsmoke and chocolate adding depth. On the palate this is structured and savoury, with quite chunky, grippy tannins that are plummy and dense. Acidity is good too, giving a keen edge to the blackcurrant and black cherry fruit character. A little of that spice and smoky quality fills out the finish, in a concentrated and powerful wine, yet one that has some elegance and freshness too. Around £10 from independent merchants including Fine & Rare Wines, Cambridge Wine Merchants, WoodWinters and See all stockists on
wine-searcher. (more)

Julien Schaal (S. Africa) Merlot Petit Verdot 2006
Wine of the week 17/08/08. There is a racy black fruit quality that has a suggestion of complex depth, showing some tobacco and fennel notes. It is quite racy and crisp on the palate too, with refined tannins and a taut core of acidity, but the plummier depth of the fruit swells on the mid-palate, and the warming background depth of oak also adds a more plump, mellow appeal. Lovely stuff this, and very carefully thought through. £10.85, Handford, Ethical Wines, Ballantynes, Everywine. See all stockists on
wine-searcher. (more)

Mas des Dames (France) Rouge 2004
Wine of the week 27/07/08. Unoaked, this wine is all about expressing the fruit of the Mediterranean south, with lots of juicy black cherry and a tight, kirsch-like quality. The palate has a flood of sweet, vibrant fruit, but a firm liquoricy edge adds structure into a fleshy, ripe and bittersweet finish. Elegant yet full of charm and richness.£7.95 Berry Bros & Rudd, or £7.15 when bought by the case.

Piccini (Italy) Chianti Orange Label 2006
Wine of the week 13/07/08. Interestingly, a small proportion of dried Sangiovese grapes are added to the must of this wine to produce a second burst of fermentation which winemaker Antonella Conti believes enhances the wine's aromatics. This certainly has an appealing cedar, briar-wood, cherry and gently truffly nose, that leads on to a medium-bodied, but quite silky and rich palate, where the creamy red berry fruit and a touch of vanilla plays against crisp, sprightly tannins and neat acidity to give a balanced, delicious Chianti at a very attractive price. £5.99, Sainsbury's.

Mas Fondrèche (France) O'Sud 2006
Wine of the week 06/07/08. This joyous little wine is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah and has a bright, breezy, up- front character with creamy raspberry fruit and a certain confiture quality. A little edge of something gamy and schisty creeps in, adding a layer of complexity. On the palate the sweetness of the black berry and autumnal, slightly smoky fruit powers through, with spice and a bit of grippy tannin adding texture and weight, and crisply-defined plum-skin acidity adding a nicely tart note to give savoury balance in the finish. £6.49, Cadman Fine Wines.

Cono Sur (Chile) Vision Pinot Noir 'Old Vine Block 78' 2007
Wine of the week 22/06/08. Terrifically aromatic nose, brambly and rich, yet has a really bright fruit focus that has nuances of pomegranate and redcurrant, but all very ripe and inviting. The palate too has that almost lifted, peachy brightness of fruit, though a smoky, chocolaty background adds support. Fabulous stuff for the sheer verve and joy of the fruit quality. £7.49, Majestic.

Schroeder Estate (Argentina) Merlot 2006
Wine of the week 08/06/08. Brimming with cedary, spicy, coffee and mocha-edged black fruit, and with a mouth-filling richness of sweet berry fruit, layered with chunky, chocolaty tannins and infused with tobacco and smoky oak. With a nice edge of cherryish acidity adding a little cut and definition, this really is a beautiful, quite sumptuous style of Merlot. Even better, whilst at it's regular price of £9.99 it would be highly recommendable, a 12-bottle case is on offer during June at £75.95 - that's only £6.33 per bottle and an absolute steal for this quality. Laithwaites.

Montes (Chile) Alpha Syrah 2006
Wine of the week 01/06/08. Redolent of blackcurrant, juicy, kirsch-like black cherry and a wonderfully peppery, spicy, cedarwood, vanilla and leather components that adds layers of interest. On the palate this is tight and very densely fruited, with a great, solid core of bittersweet black fruit, and a big mouthful of charry oak and spice, and sinewy tannin. Becoming quite chocolaty in the finish, this is young wine that currently demands food but it will come together and become more integrated with a few years in the cellar. £10.99, Tesco, Waitrose.

Château St Jacques Calon Montagne St-Emilion 2006
Wine of the week 18/05/08. A combination of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, it has a dark, velvety nose of cassis and black plum, with hints of chocolate and clove spice. On the palate there's a freshness about this wine, with acidity and tannins providing a bright, crisp background, and the cool, essence of blackcurrant fruit running through the mid-palate. On the finish, there is plenty of spice and a touch of smoky warmth and breadth. £44.00 for a five-litre bag-in-box, which is £6.60 per bottle equivalent, from Provenance Boutique Wines.

Domaine de la Grande Bellane (France) Côtes du Rhône Villages 2006
Wine of the week 20/04/08. It has a beautifully nutty richness on the nose, with robust, ripe, red plum fruit as well as spicy notes of nutmeg and a certain smokiness. The palate has real juiciness, with plenty of life about it and excellent balance, as refined, creamy tannins and gently supportive acidity extend the finish. A cracking little wine like a mini-Châteauneuf-du-Pape, that has energy and savory zest, and is as drinkable on its own as it with most red meat and even mildly spicy dishes. £5.99, Tesco.

Château Prince Noir (France) 2006
Wine of the week 13/04/08. The wine is 40% merlot and 30% each of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, aged in new American oak. That gives it a decidedly plump, luscious vanillin appeal, with very ripe and rich berry fruits and a palate that is creamy and warm, with tobacco and chocolate notes and just enough structure to maintain a food-friendly edge. Lovely stuff. £5.12, Asda.

Punt Road (Australia) Pinot Noir 2006
Wine of the week 23/03/08. This delicately coloured wine is very fragrant, with beautiful floral and cedary notes and plenty of exotic spice and smokiness coming through. There's a certain truffly, very Burgundian earthiness too. It has really lovely, quite sumptuous and textural fruit on the palate, with a savoury, fine tannin and acid structure giving it excellent length. A terrific Pinot this. £10.99, Majestic.

Jose Maria da Fonseca (Portugal) Periquita Red 2005
Wine of the week 16/03/08. A blend of indigenous Portuguese grapes Castelão, Trincadeira and Aragonez. The red offers a ripe, full-fruited nose of rich autumnal berries, a certain warming earthiness and a nicely briary, almost gamy edge. On the palate this is a red with a bit of real personality: though the fruit is a touch jammy, there's a background of rustic, meaty flavours and tannins, and enough acidity to keep it interesting. £4.99, Waitrose.

Mas Oliveras (Spain) Tempranillo 2005
Wine of the week 09/03/08. The nose majors on shiny, supple black cherry-like fruit, with a liquoricy, tight character. On the palate there is real fruit sweetness here, with no oak influence, but just a silky, dense, mouth-filling richness of black fruits with a ruffled velvet smoothness as chocolaty tannins and lowish acidity add some structure and balance to a plush, but juicy picture. Lovely easy-drinking stuff this, and very stylish. £5.45, Corney & Barrow.

Tagonius (Spain) Vinos de Madrid Tinto 2004
Wine of the week 24/02/08. Warm and inviting nose of rich cherries and berry compote, with sweet, damp earth and a background of prune and plum. On the palate the fruit is rich and ripe, perhaps a touch baked, but then it floods the mouth with clean, sweet berry flavours backed up with a stripe of agile, lively tannin, to give a nicely crisp edge. The acidity is good too, in a really distintive Spanish wine, with the Tempranillo fruit and tobacco character coming through. £7.75,

Mont Tauch (France) Fitou Les Douze 2006
Wine of the week 17/02/08. Beautifully deep, creamy and dense nose of ripe fruit, suggesting plum and firm black berries, with a nice little hint of baked pastry and a touch of earthiness. On the palate this has lovely authority and energy, with crisp, medium bodied and creamy fruit set against fairly chunky, rustic tannins that give real, spicy grip. The balance is very good, with a cherry acidity and some more of that earthy, robust character coming through, in a savoury, food-friendly wine. £6.49, Majestic.

Wild Rock (New Zealand) Cupids Arrow Pinot Noir 2006
Wine of the week 10/02/08. Fine, aromatic nose, with some exotic incense notes, juicy red cherry and summer berry fruit and a touch of something sage-like and herbal. On the palate it is crisp and juicy, with a fresh fruit and a crisp tannin and acid axis giving it some vivacity and life. The creaminess and tobacco and spice character of the oak adds a little depth to a light, slightly lean, but nice expression of Pinot. £9.95,

Angove's (Australia) Nine Vines Tempranillo Shiraz 2006
Wine of the week 27/01/08. There's plenty of vanilla and rich, minty sweet fruit and oak on the nose, with ripe summer berries, cherry and a hint of leafy tobacco. Onto the palate, and the lighter, creamier fruit of the Tempranillo melds with a chunky, slightly baked black berry fruit richness of the Shiraz, to make a mouthful of wine that is robust and chewy, yet has a bit of smokiness and mystery about it too. For fans of the fairly big and obvious style, but one that delivers that with panache. £5.99, Tesco.

Stamford Brook (Australia) Shiraz Viognier 2006
Wine of the week 13/01/08. A little aromatic lift on the nose, but the aromas are all about ripe, but dark and spicy plums and berries, with a little sheen of savoury oak adding polish. On the palate the fruit is very bright and fulsome, with plenty of that plum, creamy depth but a nice crisp edge too, where a hint of the Viognier's peachy quality shows through, along with ripe, sweet tannins and well-balanced acidity. A lovely wine this, not trying to be too flashy but delivering loads of flavour and style. £5.99, Sainsbury's.


Costero Pinot Noir Rosé 2009, Chile
Wine of the week 07/03/10. Beautifully fragrant nose, the soft strawberry and raspberry coulis quality of fruit coming through strongly. The palate has terrific freshness, almost a Sauvignon-like with its cut and thrust, finishing with a sweet fruited appeal. A beauty of a pink. £8.99, Majestic.
(see full video review)

Tagus Creek Rosé 2008, Portugal
Wine of the week 25/10/09. A deep coloured and flavoured pink, that's really more of a light red, with soft strawberry fruit but also some spice and an earthy, tobacco-infused character that is food-friendly. It also bears the red poppy of the Royal British Legion, with 5p donated to that cause from every bottle sold. £5.99, Waitrose.
(see full video review)

Vinha da Urze (Portugal) Rosé 2008
Wine of the week 28/06/09. The summer berry-scented nose also has a hint of something pleasantly herbal. On the palate, this is a rosé with a fairly serious structure: there's a backbone of tannin here, as well as juicy lemon acidity, though the taut redcurrant and rasberry fruit is clear and concentrated on the mid-palate. Quite a grown-up, dry style of food-friendly rosé that would match anything from tuna steaks to char-grilled Mediterranean vegetables. One of my favourite rosés of the season so far. £5.99, Marks & Spencer.

 sparkling wines

Codorníu, Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, Spain
Wine of the week 07/02/10. Delightful strawberry and raspberry pulp nose, overflowing with soft, elegant red fruit aromas and a just a touch of Pinot earthiness. On the palate there's a hint of sweetness that sits beautifully with the ripe, summer-pudding fruit, and the fresh acidity and crisp mousse make for a delightful mouthful of wine to have either as an aperitif, or matched to smoked salmon blinis - or some strawberries sprinkled with cracked black pepper and balsamic vinegar. £9.99 in Oddbins, £7.99 by the case.
(see full video review)

GH Martel, Champagne Brut Premier NV
Wine of the week 29/12/09. Powerful, mouth-filling Champagne, with a crisp, frothy mousse but plenty of breadth and fruit. It's a rock solid, very tasty and honest fizz, but note the full price of £29.99 looks too high at the moment with the likes of Roederer Brut and Bollinger available for around £26.00. However it is on offer in Sainsbury's until early January at £19.99, half price in Morrisons (though stocks are low) and is on at just £12.81 per bottle when bought by the half-case. At those prices it's a very attractive, proper Champagne that does what it says on the tin.
(see full video review)

La Châsse du Pape Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Wine of the week 03/08/08. The nose is mainly about ripe apple fruit and touch of candied lemon, but there is a background of yeastiness too. On the palate the wine is crisp and lively, with a prickly, tangy quality to the mousse and those nicely ripe, sweet and full apple flavours continuing. This is a nicely balanced wine, with just enough toffeed sweetness to make it very sippable, and a clean core of acidity to keep it sprightly and fresh. £9.99, Morrisons.

 sweet wines

Graham's, Six Grapes Port, Portugal
Wine of the week 15/04/11. Youthful, black-fruited wine with lots of black berries, tobacco and herbs, and the spirit nicely integrated. On the palate it has plenty of sweetness, and behind a really big tannin and ripe, plummy black fruit underlay. It is chocolaty and rich, with lovely bittersweet qualities to match with dark chocolate desserts, but also with blue cheeses or to sip after dinner. Around £15, Stockists include Cambridge Wine Merchants and Thomas Peatling, but see full list at (see full video review)

Seifried, Sweet Agnes Riesling 2008, New Zealand
Wine of the week 21/02/10. There is lime and orange blossom on the nose, leading onto a glycerine-rich, honeyed palate with lots of zest and lift from that clear lemony acidity, but it is long, balanced and delicious. Around £15.00, Naked Wines, Laithwaites, Waitrose online.
(see full video review)

Anthemis (Greece) Muscat of Samos 2002
Wine of the week 07/06/09. Traditional Greek dessert wine matured five years in 500 litre oak casks before release. It has a rich tawny/gold colour, and a fantastically rich, sweet, stewed tea, walnut and sultana nose, with a delicious layers of toffee. The palate is just as rich and unctuous as promised by the nose, with that massive sweetness, the honey, fig and quince jelly fruit, and huge core of acidity powering through into a long, balanced finish. What a beauty. £9.99 per 37.5cl, Waitrose Wine Direct.

Mount Horrocks (Australia) Cordon Cut 2008
Wine of the week 02/02/09. Gorgeous marmalade and honey aromas, a touch of leaf tea and a lime fruitiness underpinning the whole picture. The clarity and quality of the fruit never gets lost amongst the gorgeous sweetness and opulent weight of glycerine richness on the palate. I apologise now for including a wine that bursts through our usual £10 to £12 ceiling, but taste it and you will agree it is a very special wine. £14.99 - £18.25 per 37.5cl, Virgin Wines, Noel Young, Martinez Wines, Reserve Wines (Mancherster), Nickolls & Perks. For other UK stockists see (more).

Château d'Aydie (France) Maydie 2006
Wine of the week 06/04/08. Fairly restrained notes of black plum with some subtle floral nuances. On the palate it is rich, smooth and powerful (17% ABV), with a thick core of sweet blackberry and chewy, dark, prune and raisin notes. There's a lovely cherry edge of acidity that adds some freshness, and just hints of a chocolaty depth from ripe tannins and the richness of the fruit. Quite long and retaining its sweetness and warmth, this would be a great match for dark chocolate desserts. £10.95 for 50cl, The Wine Society.

Yvonne Mau (France) Seigneurs de Monbazillac 2005
Wine of the week 03/02/08. The nose is filled with unctuous notes of honey and roasted figs, with a touch of candied orange peel. The silky, creamy palate flushed with peach and apricot fruit. It has real sweetness through the mid-palate, though the whole picture is given some zest by elegant citrus acidity. Yummy and inexpensive stuff this, in a tall, elegant, 50cl bottle. £6.99, Tesco.

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